Iredale, Alison, Orr, Kevin, Bailey, Wayne and Wormald, Jane (2013) Confidence, risk, and the journey into praxis: work-based learning and teacher development. Journal of Education for Teaching, 39 (2). pp. 197-208. ISSN 0260-7476

This article examines the relationship between confidence and risk in relation to the initial education and continuing professional development of teachers. The context for this examination is the Lifelong Learning sector in England, which sits between secondary schools and universities, and the discussion is illustrated with data gathered from trainee teachers in this sector. Understandings of confidence are considered and it is argued that the inculcation of confidence through risk-taking is important for new teachers in their journey to praxis. Confidence, whether seen as imbued in the self or as inculcated through professional training and development, correlates with both the new teacher’s vulnerability and their capacity to take risks. Central to the inculcation of confidence are the opportunities available to teachers as they develop, which are circumscribed by the conditions and expectations of their teacher education course and their workplace. The article concludes by arguing that the transformative potential of critical engagement with professional knowledge on teacher education courses and through work-based learning should be balanced with the need for the good and appropriate time necessary for the risky political act of reflection, not merely the immediate technical evaluation of practice.

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