01 SES 02 A, Learning Networks
Teacher educators are a distinct group of faculty in higher education (Ducharme & Ducharme, 1996; Labaree, 2004) because they must bridge theory and practice; attend to the requirements of a number of external bodies (e.g., college of teachers; government departments); be cognizant of new school district/government initiatives; connect academic courses to practice teaching (over which they often have little control); develop a coherent course for student teachers who come to the program with markedly different prior experiences; and model effective teaching. This is a complex and challenging mandate!
Teacher educators’ knowledge and skill are critical to quality preservice teacher education. In our large-scale research study, Literacy Teacher Educators: Their Backgrounds, Visions, and Practices, we are studying 28 literacy teacher educators (LTEs) in four countries: Canada, the U.S., England, and Australia. We have completed two of three phases of the study that has as its goal:
to study in depth a group of literacy/English teacher educators, with attention to their backgrounds, knowledge, research activities, identity, view of current government initiatives, pedagogy, and course goals.
In this proposal, we report what we have learned about the professional development (PD) and knowledge required for LTEs to fulfill a complex and challenging mandate.
The Green Paper on Teacher Education in Europe (Buchberger, Campos, Kallos, & Stephenson, 2000) was one of the first to recognize the importance of PD for teacher educators. In this seminal work the authors argued there needs to be “coherent initial as well as a continuous in-service teacher education for teacher educators” (p. 58).
Earley and Porritt (2012) draw on the Training and Development Agency’s definition of PD for teachers, which captures many elements of effective PD for teacher educators. They define PD as “reflective activity designed to improve an individual’s attributes, knowledge, understanding and skills. It supports individual needs and improves professional practice” (Training and Development Agency, 2012). Bubb and Earley (2007) state that PD involves both “formal and informal learning experiences” (p. 4). Similarly, Schon (1983) argues that both reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action are important forms of professional learning.
The logical question is: what kind of PD is needed for teacher educators to survive and thrive in a challenging context? There is an array of PD processes for teacher educators: participating in induction courses, being mentored, pursuing individual needs, joining existing research groups, and attending conferences (Livingston, McCall, & Morgado, 2009). Looking across the forms of PD, we grouped the many processes into three broad categories: formal, informal, and communities of practice (COP). We recognize this division is somewhat arbitrary and some processes fit more than one category. However, we have found the framework useful in analyzing data and weighing the issues.
For professional development to be useful there must be a match between the genuine needs of the participants and the opportunities for learning. Goodwin (2012) notes that apart from the what and the how of teacher educators’ PD, we need to address why acquisition of a new body of knowledge in necessary (p. 45). Goodwin (2008) has advanced our understanding of the knowledge required for teacher educators by identifying five types of knowledge: personal; contextual; pedagogical; sociological; and social. These categories are useful in drawing attention to the complex knowledge base required; the next logical step is to position them in the disciplines. Boyd and Harris (2010) argue that each content area must be considered separately because each discipline places different demands on teacher educators (p. 9). Kosnik et al. (2014) built on Goodwin’s work by identifying four spheres of knowledge relevant specifically to LTEs: research; pedagogy; literacy and literacy teaching; current school and government initiatives.
Boyd, P., & Harris, K. (2010). Becoming a university lecturer in teacher education: Expert school teachers reconstructing their pedagogy and identity. Professional Development in Education, 36(1–2), 9–24. Bubb, S. & Early, P. (2007) (Second edition). Leading and managing continuing professional development. London: Sage. Buchberger, F., Campos, B., Kallos, D., & Stephenson, J. (Eds.). (2000). Green paper on teacher education in Europe. Umea, Sweden: Thematic Network on Teacher Education. http://tntee.umu.se/publications/greenpaper/3.pdf. Ducharme, E., & Ducharme, M. (1996). The development of the teacher education professoriate. In F. Murray (Ed.), The teacher educator’s handbook: Building a knowledg base for the preparation of teachers. (pp.691-714). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Earley, P., & Porritt, V. (2010). Effective practices in continuing professional development: Lessons from schools. London: Institute of Education, University of London. Goodwin L. (2008). Defining teacher quality: Is consensus possible? In M. Cochran-Smith, S. Feiman-Nemser, D.J. McIntryre, & K. Demers (Eds.), Handbook of research on teacher education: Enduring questions in changing contexts. (3rd ed. pp. 399-403). New York: Routledge. Goodwin, L. (2012). Teaching as a profession: Are we there yet? In C. Day (Ed.), The Routledge international handbook of teacher and school development. (pp 44- 56). New York: Routledge. Guyton, E., & McIntyre, J. (1990). Student teaching and school experiences. In W. R. Houston (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education. (pp. 514-534). New York: Macmillan. Guzzetti, B., Anders, P., & Neuman, S. (1999). Thirty years of journal of reading behaviour. Journal of Literacy Research, 31(1), 86-92. . Kosnik, C., Dharmashi, P., Miyata, C., Cleovoulou, Y., & Beck, C. (2014). Beyond initial transition: An international examination of the complex work of experienced literacy/English teacher educators. English in Education (forthcoming). Labaree, D. (2004). The trouble with ed schools. New Haven: Yale University Press. Livingston, K., McCall, J., & Morgado, M. (2009). Teacher educators as researchers. In A. Swennen, & M. van der Klink (Eds.), Becoming a teacher educator: Theory and practice for teacher educators (pp. 191 – 203). Dordretcht: Springer Academic Publishers. Merriam, S. (2009). Qualitative research: A Guide to design and implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Punch, K. (2009). Introduction to research methods in education. London: Sage. Schon, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books. Training and Development Agency. (2012). Retrieved on October 23, 2013. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120203163341/http://tda.gov.uk/home/teacher/developing-career/professional-development.aspx
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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