27 SES 01 A, Teacher Professionalism and Change
For decades there has been a discussion of what makes teachers change. Models of teacher professional development have become more and more precise with the aim of understanding the settings that support and promote development, as well as capturing the process by which teachers grow professionally. By following different projects, especially concerning professional development programs for math teachers, studies have shown the complexity of teacher change (Desimone 2009, Guskey 1986, Hollingsworth 1999). Yet, there are few studies examining civic/social science teachers’ professional development in particular with regard to what makes social science teachers change their teaching. To some extent, this might have to do with the lack of studies testing different social science teaching models, i.e. social science teachers do not have that many external sources or effects of new teaching strategies or to reflect on (Bronäs & Selander 2002, Ekman & Pilo 2012, Johansson & Harrie 2011, Schüllerqvist & Karlsson 2011). The present paper however focuses on teachers’ reflections when participating in a teaching field experiment, studying student effects of two social science teaching methods, deliberative teaching and conventional social science teaching.
The field experiment project was conducted in 2015/16 in the southwestern part of Sweden (for a complete description of the field experiment (design, method and result) see: Andersson, Ekman, Zetterberg and Persson, 2018). In short, the field experiment consisted of social science classes and teachers in upper secondary schools (gymnasieskolor) that were randomly assigned to a deliberative or a conventional teaching syllabus. The deliberative syllabus departed from the theoretical ideal of deliberative teaching. The conventional teaching worked as a control. The syllabus included 7 lessons that covered the first four weeks of the mandatory social science/civics course (samhällskunskap 1b/1a1) in the Swedish upper secondary curriculum. In total 59 classes, in 25 schools, were randomly assigned to either of the deliberative or the conventional teaching syllabus. The student filled in surveys, before and after the four weeks of teaching and also one year after the start of the course. In total 1283 student participated in the project.
In this paper, teachers’ views on all parts of the field experiment (the syllabus, student exercises, the actual teaching and classroom experiences) were analyzed from a teacher change perspective. Departing from Guskey’s (1986) seminal model of teacher change, which states that educational efforts aiming for teacher change must include documented outcomes, teachers were interviewed concerning if and how participating in the field experiment and getting to know the result (student learning outcomes), may have changed their way of teaching social science. The research was guided by the following questions: how did participating social science teachers perceive the teaching methods, and how, on the basis of the outcome, do they intend to teach social science in the future?
The 36 teachers who participated in the field experiment project answered a questionnaire before and after the field experiment. 10 of the 36 teachers were randomly selected for further interviews. In the first step after the field experiment was completed, we contacted the 10 teachers and asked for complementary in-depth interviews. The interview questions aimed at accessing teachers' attitudes of teaching and further to make them reflect upon their participation in the field experiment. The first three questions focused on getting the teachers to describe the implementation of the teaching methods, i.e. how they themselves and the students responded and acted. Then, we asked the teachers to reflect on whether the participation affected their own attitudes, and whether they considered that their participation had had an impact on their teaching practice. Finally, we asked them whether they believed that the result of the experiment was significant with regard to this impact. A year later, the teachers were contacted again. A brief summary of results and analyses was sent to the teachers by e-mail, asking for a follow-up telephone interview. For various reasons 3 of the 10 teachers could not participate in the follow-up. The 7 interviewed teachers were initially asked whether they had used the teaching methods and the materials during the year and if so, in what way. When then asked the teachers described their thoughts of the result of the experiment. Finally, we asked whether the outcome was likely to affect their future social science teaching. In total, the analysed material consisted of 10 transcribed teacher interviews from the first interview and 7 transcribed teacher interviews, with the same teachers, from the second interview (after communicating the results). The analysis followed the established procedure for processing interview data. Initially, for managing the data a form of summary technique known as “concentration” was adopted, summarizing each teacher's answer to the questions in shorter paragraphs (Kvale, 1997). Secondly, we used a version of so-called “essence approach”, in order to capture the core of the teachers answers concerning i) attitudes towards and reflection on their participation in the field experiment, and ii) effect of the experiment on their future social science teaching (Esaiasson et al., 2012 ). In sum, the analysis focused on revealing the central aspects – attitudes and beliefs – among the social science teachers who participated in the field experiment.
The results section of the paper will focus on understanding the impact of the participation among the social science teachers. By repeatedly interviewing a number of teachers during the field experiments, the study targeted teacher change over time. As pointed out in the introduction, the present study of teacher change contains the crucial parts mentioned by Guskey (1986), namely, a field experiment testing different teaching methods, participating teachers, and a clear outcome with regard to student knowledge development. Based on Guskeys arguments, the study emphasized an ideal development process for teacher change. Participating teachers were also allowed to take part in the whole process by practicing the teaching in the classroom and taking part of the outcome. The study included a complete documented process giving the best opportunity for change. The result of the interview study (not yet fully analyzed) indicates that the reality is somewhat more complicated than Guskey suggested. While the teachers seem to be affected by their participation and argue that they will continue to use the material, the reason for the use does not appear to be particularly dependent on the outcome. Rather they regard the participation as input for further development of the kind of varying teaching that many of them are convinced is the grand standard of social science teaching. In the final part of the paper this result is discussed departing from another model of teacher change, Clark and Hollingsworth (2002) so-called Interconnected Model.
Andersson K., Ekman J., Zetterberg, P. and Persson, M. (2018) Does deliberation increase civic outcomes? Results from a field experiment. (working paper) Bronäs, A., Selander, S. (2002). Samhällskunskap som skolämne. I Falkevall, B. mfl. (red.) Skolämne i kris? Stockholm: HLS Förlag. Clarke, D., & Hollingsworth, H. (2002). Elaborating a model of teacher professional growth. Teaching and teacher education, 18(8), 947-967. Desimone, L. M. (2009). Improving impact studies of teachers’ professional development: Toward better conceptualizations and measures. Educational researcher, 38(3), 181-199. Ekman J., Pilo L. (2012). Skolan, demokratin och de unga medborgarna. Malmö: Liber Esaiasson, P., Gilljam, M., Oscarsson, H., & Wängnerud, L. (2012). Metodpraktikan. Konsten att studera samhälle, individ och marknad. Stockholm: Nordstedts Juridik. Guskey, T. R. (1986). Staff development and the process of teacher change. Educational researcher, 15(5), 5-12. Hollingsworth, H. (1999). Teacher professional growth: A study of primary teachers involved in mathematics professional development (No. Ph. D.). Deakin University. Johnsson-Harrie A. (2011). De samhällsvetenskapliga ämnenas didaktik. Rapport från en inventering. Skrifter från Forum för ämnesdidaktik Linköpings universitet nr. 2. Kvale, S. (2007) Den kvalitativa forskningsintervjun. Lund: Studentlitteratur. Shüllerqvist, B., Karlsson, S. (2011). Samhällsbegreppet och samhällskunskapsämnet. Paper presenterat vid den tredje nationella konferensen i samhällskunskapdidaktik, Umeå universitet 14-15 mars 2011.
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