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The Sastras of Teacher Education in South Asia: Conclusion

The Sastras of Teacher Education in South Asia: Conclusion


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This is the second volume of our South Asia Education Policy) Research and Practice book series. In our first volume (Kidwai, Iyengar, Witenstein, Byker, & Setty, 2017), we examined how stakeholders across South Asia implement and enact Participatory Action Research (PAR). Our first volume included the assertion that PAR empowers stakeholders- especially in the field of education-to take action through a participatory method of research (Byker, 2017). Yet, we also echoed Robin McTaggart's (1991) caveat of the dilution of PAR vis-a-vis a disconnect between authentic participation in the community and its impact on practice. McTaggart (1991) explained that PAR "means sharing in the way that research is conceptualized, practiced, and brought to bear out on the life-world. PAR is also about ownership-the responsible agency in the production of knowledge and improvement of practice" (p. 171).

We concluded our first volume with the statement that PAR is the construction of knowledge by the community in service to the community. Fittingly, the purposes for teacher education are supplanted in this constructivist notion of knowledge by the community in service to the community.

At first glance, this second volume may seem to only share cursory connections with the first volume. However, we argue that teacher education- as an institution-is constructed in service to the larger community. Such service is embedded in teacher practice and often reflects highly participatory forms of agency. Indeed, educators are and can be responsible agents in producing knowledge to improve their practice (Britzman, 2012; Byker, 2013, 2014a, 2015, 2016; Koirala-Azad & Fuentes, 2010, McTaggart, 1991). Yet, the impact of teachers' practice and agency-at both the macrolevel and microlevel-are challenging to clearly quantify. Naik (1975) termed this challenge the "elusive triangle" (p. 3) of providing equality within a high quality education system, which is accessible to a large quantity of learners. Probing the social context of teacher education also contributes to the elusiveness. The challenge requires dissecting how teacher practice is embedded in the economic, political, sociocultural, and sociohistorical milieu of a place (Byker, 2014b; Byker & Banerjee, 2016; Freire, 1970, 1994; Iyengar, Witenstein, & Byker, 2014; Kumar, 1991, 2005). Krishna Kumar (2005) wrote about how the contextual details of a place-including the historical legacies shape a school and a teacher's everyday reality. He further explained that such context "should sensitize teachers" and shape their practice and assessment of children (Kumar, 2005, p. 14). Lave and Wenger (1991) explained how the contextual milieu encompasses learning as a social process, which becomes embedded within the culture, norms, and practices of a community. Framed as such, the volume provides a descriptive representation of the challenges, innovations, and outcomes of teacher education across the diverse contexts that comprise South Asia.



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Teaching and Teacher Education: South Asian Perspectives


Palgrave Macmillan


Chapter 16, pp. 345-351.

The Sastras of Teacher Education in South Asia: Conclusion