Rethinking teacher education: the trouble with accountability

Marilyn Cochran-Smith
Event date
Event time
17:00 - 18:30
Department of Education
15 Norham Gardens
Venue details

Seminar Room A

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required

In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statue creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. Join us as we mark our 100th anniversary through a series of public events that reflect on our past and pay particular tribute to our contributions in the field of teacher education today.

Our public seminar programmes are free to attend and open to all. The aim, to encourage public engagement with those interested in the field of education. All seminars are convened by members of the department and include a wealth of academics from across the department and wider University, as well as internationally recognised professionals from across the globe.


During the past two decades in the U.S. and some other countries, there has been a growing consensus that university teacher preparation is failing and that holding teacher education accountable through vigilant public evaluation and monitoring will fix it. Treating the U.S. as a kind of cautionary tale, this presentation exposes “the problem with accountability” by unpacking the assumptions underlying major accountability initiatives, revealing their lack of evidence, and arguing that they have a negative impact on the work of teacher education. Despite these problems, Professor Cochran-Smith does not conclude that accountability is the wrong direction for teacher education. Rather she argues that we need to “reclaim” teacher education accountability for the profession and in support of the larger democratic project.

The Speaker
Marilyn Cochran-Smith is Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education at Lynch School of Education, Boston College, USA. She is widely known nationally and internationally for her scholarship regarding teacher education research, practice and policy and for her sustained commitment to inquiry-based teaching and teacher education for diversity and social justice. A highly sought-after keynote speaker, she has honorary doctorates from University of Glasgow (Scotland) and University of Alicante (Spain).

A former AERA president and an elected member of the National Academy of Education, Professor Cochran-Smith was the 2018 recipient of the AERA/Division K Legacy Award for lifetime contributions to research on teaching/teacher education. She has written ten books, seven of which have won national awards and recognitions, and more than 200 articles, handbook chapters, chapters in edited books, and editorials.