10 SES 05 A, Teacher Educators: Entrepreneurship and Identity
This paper draws on a wider investigation which explores the professional identity of teacher educators in school, university and ‘hybrid’ roles, who are in the process of being educated at Masters level in Supporting Teacher Learning; the aim being to shed light on how best to support those involved in the spectrum of teacher educator roles.
The study is set in Scotland, where recent teacher education reform has precipitated a reconceptualisation of the role of the teacher educator, to one where not only do teacher educators work in universities, but where ‘all teachers should see themselves as teacher educators’ (Donaldson, p. 73). This is part of a bigger movement, echoed elsewhere in Europe and more widely, towards greater partnership between schools and universities in supporting teacher education, particularly at the initial stages. This policy trajectory makes it even more surprising that ‘the silence surrounding teacher educator quality’ (Goodwin & Kosnik, 2013, p. 336) is quite so widespread.
Systematic research into the experience and identity of teacher educators is a relatively recent, but growing body of work (e.g. Davey, 2013; Murray & Male, 2005; Swennen & van der Klink, 2009). However, while traditionally considered to be a label given to university-based academics involved in initial teacher education programmes, the concept of ‘teacher educator’ has increasingly become more diverse and complex as new models of school/university partnerships have developed. In the Scottish context, we have seen a growth in the emphasis given to school-based teacher educators and so-called ‘joint appointments’ involving teachers holding a dual role in a school and a university, referred to here as a hybrid role. This brings to the fore issues of professional identity in what Murray & Male (2005) refer to as ‘first order’ and ‘second order’ fields; first order being school teaching and second order being supporting the professional learning of other teachers. Current practice in Scotland reveals a complex combination of practice in first and second order fields, thereby suggesting a complex range of potential professional identities, negotiated within a wide, and widening, range of professional contexts and roles.
Unlike much of the existing literature, we do not conceptualise being a teacher educator as necessarily being a ‘transition’ from first to second order practice, i.e., school teacher to university teacher educator, as we do not consider it necessarily to be a specific post. Nor do we understand it simply as one-to-one mentoring carried out by a supervising class teacher (Bullough, 2005). Rather, in the emerging Scottish context, it is an activity or role to be played within a wider range of responsibilities.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Supporting Teacher Learning at the University of Strathclyde has in its student group all three categories of teacher educators outlined above, and the first two cohorts of this programme form the sample for the study reported here (n=25). This paper reports on the first phase of the study – the online survey. The survey sought to gain demographic information about who these teacher educators are (this group being unique in that they are the first in Scotland to study supporting teacher learning at Masters level to full certificate level). In so doing, we aim to shed light on who these teacher educators are, what previous professional development they have undertaken in this area, what professional responsibilities they carry out in relation to supporting other teachers’ learning, what they view to be necessary preparation for the role, whether or not they view themselves as teacher educators and whether or not they think that others view them as teacher educators.
Bullough, R. (2005). Being and becoming a mentor: school-based teacher educators and teacher educator identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(?), 143-155. Charmaz, K. (2006) Constructing Grounded Theory: a practical guide through qualitative analysis, London: Sage. Davey, R. (2013). The professional identity of teacher educators: career on the cusp? Abingdon: Routledge. Gee, J.P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: ideology in discourses. New York: RoutledgeFalmer. Goodwin, A.L. & Kosnik, C. (2013). Quality teacher educators = quality teachers? Conceptualizing essential domains of knowledge for those who teach teachers. Teacher Development, 17(3), 334-346. Murray, J. & Male, T. (2005). Becoming a teacher educator: evidence from the field. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(2), 125-142. Swennen, A. & van der Klink, M. (Eds.). (2009). Becoming a teacher educator. Springer.
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