helen aydarova

I am an Assistant Professor of Social Foundations at Auburn University. My interdisciplinary scholarship lies at the intersections of teacher education, educational policy, and anthropology of education. In my research, I examine transformations in the work of teachers, teaching, and teacher education through the lens of equity, diversity, and social justice.

With the rise of privatization, corporatization, and standardization in education, neoliberal reforms have produced a reconceptualization of teachers’ work and their position in society. I explore this reconceptualization from three perspectives. First, I examine the circulation of policies and practices that seek to transform the teaching profession and the professional preparation it requires in various contexts around the world. In my studies, I examine ideological contestations, cultural transformations, and political struggles engendered by policies that promote increased surveillance of teachers, scripted teaching, or heightened accountability of teacher education programs. Second, I examine how new practices, such as school-based clinical preparation, prepare teachers for working with students from underserved communities. Finally, I explore ways in which teacher education policies and practices can be transformed from the ground up. In this line of work, I examine how teachers and teacher educators can be advocates for public education and active participants in policy processes. All of these research strands inform my forthcoming book Teacher Education Reform as Political Theater: Russian Policy Dramas with SUNY Press.