Transforming teacher education, an activity theory analysis

Jane McNicholl, Allan Blake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
460 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the work of teacher education in England and Scotland. It seeks to locate this work within conflicting socio-cultural views of professional practice and academic work. Drawing on an activity theory framework that integrates the analysis of these contradictory discourses with a study of teacher educators’ practical activities, including the material artefacts that mediate the work, the paper offers a critical perspective on the social organisation of university-based teacher education. Informed by Engeström’s activity theory concept of transformation, the paper extends the discussion of contradictions in teacher education to consider the wider socio-cultural relations of the work. The findings raise important questions about the way in which teacher education work within universities is organised and the division of labour between schools and universities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-300
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • teacher education
  • cultural historical activity theory
  • academic work
  • division of labour
  • transformation
  • activity theory analysis


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