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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Imagining the Good Teacher: The Nature of Professional Knowledge

Nikola Hobbel.

The good teacher in recent memory is a good teacher of all students. Once, the good teacher was one who could, perhaps, perform reading, writing, and calculation. Then, the good teacher became a person who not only knew her subject matter, but also knew how to convey the content, how to make it available for her students. Now, the good teacher also has the proper disposition to relate to her students across divides of race, class, gender, language and culture. The knowledge, skills, and dispositions so often discussed in teacher education programs, professionalization agendas and accreditation standards are the result of complex series and ruptures in the historical development of the field of teacher education, and its relationships to knowledge and power. Multiculturalism in teacher education, a phrase that I use to describe the ways in which we think and talk about preparing teachers to teach all students, acts as a focused beam that casts a searing light on the tensions inherent to teacher education generally. To be explicit, the good teacher is now a multicultural teacher, and, as such, operates as a site for the investigation of power/knowledge discourses. The good teacher does not emerge from a race-neutral space, although it is important that the field appears at times to be so. The primary narratives that form the description of the discursive field are the narratives of professional knowledge, the disposition of the teacher, and the characteristics of the secondary school student. Taken together, these provide a kaleidoscopic view of the ideal person teacher education seeks to create. In this paper, I discuss the narrative of professional knowledge as it takes its shape from program descriptions, teacher educations standards, electronic portfolio developments, and course syllabi. In making the narrative of professional knowledge explicit, I hope to open venues for better understanding our imaginative boundaries in multicultural education.


Nikola Hobbel  (United States)
Graduate Student
Curriculum & Instruction
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nikola Hobbel studies the interplay of policy, race, and teacher education.

  • Multicultural Education
  • Critical/Cultural Theory
  • Discursive Boundaries
  • Teacher Education Programs
  • Whiteness

(30 min Conference Paper, English)