ERG SES G 04, Initial Teacher Education
Initial teacher training is considered one of the most important means to promote the improvements that society currently demands to educational systems. Several international reports (McKinsey, 2007; OECD, 2005) and works done in the field of education (Estebaranz, 2012; Darling-Hammond, 2001) highlights this significance as decisive aspect in students learning. To constitute fundamental mission assigned to school the "ensure good learning for all", is necessary a system of initial training to ensure future teachers acquire skills allowing effective teaching (Bolivar & Bolivar Ruano, 2012).
Today, great dissatisfaction with the quality of the initial training of teachers has been observed globally. Many groups question the capacity of the institutions responsible for training to respond to the training needs of the teaching profession (Ball & Forzani, 2010; Korthagen, Loughran & Russell, 2006; Vaillant & Marcelo, 2015). Criticism has focused on several aspects: little relationship between theory and practice, lack of coordination between key elements, training disconnected from professional reality and fragmentation of the curriculum, among others (Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Flores, Santos, Fernandes & Pereira, 2014; Marcelo & Vaillant, 2009).
In this sense, criticisms aimed at the initial pedagogical formation of Secondary Education teachers in Spain have addressed the need for it to acquire a professional character (Santos & Lorenzo, 2015), since in many cases it is a mere requirement for those who study it in order to teach (Martín-Romera & Molina Ruiz, 2017; Valdés, Bolívar & Moreno, 2015).
The conditions under which initial training begins don’t seem to be the most suitable when meeting the challenge of providing the intended training. No attention has been paid to the principles fundamental to addressing the challenge of training Secondary teachers to "educate all adolescents". It should be noted that one of the aspects lacking in the implementation of the FPES Master model is a reflection on various essential elements of any training process, such as the training principles that must be followed and, consequently, the type of teacher we want to train, and how this should be articulated to achieve the intended training (Bolívar & Bolívar Ruano, 2012; Estebaranz, 2012).
This research is configured with the purpose of contributing to this reflection, addressing the considerations, assessments and perceptions of the teachers in practice, and other agents involved in the training, regarding the three indicated aspects: the “for whom” do we want the training; the “what”, inquiring about the necessary pedagogical component; and the “how”, addressing the elements that are desirable for training and those that can be improved within the current training model.
Transferring this knowledge to the training implies that it will have an impact on actual teaching work (Cochran-Smith, 2005), which is an unprecedented social and educational benefit. In this sense, our work is focused on and we are interested to find out, among other aspects, what elements are considered desirable in the initial pedagogical training programmes. We understand that from the study of these aspects useful considerations will arise to guide the improvement of training, based on the assumption that a training programme will be more effective the greater the number of agents there are involved in its design.
As for the method, we opted for the phenomenological perspective (Van Manen, 2003), as it is in our interest to understand the phenomenon of pedagogical training accessing the experience, the points of view and the sense it gains for several agents that intervene and influence its configuration and development: professors of the teaching practice, students and managers of the initial pedagogical training. In addition to the perspective that the mentioned agents brought to us from the teaching practice, we looked for a theoretical reference in order to support the construction of the improvement proposals, constituted by a group of experts in training teachers. In the analysis we integrated information provided by various agents on the measures for improving the FPES Master, which were obtained from open questions of the questionnaire and qualitative interviews aimed at collecting suggestions for improving initial pedagogical training. The research informants were: • 207 students enrolled in various specialisations of the FPES Master during the 2014/2015 academic year. • 12 Secondary Education professors with long and medium-term teaching experience. • 2 managers of the FPES Master at the University of Granada. • 5 teacher training experts at a national level. To analyse the information, we adopted an "interview analysis method focused on the meaning" (Kvale, 2011), and specifically "Content Analysis" (Bardin, 2002). The process was inspired by the contributions of Miles, Huberman and Saldaña (2014; Qualitative Data Analysis), and other scholars and data analysis studies (e.g. Gibbs, 2012; Kvale, 2011), serving as a guide to develop a process that was characterised by its flexibility and increasing complexity. We approached it under a general plan developed in four phases, which we defined and preconfigured throughout the process: 1. Collection of data from the organisation and transcription of the material; 2. Reduction of data through its coding and categorisation; 3. Making the data available and transforming it for its interpretation; 4. Obtaining results and conclusions. The body of the analysis consisted in 915 units of content referring to 12 categories of analysis responding to the elements that make up a training programme (training principles, training model, competencies, objectives, content, teaching methods, resources, students, trainers, evaluation, teaching practice and management).
The most noteworthy training elements for the agents were: “training principles", "structural model", "planning", "objectives", "content and subjects", "methodological processes", “trainers", "evaluation", “teaching practice teachers and management". The most noteworthy proposals alluded to the following aspects: • The need to improve collaboration between the institutions involved in the training, a "training that responds to the reality of the teaching practice", and to establish practice that favours completing professional training". • They understand that one year is not enough time for future teachers to acquire adequate training to tackle the profession, and believe that it is necessary to improve curricular integration. • Conducting themselves in a special way to encourage the construction of the teaching identity and the professionalization of future teachers. • They demand more practical content, more closely linked to teaching practice, indicating that the training had a theoretical excess. They propose selecting theoretical content more linked to professional knowledge. • They propose teaching methods that allow us to approach the professional knowledge contextualising the pedagogical content in practice (e.g. use of examples in lectures, visits by professionals). They understand that when this content is presented in a theoretical way, it can be abstract and make the students reject it. • They emphasise the need to "establish criteria for the selection of “trainers’", indicating that when assigning teaching, it must be done by ensuring professionals meet certain professional requirements. • They made various proposals for evaluation, related to the need to "establish agreed evaluation criteria”. • Lastly, they propose a set of measures for the administrative management and academic coordination that allude to the rationalisation of the places offered, a decrease in tuition costs and an extension of the coordinators' autonomy.
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