10 SES 06 D, Situated and Comparative International Teacher Education
It is the aim of this paper to explore my learning trajectories as a (physical education) teacher educator. Examining teacher educators’ experiences as legitimate peripheral participants and studying their interactions with university colleagues (and also pre-service teachers and teachers but not a focus here) can help inform what support structures and up-skilling is necessary to become effective, confident and competent members of a teacher education community. This is an issue of relevance to physical education teacher education (PETE) due to the continued support for constructivist learning in physical education (Kirk & Macdonald, 1998; Light, 2008). From a constructivist perspective, learning is both cultural and social involving social interaction and collaboration with learning peers, as well as interaction with more knowledgeable individuals within society (Biggs, 1996; Lave & Wenger, 1991). This is not to suggest that it is necessary to be a member of a PETE community in order to be an effective teacher educator but rather that genuine and authentic learning is more likely to be accomplished through a framework for learning within a community of practice (CoP).
The issue of the quality of teacher educators has been identified by EU Member States and the EU Commission as being an important contributor to the overall quality within education systems. In addition, both academic research and peer learning work point to a need for greater clarity about the policies supporting the selection, induction and further professional development of teacher educators (EU Presidency Conference, 2013). In a similar way to the OECD (2005) noting the need for strategies internationally for ensuring that all teachers are lifelong learners and for linking individual teacher development to school needs, there is a need to consider, potentially through CoP, how best teacher educators can be encouraged to become lifelong learners linking their development to that of a teacher education community and by association teacher education programmes.
It is only more recently that a number of research agendas within teacher education literature have begun to focus attention on teacher educators (as a distinct professional group) as key players in the endeavour to improve the quality of teacher education and, by association, examine the role of teacher educators’ professional learning and development (Bates, Swennen & Jones 2010; Loughran 2006). Agendas include determining an effective structured preparatory route to a career in teacher education, best practice for teacher educators’ pedagogic practices, professional identity (individual and shared) of teacher educators, curriculum reform and professional development opportunities for teacher educators, and building a professional development community among teacher educators. Related to the latter agenda, such communities have included the establishment of a ‘Becoming Teacher Educators’ initiative for a group of doctoral students who wanted to become teacher educators (Kosnik, Cleovoulou, Fletcher, Harris, McGlynn-Stewart & Beck, 2011) and a professional development project modeled on a professional development community in which teacher educators become a community of learners focused on thinking education (Brody & Hadar, 2011).
Authors have shared their concern that conceptual issues related to situated learning theory remain underdeveloped in the literature (Handley, Sturdy, Fincham & Clark, 2006), that CoP can vary enormously (Hodkinson & Hodkinson, 2004) and that Etienne Wenger (1998) abandoned the concept of legitimate peripheral participation (LPP) and used the idea of the inherent tension in a duality instead. Regardless, I believe that Lave and Wenger’s (1991) LPP concept provides a worthwhile framework to explore how my learning trajectory enhanced or inhibited the move towards full participation in a PETE CoP within a university department.
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