10 SES 04 D, The Role of Research and The Teacher Education Curriculum
A nation’s competitiveness and prosperity depend on its educational quality. One of the key factors affecting the quality of education is teacher quality because “the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers” (Barber & Mourshed, 2007, p. 16). Initial teacher preparation (ITP) lays the foundation for teacher quality (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], 2017). Cochran-Smith et al. (2016) highlighted three developments of historical and social circumstances which ITP in most of the countries currently needs to address, including unprecedented attention to teacher quality and accountability, changing conceptions of how people learn and what they need to know, and increasingly diverse student populations and growing inequality. In the European context, the ET2020 Working Group on Schools Policy (2014-2015) (2015) has developed a guide on policies to improve ITP, including linking the different phases of teachers’ professional development by adopting a career-long perspective, promoting collaborative learning among teachers for ITP, and strengthening collaborative governance of ITP. Internationally, Darling-Hammond (2017) suggests promising strategies for the improvement of ITP and teaching based on practices in Australia, Canada, Finland, Singapore, and the United States, including recruitment of highly able candidates into high-quality programmes by ensuring competitive salaries, financial subsidies for training and greater commonality in the design and quality of preparation; connecting theory and practice through both the design of thoughtful coursework and integration of high-quality clinical work in settings where good practice is supported; and using professional teaching standards to focus attention on the learning and evaluation of critical competences. Currently, the OECD (n.d.) has launched a project, “TALIS Initial Teacher Preparation Study,” seeking to identify common challenges, strengths, and innovations in ITP systems in eight participating countries/economies and to develop an international benchmark for effective initial teacher preparation systems.
One of the reasons that ITP is often defined as complicated (Canea, 2014) is that different countries have approached the task of ITP in different ways, reflecting their own distinctive values, beliefs, and assumptions about the nature of professional knowledge and how and where such learning takes place (The BERA-RAS Inquiry on Research and Teacher Education, 2014). In response to the changing circumstance of economic globalization and political democratization, ITP in Taiwan has transformed from a state-planned, sponsored, and assigned model into a competitive, self-sponsored, and independent job-seeking model since the Teacher Education Act was promulgated in 1994 (Huang, 2016). However, in practice, the government adopts strategies such as controlling the number of teacher candidates, using teacher qualification assessment to screen out under-performers and evaluating teacher education institutions to maintain the quality of ITP. To find a balance between the state control and free market approaches characterizes the current ITP in Taiwan.
Because of the importance of ITP, research on ITP has been one of the major fields in educational research. It is an emerging, complex, and multifaceted field influenced by historical-social contexts and competing ideas about the purposes of research and the goals of education (Cochran-Smith et al., 2016). The large amounts of ITP studies result in the need of knowledge synthesis, which provides valuable information of what teachers should know, what they should be able to, and how they should be disposed (Menter, 2017). In fact, researchers have conducted reviews of research on ITP in different time frames (Cochran-Smith & Fries, 2008; Cochran-Smith & Villegas, 2015; Cochran-Smith et al., 2016; Lanier & Little, 1986; Lee & Yarger, 1996; Mentor, 2017; Peck & Tucker, 1973; Yarger & Smith, 1990). To extend the current landscape of research on ITP, this study aims to analyze what ITP has been studied and how ITP has been studied in Taiwan.
Research plays an important role in adding to knowledge, improving practice, and informing policy debates (Creswell, 2014). Besides conducting individual primary research, researchers can review of what others have already studied. Comparing to individual research, a review of literature provides a more comprehensive and stronger evidence based on the large amount of studies and settings involved (Gough, Oliver, & Thomas, 2017). A systematic review is a literature review that attempts to identify, appraise, and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question (Green et al., 2011). The review process is transparent and orderly by using a systematic and explicit methodology to produce informative and reliable results. According to Gough and others (Gough et al., 2017; Gough & Thomas, 2017), a distinction in the extent that reviews are aggregative and configurative is useful for clarifying the differences in various reviews. Aggregative reviews that aim to ‘add up’ findings from different studies often answer tightly specified questions using quantitative pre-specified methods to test theories (a deductive method), while configurative reviews which aim to organize the findings from different studies are more likely asking open questions answered with qualitative data and more iterative methods to generate and explore theory (an inductive method). Aggregation and configuring fall on a continuum and most of the reviews include some aggregation and some configuration. After formulating the research questions which focus on what ITP has been studied and how ITP has been studied in Taiwan, searching for and retrieving studies which focused on topics related to ITP in grades K-12in Taiwan, utilized quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods research approaches, were accomplished between Jan. 1, 1995 (after the Teacher Education Act promulgated in 1994) and Dec. 31, 2016 in English or Chinese was conducted. A total of 696 empirical studies was retrieved and met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The Mixed Methods Appraisal (MMAT) which allows the appraisal of various research methodologies (Pluye et al., 2011) was used to know how research quality affects its findings. However, the appraisal results did not affect inclusion or exclusion decisions. Framework synthesis which allows an initial conceptual framework to evolve as the researcher becomes more familiar with the data (Thomas, Harden, & Newman, 2017) are used to combine the results of the 696 studies. The framework of “research on ITP as historically situated social practice” proposed by Cochran-Smith and Villegas (2015) is the initial conceptual framework in this review.
According to Cochran-Smith and Villegas (2015), research on ITP as social practice reflects on how researchers construct research problems and frame research questions. In addition to “the curriculum question,” “the effectiveness question,” “the knowledge question,” “the policy question,” and “the learning question” proposed by those authors, “the emotion question” and” the competency question” have emerged from the social context in Taiwan. More than 70% of the studies driven by “the learning question” and “the policy question” concerned with how teacher candidates learn to teach and how institutions and programs respond to policies related to ITP. “The learning question” studies mainly focus on issues related to teacher candidates’ and their mentors’ experiences during education practicum and teacher candidates’ preservice education experience, while “the policy question” studies also focused on issues about education practicum system as well as regulations and measures of teacher qualification assessment. More than 40% of the studies used qualitative research strategies, about 30% used quantitative research strategies, and about 25% used mixed methods research strategies. However, most of the mixed methods research is quantitatively oriented. A large portion of the qualitative and mixed methods studies belonged to “the learning question” and “the policy question,” while “the policy question” was popular with quantitative studies. About 90% of the studies involved ITP at 1-12 grade levels. Though “the learning question” received considerable attention in ITP research, how teacher educators’ learning affects teacher candidates’ learning to teach needs to be studied. The issues related to education practicum occupied a large portion of “the learning question” and “the policy question” studies. These small-scale qualitative studies could be synthesized and interpreted further in order to inform the measures to enhance the quality of education practicum. Few studies of the ITP in early childhood education have been undertaken and more research is needed to fill the knowledge gap in ITP in Taiwan.
Barber, M., & Mourshed, M. (2007). How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/social-sector/our-insights/how-the-worlds-best-performing-school-systems-come-out-on-top BERA-RAS Inquiry on Research and Teacher Education. (2014). The role of research in teacher education: Reviewing the evidence. Retrieve from https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/bera-rsa-interim-report.pdf Caena, F. (2014). Initial teacher education in Europe: An overview of policy issues. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/repository/education/policy/strategic-framework/expert-groups/documents/initial-teacher-education_en.pdf Cochran-Smith, M., & Villegas, A. M. (2015). Studying teacher preparation: The questions that drive research. European Educational research Journal, 14, 379-394. doi:10.1177/1474904115590211 Cochran-Smith, M., Villegas, A. M., Abrams, L., Chavez-Moreno, L., Mills, T., & Stern, R. (2016). Research on teacher preparation: Charting the landscape of a sprawling field. In D. H. Gitomer & C. A. Bell (Eds.), Handbook of research on Teaching (pp.439-547). Washington, DC: AERA. Darling-Hammond, L. (2017).Teacher education around the world: What can we learn from international practice? European Journal of Teacher education, 40, 291-309. doi:10.1080/02619768.2017.1315399 ET2020 Working Group on Schools Policy (2014-2015). (2015). Shaping career-long perspectives on teaching: A guide on policies to improve initial teacher education. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/repository/education/library/reports/initial-teacher-education_en.pdf Gough, D., Oliver, S., & Thomas, J. (2017). Introducing systematic review. In D. Gough, S. Oliver, & J. Thomas (Eds.), An introduction to systematic reviews (pp. 1-16). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Gough, D., & Thomas, J. (2017). Commonality and diversity in reviews. In D. Gough, S. Oliver, & J. Thomas (Eds.), An introduction to systematic reviews (pp. 35-65). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Green, S., Higgins, J. P. T., Alderson, P., Clarke, M., Mulrow, C. D., & Oxman, A. D. (2011). Introduction. In J. P. T. Higgins & S. Green, (Eds.), Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (Version 5.1.0). Available from http://www.handbook.cochrane.org. Huang, J.-L. (2016). The ideology, implications, and application of teacher profession standards. In S.-K. Yang & J.-L. Huang (Eds.), Teacher education in Taiwan: State control vs. marketization (pp.87-106). London, UK: Routledge. Menter, I. (2017). Teacher education research. Oxford research encyclopedia of education. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.275 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2017). Teaching in focus #17: Do new teachers feel prepared for teaching? Paris, French: OECD Publishing. doi:10.1787/980bf07d-en Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (n.d.). TALIS Initial Teacher Preparation Study. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/talis-initial-teacher-preparation-study.htm#Coming Pluye, P., Robert, E., Cargo, M., Bartlett, G., O’Cathain, A., Griffiths, F.,…Rousseau, Thomas, J., Harden, A., & Newman, M. (2017). Synthesis: Combining results systematically and appropriately. In D. Gough, S. Oliver, & J. Thomas (Eds.), An introduction to systematic reviews (pp. 179-226). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
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
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Network 10. Teacher Education Research
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Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
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Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
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Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
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