10 SES 09 B, Programmes and Approaches: Learning communities and professional dialogues
Teacher shortage is a worldwide phenomenon. As a consequence, alternative teacher training programs have been launched. The underlying assumption is the idea that student teachers can become highly qualified teachers by learning on the job (Consuegra, 2014). Concurrently, a shift occurred from campus-based teacher education to practice-based models where future teachers learn at the workplace (Lunenberg & Korthagen, 2009). In Switzerland, teacher education is both research-oriented and practice-based (Denzler & Wolter 2009). Due to a current teacher shortage, a strategy at national level has been established to recruit second career teachers. Since 2011, the Zurich University of Teacher Education has offered training programs for candidates over 30 years of age with former experience in the labour market and in pedagogical work. The candidates’ competences acquired in their first career and their life experience are assumed to be transferable to the teaching profession within a short period of time. The program can be characterized as a learning-by-doing model with a strong focus on workplace learning which incorporates two phases: The first phase (1 year), focuses on a strong link between theory and practice, and takes place at a university. In the second phase (1-2 years), students teach in the classroom (40-80%), while continuing their studies at the university.
The training program is being evaluated in a longitudinal mixed methods study. One aim is to optimize the interplay between academic studies and workplace learning in schools. Another purpose is to better understand teachers’ workplace learning. We focus on two theoretical perspectives: 1) the policy aspect related to alternative certification and life-long learning (Cochran-Smith, 2014; Finsterwald et al., 2013), and 2) the learning aspect, including previous (pedagogical) experience, biography, (in)formal learning processes, professional motivation and (supervision of) workplace learning (Darling-Hammond, Chung & Frelow, 2002; Tigchelaar, Vermount & Brouwer, 2012).
In our presentation, we focus on second career teachers’ workplace learning referring to places (spaces) of learning, (in-)formal learning processes, competence development and the strong nexus between interactional, cognitive and behavioural aspects (Billett, 2004; Malloch, Cairns, Evans & O’Connor, 2013; McNamara, Murray & Jones, 2014). Workplace learning is based on traditional theories, such as learning by doing in a specific organisational context (Argyris & Schön, 1978), co-constructivist, reciprocal learning (Rogoff, 1995), learning by observation (Bandura, 1997), as well as communities of practice (Wenger, 1998). Current approaches of workplace learning emphasize the mutual relationship between the actor and the work context (Hökkä & Eteläpelto, 2013), as well as the reciprocal nature of participatory practices, including mentoring (Billett, 2004). Studies on second career teachers further indicate that their learning is strongly influenced by their prior work experience and life skills (Consuegra, 2014; Tigchelaar et al., 2012).
We address the following research questions: How do the second career teachers’ develop their competences during their studies and workplace learning? How do they perceive their workplace learning, including the mentoring and coaching they received from different professionals? What link do they establish between their biography and their workplace learning?
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