10 SES 06 E, Dialogue and Professionalism in Teaching and Learning
MASTER THESES AND TEACHER PROFESSIONALISM IN TEACHER EDUCATION
General description on research questions, objectives and theoretical framework (up to 600 words) 591
Common for most international teacher training programs is that they include pedagogy, didactics as well as practical teacher training, aiming for student teachers to acquire both the relevant scientific knowledge as well as practical teaching skills. The various teacher education programs, however, vary in the amount of emphasis put on the theoretical versus the practical part of the education. This results in a marked difference in how extensively theoretical research knowledge is represented in the various education programs.
The Norwegian government has on a new teacher education program involving expansion of the theoretical part of the training, including the introduction of a more extensive master thesis. The program starts in 2017 with plans for the existing 4 year program to be phased out within a few years. In the government's strategy for this new education program the master thesis is emphasized as having an important role in binding together theoretical research-based and practical profession-oriented knowledge (Ministry of Education, 2015).
Concerns have been expressed from politicians and teacher educators that the theoretical academic requirements for this master's thesis could result in too much emphasis on the theoretical part of the education at the expense of practical teaching skills (Giske, 2015, pp. 126-129; Tellevik Dahl, 2016).
In this paper we aim to investigate how master theses in teacher education focus on theoretical knowledge and also formulate research questions related to the practical/profession-oriented aspects of teaching. To qualify as profession-oriented we require that issues, perspectives, materials and findings in the master thesis must contain topics that affect teachers' everyday work in schools. To study whether and how theoretical theses could address practical aspects of teaching we examined master theses from Oslo and Akershus University College of AppliedSciences to show that this is possible.
Hattie (2013, pp. 173-178) believes that the importance of teacher education for the teacher's practical teaching skills is relatively unexplored. Available research indicates that teacher training has little impact on the extent to which teachers affect student achievement. The studies referred to by Hattie are probably predominantly three- or four-year programs not including a written thesis. Several of the research results Hattie refers to probably do not include what we regard as master theses at all.
Maaranen (2010) interviewed 23 Finnish newly qualified teachers (NQT) who had written their theses on topics involving their own work as teachers. This group of teachers considered that their efforts with their thesis had improved their practical teaching skills as well as had a positive impact on relations with colleagues and pupils' learning.
In some of her work the Norwegian researcher Afdal (2014), referring to interview materials and knowledge theory, has argued that the curricula in Norwegian teacher education does not support the development of theoretical research knowledge among student teachers. In comparison to Finnish student teachers, Norwegian student teachers utilize a more unscientific professional language. (Afdal, 2014).
In our regard, the differences between Norwegian and Finnish teachers in the extent to which they use research knowledge in their practical teaching is a consequence of differences in the teacher education in the two countries. Finland has a long established research-based teacher education that includes a master thesis, whilst the Norwegian general teacher education has had weaker academic knowledge component until the reform in 2010. Even after the reform, Norwegian student teachers will not to the same extent get the training in research based thinking and writing that Finnish teachers get.
References •Afdal, H. W. (2014). Fra politikk til praksis - konstruksjon av læreres profesjonelle kunnskap. I Norsk Pedagogisk Tidsskrift, (06), 471-482 •Giske, T. (2015). La læreren være lærer. Veien til en skole der alle kan lykkes. Oslo:Gyldendal •Hattie, J. (2013). Synlig læring. Oslo:Cappelen Damm Akademisk •HiOA, 2016 http://www.hioa.no/Studier-og-kurs/LU/Master/Skolerettet-utdanningsvitenskap/Programplan-for-Masterstudium-i-skolerettet-utdanningsvitenskap-2016/SKUT5910-Masteroppgave-2016-2017[Nedlastet 9.mai 2015] •Hiim, H. (2003). Læreren som forsker. Erfaringer med en strategi for å forske i læreryrket». Norsk pedagogisk tidsskrift, 05-06/2003 Hiim, H. (2003). «Læreren som forsker. Erfaringer med en strategi for å forske i læreryrket •Hiim, H (2015). Kvalitet i yrkesutdanningen - Resultater fra et aksjonsforskningsprosjekt om yrkesforankring av innholdet i yrkesutdanningen. Norsk pedagogisk tidsskrift 02 / 2015 (Volum 99), ss. 136-148 •Jakhelln, R., Bjørndal, K. E., Stølen, G. (2016). Masteroppgaven – relevant for grunnskolelæreren? Acta Didactica, Vol. 10., nr. 2 (ss. 193-211) •Kunnskapsdepartementet, 2009. St. meld. nr. 11 (2008-20099 Læreren. Rollen og utdanningen.) •Kunnskapsdepartementet, 2015 [https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/upload/kd/vedlegg/planer/kd_strategiskole_web.pdf] •Maaranen, K. (2010). Teacher Students’ MA Theses-A Gateway to Analytic Thinking About teaching? A case Study of Finnish Primary School Teachers. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 54 (5), 487-500 •Tellevik Dahl, T. (2016). Tar lærerutdanningen i feil retning. [http://khrono.no/debatt/tar-laererutdanningen-i-feil-retning]
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