What should teacher education be about? Initial comparisons from Scotland and Alberta

Paul Adams, Amy Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article empirically examines the ways in which Initial Teacher Education in Scotland and Alberta, Canada, seeks to 'get students in', 'get them out and into the workforce', 'get on with teaching future teachers' and how it should 'get on with students' (based on Smith & Laslett, 1993). Using Adams' (2016) policy heuristic, which posits that policy can be discerned in three realms: frame; explanation; and formation, this paper considers the middle realm: that of policy explanation. Here, attempts to position policy through public pronouncement, policy directive, mandate and/or missive are examined in the context of ITE in Scotland and Alberta. By analysing policy explanations, the paper marks out how both jurisdictions should begin to attempt to craft ITE located in career-long, professional learning and development that understands and acknowledges tensions between ITE and later teacher-education phases. Finally, the paper makes a tentative proposal as to what such ITE might hope to achieve and how it might contribute to a well-developed workforce, so that both locations and other jurisdictions might orient initial teacher development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalTeaching Education
Early online date20 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jan 2023


  • initial teacher education
  • Scotland
  • Alberta
  • policy


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