ERG SES E 05, Teacher Education
Currently, the importance of a teacher’s pedagogical knowledge is undeniable. Studies that have analysed the teaching profession emphasise the relevance of acquiring pedagogical knowledge. The Secondary school teacher must be considered a professional who, in addition to mastering the subject and knowing how to teach it, is an educator of young people who must also address other teaching circumstances such as managing the classroom, working as a team, addressing the personal matters of the students, etc. (Perrenoud, 2010; Yanes & Ries, 2014). To deal with teaching under these conditions, a broad pedagogical knowledge is required, one that transcends mere conduct in front of the classroom. However, there are many studies showing that this knowledge is not particularly valued by teachers (Márquez, 2009; Terigi, 2011).
On the other hand, a set of studies (e.g. Fajet, et al., 2004; Sheridan, 2011, 2016) should be noted which demonstrate the importance given by future teachers and teachers to pedagogical training, and examine their ideas about the qualities that good teachers must show, affective (such as being enthusiastic, energetic, motivating) and interpersonal (being careful in the relationship with students) qualities, and disciplinary training, and not so much the pedagogical training itself. On the other hand, a recent study conducted in Spain (Manso & Martín, 2014) indicates that among future teachers they have moved beyond the belief that only understanding the taught knowledge is sufficient, admitting, in addition, the importance of knowing how to transmit it or "how to teach it". However, it is hard for them to accept that teaching involves much more than transmitting content (addressing diversity, collaborating with families, managing the classroom environment, coordinating with colleagues, etc.) when it comes to educating “all students ".
In order to understand which factors can promote the value and recognition of the importance of having broad pedagogical knowledge to meet current educational demands, and to establish lines of action at different levels and phases of professional development, specifically in the initial stage of pedagogical training, we set out to address several questions: what perceptions and attitudes do teachers have about the importance of pedagogical knowledge in teaching? Does their assessment evolve? And if so, what factors are decisive in this evolution?
The general methodological procedure was established in The Convergent Parallel Design (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011), consisting of integrating two research methods (quantitative and qualitative) in order to achieve a greater understanding of the subject of study. The quantitative allows for a broad, general vision regarding the importance given by teachers to pedagogical knowledge, adopting the Survey Research strategy (Cohen & Manion, 2002; Mertens, 2015), and allowing us to access a representative opinion of the teaching population of Secondary Education in practise. We have used section C.1 of the questionnaire "Value of Pedagogical Knowledge for Teaching in Secondary Education", consisting of 27 items and five dimensions: 1. Incidence of teaching; 2. Pedagogical training in value and acquisition; 3. Pre-professional socialisation; 4. Collaborative culture; 5. Value of experience. The qualitative helps us to further understand this assessment, inquiring about needs and concerns experienced by teachers in the development of their teaching skills, adopting the “hermeneutic phenomenological" approach (Van Manen, 2003), focusing on the description of the experience and recognising its meanings and pedagogical relevance, seeking understanding through the application of interviews. In this contribution we focus on the second dimension of the performed interview (see Martin-Romera, 2017), which consists of seven sections; the first addresses the aspects considered necessary to be a teacher, interesting when considering importance given to pedagogical knowledge. The rest includes questions aimed at collecting "information about the experience" or evolution in the assessment (Patton, 2015), addressing the moment in which its importance is discovered, influential factors in the discovery, evolution of the assessment, the ways in which it has been acquired and how they are valued. The questionnaire provided a first approach to the evolution in the assessment of pedagogical knowledge among a sample of 295 teachers from the province of Granada, Spain (representing a confidence level of 90%). The interview had special relevance, allowing us to describe this assessment in a contextualised and exhaustive way regarding 13 teachers with long and medium experience in that province, selected through "outstanding case" and "maximum variation" procedures. For the analysis, we used univariate and inferential statistical procedures and the "Content Analysis" technique, with the latter focusing on strategies for extracting results based on meaning.
The value of a broad pedagogical knowledge to practise the profession is becoming increasingly important among teachers. The majority have moved beyond the belief that in order to practise this profession mastery of the discipline is sufficient, admitting, in addition, the importance of this knowledge when educating “all adolescents.” The assessment evolved in various ways. The majority of teachers recognise its importance when formally beginning to teach, influencing the assessment to a large extent by factors related to practising teaching and the collaborative culture of the centres in which they practise. When the assessment occurs prior to formal entry into the profession, it is particularly influenced by elements that put the future teacher in contact with the profession, such as previous teaching experience, good and bad practices of their teachers when they were a student and teaching practice. In this sense, we find it important to look for structures that allow the student to have this confrontation at the beginning of the initial pedagogical training, favouring a greater use of the material offered throughout. The systematic reflection on one’s own teaching practice is one of the most valued ways to acquire pedagogical knowledge; in spite of this, the circumstances that surround teaching work (individualism or resistance to being evaluated by peers) hinder its real development during this practice. Due to its relevance in professional learning, we propose that at the start of pedagogical training, these matters are addressed, favouring the development of future teachers with positive attitudes towards reflection on their own practice, individually and in collaboration with others.
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