10 SES 12 A, Narratives and Quality Profiles in Teacher Education
The Bologna Process has motivated major changes in the Portuguese legal framework concerning the role of the Master's degree in the context of the Teacher Training courses (Portuguese Republic Law 43/2007). At present, according to the new ‘Legal Framework for Qualifications for Teaching’ (Portuguese Republic Law 1189/2010), the Master's degree has the core objective of conferring professional qualifications legally required to teach at all levels: from Pre-School to Secondary Education. This recent legal background has moved the emphasis from a purely research-focused Master's approach attended by previously legally awarded professionals (until the academic 2007/2008) to a professionally-focused approach to achieve the teaching qualification.
This new design of the Master's degree stresses that training at this postgraduate level aims to promote the construction of the teacher's professional identity, by including the development of research skills and an in-depth reflection on professional contexts combined with a critical understanding of different dimensions of the educational career. It promotes a strategic interaction between the teaching and research processes, with reference to the development of a set of knowledge about the action in pedagogical settings intertwined with references from the scope of the areas of educational sciences and teaching.
In practice, this means that, within the 2nd cycle of Bologna (that corresponds to the Master's degree), students will have 3 semesters with the curricular units associated with Didactics (teacher and learning pedagogy in specific content areas: Portuguese language, Maths, Science/Geography/History and Arts/Design, ICT), curricular development and organisation or epistemology of education. In the second and third semesters, the students have a curricular unit that integrates and supervises a pre-service experience (teacher training internship) in a kindergarten (2nd semester) and primary school education (3rd semester). Simultaneously, Master's students have a specific curricular unit (seminar) where reflection on the professional contexts of the pre-service practice allow the development of a research project aiming to answer a research question chosen by the student. This research project, at the end, will have the form of a research report that integrates: (i) the answers to the chosen research questions, and (ii) an integrated in-depth reflection about the research impacts and outcomes to the daily life and practice of the future teacher. This approach allows the development of a clear interaction between theory/practice/action and a feedback from and to the professional setting – considered to be the major asset emerging from the new design of this degree.
Considering the new configuration of the Master's degree in Portugal, discussions must be stimulated in order to understand the consequences to the actors that are involved: Master's students, teachers of the taught courses, cooperative supervisor at the educational context – the school where students (teachers-to-be) do the teacher practice internship, as well as the research supervisor. In addition, other reflections must be stimulated to better comprehend the impact of those changes in terms of curriculum design; the choice of pedagogical approaches; the definition of the ‘frontiers’ regarding teaching vs learning vs research contexts. Furthermore, it leads us to question the learning paths ‘Bologna students’ experience in this postgraduate level of study. Following the latter idea, it drives us to question what the quality profiles of all those actors previously identified are.
Taking into account the previous background, with this presentation the authors aim to point out the perceptions/ opinions of the Master's students concerning their quality profile considering this ‘renewed’ Master's format, previously described. Therefore, the authors intend to answer to the next research question: what are Master's students’ perspectives on the competences that constitute their own quality profile?
Greenbaum, T.L. (2000). Moderating facus groups: a pratical guide for group facilitation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Portuguese Republic Law 1189/2010. (2010, 1st series, 17 November). Minister of Education, Science and Technology and Higher Education of the Portuguese Republic. Available at: http://legislacao.min-edu.pt/np4/np3content/?newsId=5294&fileName=portaria_1189_2010.pdf Portuguese Republic Law 43/2007. (2007, 1st series, 22nd February). Minister of Education of the Portuguese Republic. Available at: http://www.dges.mctes.pt/NR/rdonlyres/84F15CC8-5CE1-4D50-93CF-C56752370C8F/1139/DL432007.pdf
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