One of the greatest challenges facing education systems is ensuring high quality pedagogy in the interests of good outcomes for all students. There is plenty of evidence that teachers and teaching make a difference (Hill and Rowe, 1998; Rowe, 2003). There is also plenty of evidence that schools are not working as well as they could and should for either students or teachers. Prime examples here are the persistent achievement gap between students from different socio-economic and racial backgrounds (Rothstein, 2005; Teese and Polesel, 2003), the poor retention of teachers especially in their early years of entering the teaching workforce (Ingersoll, 2001; Ramsey, 2000; Strong and St John, 2005) and the low morale and disenchantment among teachers more generally (Huberman, 1995). The solution that is proposed to many of schools' challenges, across a wide range of political and educational contexts, is to improve teachers and teaching through teacher education programs and through professional development for practicing teachers. The key question I address' in this chapter is the question of how such improvement is to be achieved. Imploring schools and teacher education institutions to do better has rarely been out of public and educational discourse, and yet the dissatisfaction with schools and teachers remains. Many improvement efforts have been undertaken, and yet calls for improvement continue unabated as manifest for example in more than 20 reviews of teaching and teacher education in Australia over the past couple of decades. Few would argue with the notion that continuous improvement is an appropriate approach to education, indeed to any field - we can hardly claim to arrive at the endpoint, the final destination of educational reform or practice.
Making a Difference: Challenges for Teachers, Teaching and Teacher Education p. 15-33