10 SES 09 A, Teacher Knowledge, Perception and Competence
Teachers and teacher educators need to model a number of ‘competencies’ and ‘practices’ in order to develop skills and practices for their students, including but not limited to: subject/content knowledge, communication and collaboration skills, problem solving, decision-making, creativity, critical thinking as well as fostering positive attitudes towards learning (Asia Society, 2011; OECD, 2011; Teaching Council of Ireland 2011a). Darling-Hammond (2006) infers that teachers need “highly refined knowledge and skills for assessing pupil learning… and a wide repertoire of practice – along with the knowledge to know when to use different strategies for different purposes.”
Initial Teacher Education (ITE) marks the first stage of a teacher’s professional journey. It is within this setting students engage with the complexities of the profession facilitating “dispositions to learn re-learn and unlearn, adjusting to specific situations and needs” (Caena, 2014, p. 1). It is an intensive experience requiring students to take the role of both learner and teacher simultaneously and has often been defined as complicated, as it poses a number of challenges for policymakers and providers. However, trends of comparability and compatibility have resulted in increased pressure towards convergent teacher education practices, as well as consistent guidelines for teacher education programs and competence-based outcomes (TUNING, 2005). Convergent teacher education practices are being realised through the proliferation of National/State standards and teacher competence frameworks and more recently a sharper focus on inclusion of core or high leverage practices. The establishment of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in the US in 1954 and subsequently the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), heralded an approach to teacher education where “standards of competence [were determined] by agencies external to teacher education institutions” (Solbrekke and Sugrue, 2014, p. 12). While in the European context, ITE is influenced by developments such as Education and Training 2020 (Biesta, 2012) and commitment to the Bologna process, where “specification and control over what is required to become a teacher is being pre-specified by Governments and their agencies, and by international bodies” (Solbrekke and Sugrue, 2014, p. 12).
Set against a national and international policy landscape aimed at increasing teacher quality (DES, 2011; Teaching Council, 2010; 2011a; 2012; Sahlberg, 2007), the aim of this study is to provide a critical review of the literature pertaining to the ‘core competencies’ and ‘high leverage practices’ of the beginning teacher. The focus of this study is to report a synthesis of the literature pertaining to the ‘core competencies’ or ‘high leverage practices’ of the beginning teacher. A systematic review of the literature was conducted in order to synthesis reliable evidence. Results are presented in two sections; competency-based approaches; and high leverage practice approaches in initial teacher education.
This research synthesis is particularly relevant in terms of progressing our understanding of core competencies and high leverage practices, asking some critical epistemological and methodological questions for policy and practice in the area of teacher preparation.
A systematic review of the literature was conducted “given its strength as a means of establishing a reliable evidence base” (Davies et al. 2012, p. 81). Selecting literature employing systematic procedures using specified criteria reduces the risk of ‘selective’, ‘biased’ or ‘partial’ accounts, accusations which are frequently levelled at conventional literature reviews (Andrews 2005, p. 404). The current review followed established guidelines (Oxman 1994) and employed techniques proposed by Glass, et al. (1981) and Lipsey & Wilson (2001). The aim of this study was to complete a critical review of the literature pertaining to the question of core competencies and high leverage practices of the beginning professional. The following research questions guided the review of the literature: what [core] competencies have been identified for inclusion in pre-service teacher preparation and what high leverage practices have been identified for inclusion in pre-service teacher preparation? The author conducted a comprehensive initial search to locate all studies that had explored the concept of core competencies and high leverage teaching practices. Databases included; Academic Search Complete, Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), Education Source, ERIC, General Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson), Humanities Full Text (H.W. Wilson), PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, Social Sciences Full Text (H.W. Wilson). The key search terms used were “Core Competencies”, “High Leverage Practices”, and “ The inclusion criteria required that studies focused on competencies or practices in second-level (K-12) teacher education. In order to be included in this review, studies had to meet the following inclusion criteria: written in English (but could have taken place in any country), published in refereed journals (technical reports and dissertations were also included), literature published between 2000 and 2016. Studies were also included which discussed competencies or practices for inclusion in pre-service teacher preparation from the perspective of students or in-service teachers. Studies were excluded if they focused on higher education generally, ITE faculty, in-service teachers, ITE policy/reform, early childhood/primary (kindergarten/elementary) teacher preparation.
Results attest to the wide breadth of competencies included in the literature, similar to the findings of the European Commission (2013) one can see an element of consensus emerging both in terms of the general competencies included and the lexicon used to describe these sets. Whilst a number of studies included broad statements of basic competence areas, others included and discussed more detailed competencies often themed together in terms of ‘professional/technical knowledge’, ‘subject competencies’, pedagogical competencies’, ‘skills’ or ‘attitudes’. Interestingly, the competencies selected for inclusion in ITE by in-service teachers very much echo the broad statements of competency as presented by the European Commission (2013). Pre-service teachers prioritised content knowledge and professional conduct as key competencies for inclusion in ITE, while newly qualified teachers related relevant aspects of the lived experience of the classroom to their conception of competencies. Eighteen studies included in the final review described high leverage practices included in ITE programs including but not limited to: observation of actual teaching, video observations, dialogic teaching, and formative assessment practices. Many of the studies set out to report attempts to identify specific teaching practices and discuss how ITE programs place a focus on these practices within and across the curriculum, supported by particular pedagogies. Others included clear rationale for the inclusion of particular practices. Throughout the systematic review process, a number of questions and issues arose for the researchers, pertaining to the selection and inclusion of particular competencies or HLPs and assessment/measurement of competencies selected. We discuss two of these questions of relevance to the teacher education community: the competencies and HLPs selected for inclusion in ITE (epistemological question); and the measurement and assessment of competencies selected (methodological question).
Andrews, R. (2005). The Place of Systematic Reviews in Education Research. British Journal of Educational Studies 53(4), 399–416. Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning (2011). International summit on the teaching profession - Improving teacher quality around the world. Retrieved 15.04.2017, from https://asiasociety.org/files/lwtw-teachersummitreport0611.pdf Biesta, G. (2012). The Future of Teacher Education: Evidence, Competence or Wisdom? Research on Steiner Education, 3(1), 8–21. Caena, F. (2014). Initial teacher education in Europe: an overview of policy issues (Directorate-General for Education and Culture, School policy/Erasmus+ ET2020 Working Group on Schools Policy). Brussels: European Commission. Darling-Hammond L. (2006). Constructing 21st-Century Teacher Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 57(3), 1-15. DES, Department of Education and Skills. (2011). The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, the Report of the Strategy Group. Dublin: DES. European Commission (2013). Supporting teacher competence development for better learning outcomes. Brussels: European Commission. European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2013). Key Data on Teachers and School Leaders in Europe. 2013 Edition. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Forzani, F.M. (2014). Understanding “Core practices” and “Practice-Based” Teacher Education: Learning From the Past. Journal of Teacher Education, 65(4), 357-368. doi: 10.1177/0022487114533800 Glass, G., McGaw, B., & Smith, M. L. (1981). Meta-analysis in social research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Lipsey, M. W., and Wilson, D. B. (2001). Practical meta-analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage. OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2011). Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders for 21st Century - Lessons from around the world (Background Report for the International Summit on the Teaching Profession). PISA: OECD Publishing. Oxman, A. D. (1994). Systematic Reviews: Checklists for Review Articles. British Medical Journal, 309, 648–651. Sahlberg, P. (2007). Education policies for raising student learning: the Finnish approach. Journal of Education Policy, 22(2), 147–171. Solbrekke, T. D., Sugrue, C. (2014). Professional accreditation of initial teacher education programmes: Teacher educators’ strategies – Between ‘accountability’ and ‘professional responsibility’? Teaching and Teacher Education, 37, 11–20. Teaching Council of Ireland (2011a). Initial teacher education: Criteria and guidelines for programme providers. Maynooth: Teaching Council of Ireland. http://www.teachingcouncil.ie/_fileupload/Teacher%20Education/Final%20Criteria%20and%20Guidelines%20for%20Existing%20Progs%20Aug2011.pdf TUNING (2005). Reference Points for the Design and Delivery of Degree Programmes in Education. Bilbao and Groningen: University of Deusto and University of Groningen.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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