10 SES 03 E, Teacher Competencies and Professional Challenges
In search of different levers to improve education, teacher training and specifically teacher induction prove to be promising starting points (Ingersoll, Strong, 2011). In addition to traditional ways, alternative pathways into teaching emerge due to imminent teacher shortages. While research comparing alternative and traditional pathways into teaching has been more intensive in the United States (i.e. Kane, Rockoff, and Staiger, 2008; Boyd, Grossman, Lankford, Loeb, and Wyckoff, 2009; Xu, Hannaway, and Taylor, 2011), in recent years investigations have also been conducted in Europe (Hutchings et al., 2006; Allen and Allnutt, 2013; Abs, Eckert, and Anderson-Park, 2015).
In summary, the findings of the different studies underline the potential for innovative approaches to teacher recruitment, training, and professional development undertaken by numerous alternative pathway programmes. In particular, research suggests that alternative pathway programmes that employ practices such as rigorous selection criteria and practical on-the-job training can be effective in bringing into the profession new entrants without prior teaching experience and training them to achieve positive outcomes. Still, the research in the field has been limited, including only select countries in the European Union leaving a need for greater investigation of alternative pathways into teaching in order to study the effects of implementing such approaches more comprehensively.
Using data from an EU-funded policy experiment, analysing preconditions, processes of competence acquisition, and educational output of individuals coming into teaching via one predefined alternative pathway (intervention group) compared to the preconditions, processes of competence acquisition, and educational output of beginning teachers trained in traditional teacher preparation programmes (control group), this paper examines the differences in initial measures of teacher competence between control and intervention group. The policy experiment involves five European countries that are currently (or will soon be) facing teacher shortages: Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, and the Basque Region of Spain. Even though the implementation of the alternative pathway into teaching may differ over countries to a certain extent, the general framework is the same. For the alternative pathway programme high achieving university graduates from academic fields outside of teaching are recruited following stringent selection criteria (for instance high social engagement, enthusiasm, willingness to cooperate). Those trainees complete a two year programme comprising an intensive training schedule (three months) including online courses, seminars and project based learning before trainees are placed in their respective schools and additional training modules while they work in the schools.
Although a broader range of knowledge, skills, and mind-sets contribute to teacher effectiveness, the policy experiment focuses on select components, including pedagogical knowledge, teacher attitudes, and self-efficacy. Pedagogical knowledge (Shulman 1986) is one component of competence and therefore knowledge tests (König & Blömeke, 2010; Tatto, 2013) are part of the assessment of competence in the policy experiment. Due to the recent start of the project, the paper focuses on one hypothesis only:
- The trainees starting teaching in each alternative pathway programme will perform overall at least as well on initial measures of teacher competence as beginning teachers in traditional programmes in the respective countries.
The hypotheses of the experimentation will be further specified on the basis of an impact model building on the assumption that educational outputs are dependent on educational processes and prerequisites (input-process-output model). In addition, the different levels of the educational system based on Parsons (1978) and further elaborated by Fend (2008) are included in the model: the macro-level of political decision-making, the meso-level of the institution and formalised curriculum, and the micro-level of the individuals where teaching and learning takes place.
Abs, H.J., Eckert, T. & Anderson-Park, E. (2015). Effektivität der Qualifizierung von Teach First Fellows. Abschlussbericht zur summativen Evaluation der Sommerakademie von Teach First Deutschland. Essen: Universität Duisburg-Essen. Allen, R. & Allnutt, J. (2013). Matched panel data estimates of the impact of Teach. First on school and departmental performance. Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London. Boyd, D., Grossman, P., Lankford, H., Loeb, S. & Wyckoff, J. (2009). Teacher Preparation and Student Achievement. Educational Evaluati on and Policy Analysis 31(4): 416. Fend, H. (2008) Schule gestalten: Systemsteuerung, Schulentwicklung und Unterrichtsqualität. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Hutchings, M., Maylor, U., Mendick, H., Menter, I. & Smart, S. (2006). An evaluation of innovative approaches to teacher training on the Teach First programme: Final report to the Training and Development Agency for Schools, London: Institute for Policy Studies in Education. Ingersoll, R.M., Strong, M. (2011). The Impact of Induction and Mentoring Programs for Beginning Teachers: A Critical Review of the Research. Review of Educational Research 81: 201-233. Kane, T. J., Rockoff, J.E. & Staiger, D.O. (2008). What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City. Economics of Education Review 27(6): 615-631. Klassen, R.M., Chiu, M.M. (2011). The occupational commitment and intention to quit of practicing and pre-service teachers: Influence of self-efficacy, job stress, and teaching context. In: Contemporary Educational Psychology 36, 114129. König, J. & Blömeke, S. (2010). Pädagogisches Unterrichtswissen (PUW). Dokumentation der Kurzfassung des TEDS-M Testinstruments zur Kompetenzmessung in der ersten Phase der Lehrerausbildung. Berlin: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. OECD (2014). Teaching and Learning International Study – TALIS 2013 – Technical Report. Paris: OECD. Parsons, T. (1978). Action Theory and the Human Condition. New York: Free Press. Tatto, M.T. (ed.) (2013). The Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M). Technical Report. Amsterdam: IEA. Xu, Z., Hannaway, J. & Taylor, C. (2011). Making a Difference? The Effects of Teach for America in High School. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
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