Mobility for teacher students or teacher students for mobility? Unravelling policy discourses on international student mobility in the context of teacher education
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Forming part of the efforts to internationalise European higher education, international student mobility has become a key activity strongly supported and promoted by policymakers. In particular, the mobility of teacher students has become a more prominent issue over the past decades. However, to this date there is a lack of research focussing on this specific aspect of higher education mobility policies. Drawing on the analytical framework of discursive institutionalism, this article critically explores policy discourses on teacher student mobility as they emerge in a range of historical and contemporary European and Norwegian policy texts. Subsequently, it discusses how such discourses presuppose the function of teacher education and future teachers in the political agendas on internationalisation and mobility. The study finds that mobility in the context of teacher education is legitimated and promoted with discourses of harmonisation, professionalisation and instrumentalisation, and argues that these discourses are ambiguous and obscure the purpose of both the activity of mobility itself, as well as teacher education and what it educates for, with potential implications for how mobility policies can be realised. In doing so, the article contributes to a critical discussion about the drivers behind contemporary policies for internationalisation and mobility in higher education.