McGill Journal of Education Call for Papers. Special Edition: What is Learning in a Professional Teacher Education Program?

Kathy Sanford and Lisa Starr are guest editing a special edition for the McGill Journal of Education (MJE). Please consider making a submission. The link is The call for papers is below:

McGill Journal of Education Special Edition

Call for Papers

What is Learning in a Professional Teacher Education Program?

Teacher Education programs across Canada (and elsewhere in the world) are in the process of transforming in response to diverse demands expected of current and future teachers. Drawing on the OECD’s call for 21st century learning, Schleicher (2014) astutely observed that a reproduction of the long emphasized cognitive skills “dominated by rote learning before deeper, more invigorating learning could flourish” is outdated. While cognitive skills remain the simplest to teach and test, they are also the easiest to automate and outsource. Education can no longer focus on the reproduction of content knowledge; instead education in the network information age must evolve to make engagement in learning central, acknowledge and incorporate social and emotional learning, and promote connectedness between subjects and communities (Sanford, Hopper, & Starr, in press; Ontario Ministry of Education, 2014).

For this special issue of the McGill Journal of Education, 21st century learning provides the backdrop for engaging scholars, practitioners and graduate students in questioning what constitutes learning, knowledge and understanding in professional teacher education programs tasked with preparing teachers to not only function but flourish in a 21st century milieu. Though the term 21st century learning is frequently used in relation to educational contexts, a single definition is elusive. Too often 21st century learning is simplistically equated to the use of technology. To provide authors with a more robust context, we draw attention to the cross section of 21st century skills identified in the educational policies and practices in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec: creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation, critical thinking, computer and digital literacy, and character (Action Canada, 2013).

Emerging from the backdrop of 21st century learning, this MJE special issue is seeking research, discussion and commentary that is illustrative of more robust and effective ways to support the learning and growth of new teachers in preparing the next generations of learners with different needs, interests, and talents. Our impetus in this comes from the recognition that we seldom stop to consider what learning really means, or where learning happens, in relation to teacher education along with the need to prepare well-rounded professionals for a future that we cannot yet fully envision. If teacher education programs are to respond to the complex and diverse needs of the profession, of those newly entering the profession and the children/youth who currently live hopefully within our educational institutions, we need to understand the conditions that best enable learning to become and evolve as a teacher, as well as consider whose voices need to be heard as we reimagine our programs.

For this special edition of the MJE, we are seeking submissions that address the following key questions:

  • What can and should teacher education programs look like in order to prepare new professionals with meaningful experiences, ideas, and ways of learning?
  • How can programs create the conditions for new and practicing teachers to be (1) critical of existing processes and systems, (2) creative in ways they shape their pedagogy and utilize resources, (3) mindful of diverse ways in which learners learn, (4) innovative as they gain more understanding of today’s learners, and (5) more capable of guiding students and enabling them all to experience success for their current and future lives – in short, to transform the educational system in which they will be working?
  • What is the role of teacher educators in shaping professional programs differently as they learn to respond to the rapidly changing environments in which teachers and students are working and the new ways in which they are learning?

In keeping with the MJE’s section policies, we are seeking scholarly articles, Notes from the Field and contributions to the MJE Forum that address alternative approaches to preparing pre-service teachers and/or supporting in-service teachers in embracing innovative and responsive pedagogies. We also encourage multimodal formats such as embedded video, image or sound.

For more information about the different types of submissions and please see

The deadline for submission is December 15, 2015. Please submit your manuscript online (, indicating that this is for the “What is learning?” special issue in the comments to the editor.

For all questions relating to the special issue, please contact, the co-guest editors:

Lisa Starr                                 Kathy Sanford

Assistant Professor                 Professor

McGill University                    University of Victoria    

For all technical questions concerning the submission process, please contact Sylvie Wald, Managing Editor at


Action Canada. (2013, February). Future tense: Adapting Canadian education systems for the 21st century. An Action Canada task force report. Retrieved from

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2014). 21st century teaching and learning: What research tells us. Ottawa, ON: Government of Ontario.

Sanford, K., Hopper, T., & Starr, L. (in press). Transforming teacher education thinking: Complexity and relational ways of knowing. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education.

Schleicher, A. (2014). The case for 21st-century learning. Retrieved from

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