10 SES 01 C, Talking about Teacher Education and Identity
Scholars, policy makers and the public understand that high quality teachers are the most important asset of schools. There is an extensive consent that good teaching has a positive effect on students' cognitive, social and emotional growth (Hanushek, 2011; Leigh, 2010). However, one question has still remained controversial: What makes a "good teacher"? Educational research has not been very successful at identifying the specific qualifications, characteristics, and practices that contribute to the concept of teacher quality.
Nevertheless, it is often suggested that teacher quality is associated with students' performance. In this regard, studies examined the relationship between students' achievements and teachers' professional characteristics, such as teaching experience (Hanushek, 2011; Leigh, 2010), human capital (Ingersoll, 2005; Nye, Konstantopoulos, & Hedges, 2004) and proficient knowledge (Metzler & Woessmann, 2010). Still, the results are inconsistent, and sometimes are even contradictory.
Following the McKinsey report, which claims that the "quality of a school system rests on the quality of its teachers" (Barber & Mourshed, 2007: 16), it is suggested that educational systems should make efforts to recruit high-quality candidates, provide them with professional and effective training, and ensure that they persist in the profession for many years.
Achieving this goal, according to Shulman's pioneering model - 'Knowledge Base' - (1987), it is imperative to equip novice teachers with knowledge about key aspects of the teaching role: 1. Content Knowledge: disciplinary content taught by the teacher in class. 2. General Pedagogical Knowledge: Principles and strategies for classroom management and lesson organization. 3. Pedagogical Content Knowledge: methods for instruction of a specific content domain. 4. Curriculum Knowledge: structure and contents of the official curriculum. 5. Knowledge of Learners and their Characteristics: recognize students' characteristics and understanding their needs. 6. Knowledge of Educational Context: awareness of the broader community. 7. Knowledge of Educational Purposes and Values: adaptation of the educational system and the teacher profession culture.
According to Shulman, the 'Knowledge Base' model provides teachers with a solid basis for dealing with the challenges and uncertainty situations that characterizes the teaching profession. Empirical evidences show that the multidimensional perception of knowledge contributes to the advancement of students' learning and performance (Ball, Thames & Phelps, 2008; Hill, Ball & Schilling, 2008).
Moreover, teacher professional competence and self-efficacy is also a critical predictor for teacher quality. The social cognitive theory refers to self-efficacy as a person’s belief in his or her own ability to successfully undertake the actions required in achieving a given task (Bandura, 1997). Self-efficacy teachers believe in their ability to achieve educational objectives, accomplish challenging goals and fulfilling teaching tasks, while producing positive outcomes, such as higher teacher engagement, increasing instructional quality, empowering students’ achievement and motivation (e.g. Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2007, 2014; Tschannen-Moran &Woolfolk Hoy 2001).
The first years of teaching pose complex challenges to new teachers. This is a period of survival where many novice teachers tend to 'sink or swim' (Feiman-Nemser, 2001). Many of them find it difficult to cope with teaching requirements. They feel frustration and defeat, and some even decide to leave the profession (Arviv-Elyashiv & Zimmerman, 2015; Ingersoll, Merill & May, 2012). These trends raise the question whether teacher training provides novice teachers with skills, practices and methods to cope with the challenges and difficulties while entering the profession.
Following Shulman 'Knowledge Base' model and the social cognitive theory, this study aimed to examine novice teachers' perception concerning their educational training and its contribution to their performance as teachers. It also intended to estimate the extent this perception affects their self-efficacy.
Context: Teacher training in Israel is conducted according to two models. The first model, the concurrent model, incorporates undergraduate and teaching studies. These studies take about four years, and they grant their graduates a first degree (B.Ed.) diploma along with a teaching certificate. These programs include three main components: disciplinary studies, pedagogical guidance and practical experience. The second model, the consecutive model, intended for graduates with a BA degree who wish to study towards a teaching certificate. These programs focused on pedagogy studies, ranging from one to two years (Zuzovsky & Donitsa-Schmidt, 2017). In addition, all the novice teachers are required to participate in a three-year internship program, which includes two academic seminars aimed to provide professional and emotional support at the entrance point to the educational system (Arviv-Elyashiv & Lederer, 2011). These days the Council for Higher Education, together with the Ministry of Education, is designing new proposal and guidelines for the teacher training programs. Therefore, it is worthwhile to understand novice teachers' point of view about their training process. Participants: The study was conducted in Israel in 2017 and included 584 teachers: 417 first year teachers and 167 second year teachers, most of them (487 participants) are women, 124 are kindergarten teachers, 261 elementary school teachers and 193 middle- or high-school teachers. Analysis: A self-report questionnaire was developed based on pre-existing questionnaires (Arviv-Elyashiv & Zimmerman, 2015; Fridman & Kass, 2000;), in accordance with the study objectives. The items were measured using a Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). The dependent variable refers to self-efficacy. This variable consist of 5 factors: good class management skills, pedagogical instruction, motivating students, leading corporations (leadership skills) and developed professional identity. Independent variables: acquire content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, curriculum knowledge, knowledge of learners, knowledge of educational context, knowledge of educational purposes and values, knowledge of school organization ,knowledge of parents involvements, and general readiness for teacher role. A statistical analysis (T-test, multivariate analysis, and correlations) examined teachers' perception concerning their educational training and its contribution to their performance as teachers. A multivariate model was estimated to examine the effect of teachers' perception concerning the 'knowledge base' components on teachers' self-efficacy.
The results show that new teachers perceive the contribution of teacher training to their role as teachers at a reasonable level (3 in average, in a scale of 1 to 5). They feel moderately capable to lead class management, perform pedagogical instruction, motivate students and lead corporations; they also express high level of professional identity, and mentioned having good level of content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. However, they claim to have relatively low level of knowledge concerning curriculum, learners, educational context, educational purposes and values, school organization and managing parents. Novice teachers that have trained according to the concurrent model mention higher level of self-efficacy and knowledge than their colleagues who have trained according to the consecutive model. The findings also indicate that Schulman's multi-dimensional model predicts novice teachers' self-efficacy. Each dimension of knowledge reinforces various components of professional competence. Together, they create synergistic networks that empower teaching quality. Although, these knowledge dimensions support novice teachers in a relatively limited manner, they provide them with a solid basis to cross the survival period. In light of the high level of the participants' professional identity, it can be assumed that the knowledge they have acquired during the teaching training will serve them in the future. Nevertheless, it seems necessary to expand teacher knowledge about school organization, learners' needs, curriculum, educational communities and parents' involvements. Moreover, sense of readiness to teacher role was found positively contributing to high level of self efficacy. In this context the practical experience and the internship program had the highest contribution. Theoretically, this study confirm Shulman's 'knowledge Base' model and expand additional dimensions of knowledge to be addressed: parents' involvement and school organization. It also presents the relationship between 'Knowledge Base' model and self-efficacy as main aspects of teacher quality.
Arviv-Elyashiv, R. & Lederer, D. (2011). Induction workshops: Mixed or targeted? Dapim, 52, 46-71(Hebrew). Arviv-Elyashiv, R. & Zimmerman, V. (2015). Which teachers are liable to drop up? Demographic and institutional characteristics of teaching dropouts. Dapim, 59, 175-206 (Hebrew). Ball, D.L, Thames M.H. & Phelps, G. (2008) Content Knowledge for Teaching: What Makes it Special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59(5), 389-407. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York, NY: Freeman. Barber, M. & Mourshed, M. (2007). How the World's Best-Performing School Systems Come Out on Top, McKinsey & Company, Social Sector Office. Feiman-Nemser, S. (2003). What new teachers need to learn. Educational Leadership, 60(8), 25-29. Fridman, I. & Kass, E. (2000). Teachers' Self Efficacy: The Concept and Measurement. Szlod Institud (Hebrew). Hanushek, E. A. (2011). The economic value of higher teacher quality. Economics of Education Review, 30(3), 466-479. Hill, H.C., Ball, D.L. & Schilling, S.G. (2008). Unpacking pedagogical content knowledge: Conceptualization and measuring teachers' topic-specific knowledge of students. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 39(4), 372-400. Ingersoll, R. M.. (2005). The problem of unqualified teachers: A sociological perspective. Sociology of Education, 78(2), 175-178. Ingersoll, R.M Merrill, L. & May, H. (2012). Retaining Teachers: How Preparation Matter? Educational Leadership, 30-34. Leigh, A. (2010). Estimating teacher effectiveness from tow-year changes in students' test scores. Economics of Education Review, 29(3), 480-488. Metzler, J & Woessmann, L. (2010). The Impact of Teacher Subject Knowledge on Student Achievement: Evidence from Within-Teacher Within-Student Variation. CESIFO Working Paper No. 3111 Category 5: Economics of Education. Nye, B., Konstantopoulos, S., & Hedges, L. V. (2004). How large are teacher effects? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 26(3), 237-257. Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and Teaching: Foundation of the New Reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1). 1-22. Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2007). Dimensions of Teacher Self-Efficacy and Relations with Strain Factors, Perceived Collective Teacher Efficacy, and Teacher Burnout. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 611-625 Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2014). Teacher Self-Efficacy and Perceived Autonomy: Relations with Teacher Engagement, Job Satisfaction, and Emotional Exhaustion. Psychological Reports, 114, 68-77. Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2001). Teacher Efficacy: Capturing an Elusive Construct. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 783-805. Zuzovsky, R. & Donitsa-Schmidt, S. (2017). The recruitment, preparation, tenacity and academic development of quality teachers: A comparison between divers models of teachers preparation programs. Dapim, 66, 13-40 (Hebrew).
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