01 SES 08 A, Professional development of teacher educators
This paper describes findings from an EU funded Tempus project involving nine universities and educational institutions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon; and five Universities in the North, namely UK, Malta and Sweden. The focus of the project is to build capacity in Teacher Education and Development in Faculties of Education and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the MENA countries by collaboration and sharing of best practice amongst all participants in the areas of Practicum, Teacher Professional Development (TPD) and Action Research.
An important aspect of building capacity is the development of working relationships between Faculties of Education / HEIs and schools. Partnerships between HEIs and schools in Northern countries, such as the UK have been developed with an appreciation of the distinctive and complementary contribution of each partner towards developing teachers who are critically reflective of their practice (Pedder et al, 2010). Working in partnership requires that the HEI and the school are able to work together towards a common aim and to take equal responsibility towards the training of new teachers. In the MENA countries Faculties of Education (FOE) have tended to focus on a didactic approach to ITE with students being lectured on teaching methods, resulting in teachers who use traditional teaching methods based on rote learning and preparation for tests (Moughrabi, 2009). The role of the school in ITE is typically that of providing the placement for the teaching practicum with decisions regarding elements such as assessment being taken solely by the university.
The importance of Teacher Professional Development (TPD) is recognised in all countries but its implementation can have variable results. Kelchtermans (2004) supported a lifelong learning approach to teacher development where TPD is embedded in the culture of the educational system. In the UK there are moves towards developing a culture of continuous teacher development but present government policy is shifting the balance towards provision within schools. The role of the university in this situation is to act as an associate partner that provides elements of teacher development. The inherent concern with this system is that the research informed pedagogy may lose out to a more instrumentalist craft knowledge. On the other hand, TPD in the MENA countries has been characterised by provision of information which is not always of practical use to the teachers (Nabhani and Bahous, 2010). In other words teachers receive TPD that may or may not be relevant to their development needs.
Action Research has four basic tenets: it is research undertaken by practitioners because they choose to do it; in order to develop and improve their practice; through reflection on that practice; and it is a process of building on what has been learnt through reflection and planning (Thomas, 2009). Action Research is attractive to teachers and academics because it is grounded in local concerns and the culture and aspirations of the participants (Somekh and Zeichner, 2009). Action Research is therefore valuable because the participants can act with autonomy to work to develop their own teaching practices. Action Research has been recognised as a valuable way to develop teachers’ practice in MENA countries. For example Bahou (2012) undertook research which showed how Lebanese teachers’ views of their practice and capabilities were transformed when they engaged in Action Research. The use of Action Research as an approach to development has the advantage that MENA colleagues have the autonomy to devise their own solutions and steers Northern colleagues away from the pitfalls of the post-colonial relationship where the North offers solutions which are unlikely to work in the MENA context and culture.
Bahou, L. (2012) Cultivating student agency and teachers as learners in one Lebanese school. Educational Action Research, 20 (2): 233-250. Kanua, Y. (2005) Tensions and dilemmas of cross-cultural transfer of knowledge: post-structural/postcolonial reflections on an innovative teacher education in Pakistan International Journal of Educational Development, 25: 493-513. Kelchtermans, G. (2004) ‘CPD for professional renewal: Moving beyond knowledge for practice’. In International handbook on the continuing professional development of teachers, ed. C. Day & J. Sacks, 217-37. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press. Moughrabi, F. (2009) Moving towards a knowledge society in the Arab world. Arab Studies Quarterly, 31 (4): 17-31. Nabhani, M., O’Day Nicolas, M., & Bahous, R. (2014) Principals’ views on teachers’ professional development, Professional Development in Education, 40 (2): 228-242. Pedder, D., Opfer, D.V., McCormick, R. & Storey, A. (2010) ‘Schools and Continuing Professional Development in England – State of the Nation’ research study: policy context, aims and design. Curriculum Journal, 21(4):365-394. Somekh, B., & Zeichner, K. (2009) Action research for educational reform: remodelling action research theories and practices in local contexts. Educational Action Research, 17 (1): 5-21. Thomas, G. (2009) How to do your research project. Sage
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.