10 SES 09 D, Teacher Educators: Identity and Professional Development Needs
Who trains the teachers? The initial education of teachers is an issue in many European countries. In England, potential primary teachers are presented with a variety of routes to the classroom. Suitably qualified candidates can select between those that offer master’s level qualifications and education at a university and those that are largely school-based. With the draw of salaries potentially exponentially promoting school-based provision, universities in England are positioned as requiring to be very clear about the distinctive opportunities that they offer to maintain their place in attracting graduates in a competitive market. Internationally, studies suggest the importance for prospective teachers to draw on the interface between research and practice in grounding their development and that university-based teacher education is positively positioned in fulfilling that end (Goodwin and Kosnik, 2013, Van der Klink et al, 2017, Willemse and Boei, 2013). The people that lecture on this route are essential in maximising its efficacy.
The recent collaborative work of Kelchtermans et al (2018), draws on the ideas generated by discussion between experienced teacher educators from Europe, Israel and America. It highlights the importance of defining the specificity of the role; one that has ‘particular types of responsibilities, expertise and commitments.’ (p121). This, they argue, has the potential for engendering a recognition of the importance of their professional development and consequently their efficacy in guiding the next generation of teachers. Work by Koster et al (2004) and Buchberger et al (2000) in other European contexts, explores the contentious possibilities of assigning standards and minimum qualifications in defining the teacher educator role. Koster et al’s (2004) work led to profiles being developed that were asserted as having ‘potential for improving quality of teacher education’ (p174). No formalised profiles or minimum standards are currently set for teacher educators in England, but if there were, what would they include?
A case study at an English research-intense university was undertaken to discover what might be perceived as important in terms of the qualifications, expertise and experience of lecturers on a primary PGCE course. The warrant for the approach to the study was offered through a theoretical framework that drew on enactive theory (Davis, B. and Sumara, D., 1997) in realising the potential of focus group work and using it to view this being not adequately defined as being a social constructivist tool for generating knowledge and understanding but asserted it as being a co-construct; the data generated being produced through dynamic and mutually dependant interactions that rely on the interrelationships and sharing of perspectives and experiences between subjects and their unfolding discourse.
This paper reports on an innovative methodology. A group of seven Primary PGCE Student teachers were asked to draw up a person specification for a prospective lecturer on their course and their discussion was analysed. They assigned importance to teaching experience, subject expertise, master’s level qualifications, research engagement and understanding about how to teach university students. Subsequently, three groups of lecturers (17 in total) were invited to discuss and comment on what the students had decided. Subsequently, themes from the discussion were established.
Although the lecturers acknowledged to a degree, the importance of all the qualities asserted by the students, they were generally more reticent to be as explicit with regards to particular qualifications or experience. A key notion to permeate their discussions was the idea that one of the strengths that university offers is student access to a range of expertise and this needed to be represented by a team rather than one individual. One point that was considered as being of interest was that, assuming that knowledge of the requisite experience and understanding of the individuals of the team would be key to its efficacy, there appeared to be several revelatory moments where participants that have worked together over many years were not apprised of potentially pertinent information about one another. This might mean that one of the key strengths of a university based ITE is not being fully realised at present and may be useful in guiding further development. Additionally, the notion of a pedagogy for teacher education, a field of knowledge about teacher education and the career pathways of teacher educators with associated challenges were the key themes in lecturer participants’ interviews. Although the lecturers did not universally regard active research engagement as being essential to their role as teacher educators, they did recognise research understanding as being important for providing effective teaching of their students and also the idea that for their own job satisfaction, becoming research active was something that many of them desired whilst acknowledging time, opportunity and requisite skill as challenges they faced in this pursuit. The ideas generated by this study have potential to offer avenues for reflection and comparison with any providers of initial teacher education.
Buchberger, F. B., Campos, D., Kallos and Stephenson, J. (2000). Green Paper on Teacher Education in Europe. Umea: Thematic Network of Teacher Education in Europe. Davis, B. and Sumara, D. (1997) ‘Enactivist Theory and Community Learning Toward a complexified understanding of action research’. Educational Action Research Vol.5, No.3. Goodwin, A. L., and Kosnik, C. (2013) Quality Teacher Educators = Quality Teachers? Conceptualizing essential domains of knowledge for those who teach teachers. Teacher Development 17(3), 334-346. Kelchtermans, G., Smith, K. and Vanderlinde, R. (2017) ‘Towards an ‘international forum for teacher educator development’: an agenda for research and action’. European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol 41, 2018- Issue 1. Koster, B., Brekelmans, M., Korthagen, F. and Wubbels, T. (2005) ‘Quality Requirements for Teacher Educators’.Teaching and Teacher Education 21: 157–176. Van der Klink, M., Kools, Q., Avissar, G., White, S and Sakata, T. (2017) Professional development of teacher educators. What do they do? Findings from an explorative study. Professional Development in Education. 43:2, 163-178. Willemse, T. and Boei, F. (2013) ‘Teacher Educator Research Practices: an explorative Study of Teacher Educators’ Perceptions on Research’. Journal of Education for Teaching, vol39, pp354-369.
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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