Developing teacher educators in the era of the ‘smart worker’

lcj-20-coverTrevor Billany, Joshua Barnes, Bopelo Boitshwarelo, Alison Reedy & Sharon Watson

LCJ: Special Issue: New Connections in Education Research, 20, pp. 52-59

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Billany, T., Barnes, J., Boitshwarelo, B., Reedy, A., & Watson S. (2016). Developing teacher educators in the era of the ‘smart worker’. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: New Connections in Education Research], 20, 52-59. DOI:



In a rapidly changing environment where graduate teachers are expected to have 21st century skills and knowledge, it is critical that teacher educators keep up with their own professional development. One way to do this is through engagement with professional development activities provided centrally by academic development units within universities where the teacher educators work. Traditionally, this has involved attending formal, stand-alone professional development sessions that reflect a learning agenda set by the central academic development unit in response to the university’s strategic priorities. However, the pace of change in the 21st century, coupled with the rise of the ‘smart worker’ (Hart, 2015) who takes charge of their own professional learning, are challenging this model, requiring academic units to rethink their roles and activities. This paper explores the challenges, tensions and opportunities presented by this situation for one such academic unit at a northern Australia university. It argues for the need to develop a new model of academic development that nurtures opportunities for teacher educators and other academic staff to build on their professional networks and enables them to engage in professional learning in multiple ways that suit their needs at different times.