01 SES 13 B, Teacher Professional Learning As a Response to Issues of Teacher Retention and Recruitment: Perspectives from Iceland, Sweden And England
Cochran-Smith has identified the lack of empirical evidence about teacher education (2006). This view was supported in a literature review on teacher education by the Education analytical services of the Scottish Government, (SGSR, 2010). Nonetheless, research helps us understand certain factors that prove to be more prominent than others regarding the alleged weak gravitation to teaching and shortage of qualified teachers (European Commission, 2013); these are drop-out among early-career teachers, decreasing number of students who choose teacher education, increased working-load preventing normal professional development, new tasks being added to actual teaching, low-level salaries, and ageing of the teacher population. Other factors are increasing number of pupils per class, growing heterogeneity of the overall school milieu, and employment of under-qualified teachers to fill positions. This development calls for effective research and actions that are liable to turn this development around. Actions likely to improve retention (cf. AITSL, 2016; Darling-Hammond, 2006; Sahlberg, 2015) include supportive school environments, respect and dignity towards teachers, adequate pedagogical preparation, linking academic work and clinical work (theory and practice), and rewarding teachers as professionals. This presentation is based on data collected among compulsory school teachers, teacher training students, and educational authorities concerned with teacher education in Iceland. The aim was to understand the problem of teacher attrition, what students, teachers and other professionals considered as main causes of this problem, and what reactions they consider liable to improve engagement towards teaching. Some of the data have already been collected and some are being collected during spring semester of 2018, consisting of interviews and written documents (reports, memos, and course descriptions). Among central questions posed are: What might explain the problem of teacher attrition in our country? What kind of support is likely to promote engagement and thus improve retention? What kind of learning outcomes and pedagogical preparation is likely to secure stability of the teaching profession? What kind of professional development improves retention? What solutions do professionals suggest to reduce negative factors affecting attrition?
AITSL. Australian Institute for Teaching and Educational Leadership. (2016). What do we know about early career teacher attrition rates in Australia? Spotlight August 2016. Author. Cochran-Smith, M. (2006). Policy, practice and politics in teacher education. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press. Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Constructing 21st-century teacher education . Journal of Teacher Education (57) 3, 300-314. DOI: 10.1177/0022487105285962 European Commision. (2013). Study on policy measures to improve the attractiveness of the teaching profession in Europe. Final Report. Publications Office of the European Union. Sahlberg, P. (2015). Finnish lessons 2.0. What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? New York: Teachers College Press. SGSR. Scottish Government Social Research. (2010). Literature review on teacher education in the 21st century. http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/325663/0105011.pdf.
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