03 SES 11 B, Curriculum Development in Teacher Education
With curriculum development and teacher education increasingly coming under public scrutiny in Europe and around the world, there is a growing need for evidence-based knowledge from educational science answering "What works?" questions regarding curriculum development and teacher educational practice (e.g. Borko et al., 2007; Gough et al., 2011; OECD, 2007). Yet, knowing that a curricular concept – like a training for pre-service teachers, for example – works effectively in scientific (lab-)studies is not enough for providing innovative curricula that are also effective in the ‘real world’. In particular with regard to research on transfer and implementation, still little is known on what might be helpful for transferring an evidence-based curricular concept from the hands of the researcher into the hands of the practitioner – in our case the teacher educator – without changing or even losing its intended and originally proven effects (e.g. Raudenbush, 2007; Richardson-Koehler, 1987; Schneider & McDonald, 2007).
Previous research indicates that successful implementation of an efficacious educational concept depends on how practitioners adopt, adapt or re-design the concept handed over to them (Fitzgerald et al., 2009; Remillard, 1999). First experimental studies (e.g. Penuel & Yarnell, 2005; Penuel et al., 2007) tested these different implementation strategies. A meta-analysis by O´Donnell (2008) revealed that the implementation of a new complex concept is most successful if the concept is realized as closely as possible in accordance with the curriculum designers´ original procedures, thus fully addressing the concepts´ specific curricular objectives. That means: concept adoption with a low degree of educational autonomy for those implementing it is best for the originally intendedresults of the learners. Thus, adoption as an implementation strategy might be generally more effective in terms of sustaining learning outcomes than merely an adaptation or even a self-made re-design of an efficacious concept. On the other hand, an educator’s autonomy to adapt and design learning material, time structures, methods, etc. to the specific needs of a certain class at a particular moment is regarded crucial for reaching the curriculum goals – some researchers even consider this a core element of professionalism (e.g. McLaughlin, 1976; Remillard, 1999). In this paper, we put these opposing assumptions to an empirical test using the evidence-based, i.e. lab-tested curricular concept of “Video Case-based Learning for Teachers” to examine which implementation strategy works better in everyday teacher education.
The concept mentioned is characterized by working with authentic 10-15 min. video training-cases from English L2 school lessons which have been integrated into a computer-supported learning environment. In line with Cognitive Flexibility Theory principles (Spiro et al., 2003), the video cases – except for pre- and post-test – were enriched by instructional support in form of (1) hyperlinks to multiple perspectives (i.e. authentic statements of teachers and students being shown in the respective video) and (2) conceptual knowledge (i.e. models and theories of learning and instruction). Each instructional support has been proven to facilitate its related ability (1) to adopt such multiple perspectives and (2) to apply conceptual knowledge in order to better understand concrete classroom situations (Goeze et al., 2014). These abilities are considered crucial factors for professional development and teaching (e.g. Carter et al., 1987; Hogan et al., 2003; Sherin et al., 2011).
Against this background, the research question is: What is the impact of different implementation strategies (low degree of educational autonomy=adoption; middle degree=adaptation; high degree=design) teacher educators have while implementing the concept into their own pre-service teacher courses? The effects are assessed by measuring the pre-post-development of pre-service teachers´ abilities (1) to adopt multiple perspectives and (2) to apply conceptual knowledge.
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