10 SES 03 A, Professional Knowledge & Teacher Identity: The role of research
During the past decade, interest in teacher education has increased as a consequence of different international student assessments and evaluations. Teacher education is considered to be a crucial factor in increasing educational quality, improving the national economy and meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century (BERA, 2014; Hökkä & Eteläpelto, 2014; Menter, 2015; Özçınar, 2015). However, considerable variations exist all over the world regarding the content and goals of teacher education. The involvement of national governments also differs based on whether they are centralised or decentralised (Hökkä & Eteläpelto, 2014). Thus, much of the international debate on teacher education has centred on how teacher education should be organised (cf. Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2005¸ Özçınar, 2015).
In Norway for example, there has been a shift in the development from a shorter and more practice based teacher education towards a research-based teacher education. The reform will be implemented in its entirety in 2017, when all teacher education programmes will be based on Master’s degrees (Munthe & Rogne, 2015). The research-based approach in Norway resembles research-based teacher education in Finland, although a major difference is that Finnish teacher education has been university-based since 1971 (cf. Wågsås Afdal, 2012).
Teacher education in Finland has a strong research-based approach and has received a great deal of publicity due to Finland’s top scores in international evaluations (Barber & Mourshed, 2007). The programme is structured based on the systematic analysis of education. All teaching is based on research. Students can practice argumentation, decision making and justification during their studies, and they also learn research skills (Jakku-Sihvonen & Niemi, 2006; Tirri, 2014; Toom et al., 2010). This approach thus illustrates an extended professionalism, as defined by Menter (2015) and stands in sharp contrast to the development of teacher education in other countries as for example the US and UK (cf. BERA, 2014).
The present study forms a part of a longitudinal research project, started in 2015, and ranges over the course of five years. The overall aim of the project is to explore newly qualified teachers’ (NQTs’) experiences of research-based teacher education in relation to the school reality they encounter. The project is also comparative to its character and similar studies are carried out at the Arctic University of Norway, UiT (cf. Jakhelln, Bjørndal & Stølen, 2016). As presented above, the teacher education programmes in the two countries represent two different cases of research-based teacher education. One represents well-established teacher education developed over more than 40 years, while the other is a pioneering effort. Consequently, a comparative analysis of the two teacher educational programs is relevant.
The aim of this paper is to investigate early career teachers’ experiences of professional knowledge from the research-based teacher education in Finland. The research question we will discuss is: How do early career teachers experience the professional knowledge they have gained in research-based teacher education after five years in the profession?
According to König, Blömeke, Klein, Suhl, Busse and Kaiser (2014), teacher knowledge is a multifaceted concept, comprising content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and general pedagogical knowledge. It is represented in both a declarative (knowing that) and a procedural (knowing how) mode. Knowledge acquired and represented as declarative knowledge is mainly manifested in teacher education, whereas procedural knowledge is more evident in the professional life of a teacher. Declarative knowledge is regarded as a premise for procedural knowledge although both forms of teacher knowledge contribute to the teacher’s expertise as a professional teacher.
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