10 SES 16 C, Self-Study, Supervision and Practice-Focussed Research
Teacher education has been a matter of concern amongst policy makers for decades. A variety of research has been conducted in a range of national contexts in attempts to both understand and improve teacher education. Amongst this research is that of teacher educators who, disenchanted by the progress made by scholarly experts who produced knowledge in ‘scientific’ research ‘on’ teacher education but may have had little practice understanding of the field, have taken to researching teacher education themselves. Much of the resulting practice-focused research, produced by teacher educators for teacher educators, is qualitative in nature.
Reviewing this work provides insight into the kinds of research that teacher educators themselves find useful to guide their work and practice in the preparation of teachers. Through a review of literature in selected teacher education journals, this paper addresses two questions: first, ‘What sort of qualitative research is done by teacher educators on teacher education practices?’; and second, ‘What does this tell us about future directions for teacher educator research?’ To do this, we review literature in selected journals that extend beyond the top tier American-based teacher education journals. An American-centric view of teacher education research in top tier journals has been identified (see Hamilton & Pinnegar, 2013) and we intentionally extend the focus to European and Asia-Pacific research by teacher educators on teacher education practice. By endeavouring to extend the frame for view we raise questions about inclusion, voice, and visibility in teacher education research and thereby contribute to the broad conference theme ‘Inclusion and exclusion. Resources for educational research?’
Drawing on the metaphor of a painting, we look to construct a picture frame and provide the preparatory sketch that provides a sense of the methodological contours of the field of practice-focused research in teacher education, rather than to paint in the detail. The content of the research being done and the type of research questions being addressed in research on teacher education have been reviewed elsewhere (for example, Cochran-Smith & Villegas, 2015). Rather than revisiting the content, we focus on the nature of qualitative research approaches these researchers draw on to generate knowledge and provide the warrants for research-based learning about teacher education practices.
This review will highlight tensions and problematise the field, mirroring back questions, issues, challenges or contradictions that might support or hinder the achievement of its agenda of practice-focused research. Given the exploratory nature of this review, findings are necessarily tentative. We acknowledge that our selection of literature for review is delineated and limited. Our research, though, may provide impetus for future consideration of literature that extends the frame beyond English-language publications and includes in significant measure perspectives beyond those of the highest ranking journals.
This systematic review of the literature seeks to shed light on the nature of qualitative research that is undertaken by teacher educators and open the way for further research, rather than provide definitive answers to the questions posed. We focus on qualitative research because this is the dominant paradigm within which teacher educators have sought to research teacher education practices that they find useful to guide their work. We draw on a purposefully selected sample of teacher education journals that reflect different contexts of teacher education, starting with four peer reviewed European and Asia-Pacific journals: the Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Dutch Journal of Teacher Education and European Journal of Teacher Education. The selection of journals includes a range of teacher educator research and teacher education journals from different global and national contexts. The starting point for review is articles published in these journals in the last 3 years. An iterative approach is taken to the analysis. Questions and issues that are raised in the initial review of four journals provide a foundation for the extended review. In selecting the literature that forms the data for the research, we focus on qualitative research published by authors who identify as teacher educators, who are actively involved in the practice of teaching people how to teach, whose research relates closely to practice and who take an ‘inquiry stance’ (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2015). In presenting the range of range of research, we draw on illustrative examples of research by teacher educators in different categories. In this way, we hope to present the reader with ‘good examples of research practice’ that show complex enactments of qualitative teacher educator research in contexts that need to be understood, rather than ‘examples of good practice’ which hold up particular research practices as a norm that should be aspired to (see Kelchtermans & Ballet, 2009).
From literature that highlights the objectives of teacher educator research, we know that, broadly speaking, research conducted by teacher educators for teacher educators serves two main purposes. The first objective is to inform the improvement of personal and local practice; and the second is to contribute to the development of a public knowledge base in teacher education (Vanassche & Kelchtermans, 2015; Loughran, 2007; Loughran, Hamilton, LaBoskey & Russell, 2004). Research conducted by teacher educators for teacher educators presents challenges for them in achieving a balance between goals for local relevance and making a theoretical contribution to the field. Preliminary findings from our research also suggest that what seems like a relatively simple task – to overview qualitative research that focuses on teacher education practice in the preparation of student teachers - is actually quite difficult. Challenges arise in the process of conducting a literature review relating to matters of definition, concerning who ‘qualifies’ as teacher educators in times of rapid change and variation in initial teacher education provision internationally, and what constitutes research on teacher education practices. Also, challenges relate to matters of scope in the publication of research by teacher educators. Publication of teacher education research extends beyond that which appears in high ranking international journals and which tends to provide an American-centric and Global North view of teacher education. In identifying these challenges, questions are raised about who gets to define the field of practice-focused research in initial teacher education and how this field is defined by the research practices it entails.
Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. (2015). Inquiry as Stance: Practitioner Research for the Next Generation. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Cochran-Smith, M. & Villegas, A. M. (2015) Studying teacher preparation: The questions that drive research. European Education Research Journal, 14(5), 379-394. Hamilton, M. L., & Pinnegar, S. (2013). The international terrain of teaching and teacher education: How can teacher educators prepare teachers for a world we cannot envision. In X. Zhu & K. Zeichner (Eds.), Preparing teachers for the 21st century (pp. 97–118). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Kelchtermans, G., & Ballet, K. (2009). Geef eens een voorbeeld. Naar een methodiek van goede praktijkvoorbeelden. (Could you give an example, please? Working with examples of practice in teaching and training). Mechelen, Belgium: Wolters-Plantyn. Loughran, J. (2007), Researching teacher education practices: Responding to the challenges, demands, and expectations of self-study. Journal of Teacher Education, 58(1), 12-20. Loughran, J. J., Hamilton, M. L., LaBoskey, V. K., & Russell, T. L. (Eds.) (2004). International handbook of self-study of teaching and teacher education practices. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Vanassche, E., & Kelchtermans, G. (2015). The state of the art in self-study of teacher education practices: A systematic literature review. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 47(4), 508-528.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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