10 SES 02 D, Teacher Educators’ Learning: Knowledge generation, policy change and professional agency
Recent changes to teacher education policy in England have resulted in significant shifts towards school-centred provision. This policy has been heavily influenced by a ‘turn to the practical’ which has changed the epistemology of the field of teacher education as well as the locations for much of the teaching on pre-service programmes. These changes alone have had considerable implications for the practice and professional learning of teacher educators working in both universities and schools. For example, work and learning around ‘relationship maintenance’ (Ellis et al., 2011) between schools and universities, teachers, teacher educators and students has extended. But the effects of these changes have been compounded by significant revisions of the curriculum for primary (elementary) schooling and consequently for the curriculum primary pre-service programmes as recent analysis shows that these are now strongly aligned. Because of an over-full school curriculum, the primary ITT curriculum, particularly on postgraduate routes, now strains to achieve the impossible in terms of all the areas it needs to cover. Primary teacher educators now face new and very significant challenges in responding to these changes, not least in developing models of subject knowledge teaching for a multi-subject curriculum. Our research focus in this paper is to explore how primary teacher educators define and conceptualise the professional learning in which they are engaged, as practitioners in the complex and demanding context of contemporary primary schools, and universities. Methodologically, this paper draws on selected data from two recent projects: first, findings from the English part of the InFo-TED survey and follow-up interviews on how teacher educators (in all age phases) see their professional learning needs (Czerniawski et al., 2016); second, a documentary analysis of primary pre-service conducted for the Cambridge Primary Review (McNamara et al., in press). Conceptually, we draw on literature including the work of Wenger and Lave, as previous studies indicate that much professional learning for teacher educators is informal and both individual and communal, occurring through practice in the varied workplaces of universities and schools. The research aims to contribute new knowledge to the under-researched area of teacher educators’ learning, as differentiated by one specific phase of education.
Czerniawski G., MacPhail A., Guberman A. (2016) The professional development needs of higher education-based teacher educators: an international comparative needs analysis. In: the European Journal of Teacher Education. DOI: 10.1080/02619768.2016.1246528 Ellis, V., McNicholl, J. and McNally, J. (2011) The Work of Teacher Education. Research Report. Bristol: ESCalate. http://escalate.ac.uk/downloads/7781. Accessed 01.09.12 McNamara, O., Murray, J. & Phillips, R. (in press) Policy and research evidence in the ‘reform’ of primary initial teacher education in England. Commissioned report for the Cambridge Primary Review.
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