22 SES 01 B, Teacher Training & Research
When University Colleges in Denmark recruit new teachers, they are temporarily employed as so-called ‘Assistant Lecturers’. During the first four years they must qualify to become ‘Associate Lecturers’ (Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2015; 2016). The process of qualification includes developing teaching competences and gaining experience in professional education, furthering education and participating in Research and Development work (R&D).
This structure for teacher education is based on the assumption that participation in R&D may help to qualify teachers so that their lecturing is anchored in the most current knowledge within their respective professional fields. However, no research has been done so far into the possible connection between lecturers’ R&D work and their teaching practices. It is assumed that transitioning from knowledge production to educational programmes is challenging for teachers because professional knowledge combines many kinds of knowledge.
All professionals use knowledge, but not all professional practices can be expressed through abstract knowledge and theory. Conceptualizing theoretical knowledge is thus important and there are several theoretical perspectives on the relationships between theory and practice (Carr, 1986; Shay, 2012).
The research question is:
How may assistant lecturers’ participation in R&D activities contribute to teaching practices in professional education?
The project combines a sociological approach with a didactical and pedagogical approach to understanding how knowledge transforms between contexts. The main theoretical inspiration comes from Bernstein's concept of recontextualization (Bernstein 1996). In order to develop some analytical tools the project will also draw upon further contributions to this concept from a number of authors (Singh 2002; March 2007; Maton, 2014; Yates &Miller 2016; Gericke 2018).
Recontextualization refers to a process by which knowledge is transferred from its production site to an educational context (Bernstein, 1996). R&D –practices are in this case production sites for knowledge, which, according to Bernstein, have their own logic specific to this context, a logic, which is fundamentally different from the logic associated with educational contexts (Bernstein, 1996). Transferring knowledge from an R&D-context to a teaching practice therefore implies a recontextualization, whereby the ‘pedagogical discourse’ is constituted (Bernstein, 1996). The recontextualization thus involves the processes by which teachers more or less explicitly translate their R&D knowledge and experience as they plan teaching and thus contribute to the construction of the pedagogical discourse. The individual teacher is drawing on practical knowledge about teaching, which is more complex than a simple application of theory, as it also implies an interpretation according to the specific context in which the professional chooses which elements are appropriate and useful in the specific situation (Eraut, 1994).
These theories of recontextualization are supplemented and extended with a Nordic educational perspective on knowledge and teaching. In this tradition, knowledge is viewed as a construction that involves selection and adaptation by the professional teacher (Grimen & Molander, 2010). Such processes are crucial for the usability of any given piece of knowledge (Grimen, 2010). There are different validity requirements for knowledge in different contexts, and such validity requirements for knowledge are different for researchers, for participants in R&D and for teachers. This has consequences in terms of the extent to which the different "knowledge users" can trust knowledge which on the surface appears universal and context independent (Grimen, 2009).
The project is a qualitative study based on documentary analyses, interviews and observations. The research project starts in January 2019 and runs until 2020. Until August 2019, research work is focused on state-of-the-art, preliminary analyses and interviews with lecturers. The state-of-the-art analysis concentrates on the Nordic sociological and pedagogical tradition in theory of professions. With regards to the transformation processes between knowledge-producing and knowledge-reproducing fields, the focus here is on theoretical and empirical research which combines a realistic tradition - building on Bernstein’s theory (Maton, 2014) - with more socio-cultural approaches (Grimen 2010). Existing materials from university colleges, which, in different ways show practical issues related to assistant lecturer programmes will also be located. Four different types of assistant lecturer programmes at VIA University College have been selected for desk research. This is carried out through the collection of documents with descriptions of procedures and practices for assistant lecturers. To supplement such document analyses, interviews are carried out with coordinators of assistant lecturer programmes. Based on this, 12 informants are selected, each representing a case from different professional educations or further education. These elected informants will become teachers at the end of the assistant lecturer period. A variation between cases is ensured, so that assistants representatively participate in a variety of different types of R&D activities. A semi-structured, in-depth interview with each selected assistant is carried out, which is expected to last 1-1½ hours. Interviews are transcribed and the data is analysed. Later on, selected pedagogical practices will be observed to capture how lecturers R&D competences influence their teaching and learning activities. (Those will be completed in the autumn of 2019, after ECER). As an analysis strategy the document research is carried out first. Here the four different types of assistant lecturer programmes are analysed and possible models are defined, especially with regards to the relation between R&D and teaching. Then the 12 interviews are completed and data is inductively analysed to show various approaches to recontextualization and adaptation for educational contexts. Finally, the analysis of the 12 cases will aim at constructing a number of typologies of the most significant transformation processes between R&D and teaching.
At the time of the ECER conference, the expected, preliminary result of the project is to be able to outline some analytical categories, which will indicate how upcoming teachers understand and describe transitioning their R&D-knowledge to knowledge usable in teaching. These categories will then be applied to various models of R&D-activities in order to determine which R&D-activities have greatest overall impact on teaching. At a more general level, the main goal of the project is to gain knowledge about the impact of R&D on teaching, and how associate lecturer’s knowledge about R&D may possibly improve educational quality in professional education. The project may also indicate how lecturer’s participation in R&D-activities in the future can be qualified. Such results reflect this year’s ECER conference agenda. Through the qualitative inquiries mentioned above, it is possible to develop deeper theoretical insights as to the complexity of knowledge transference and the pedagogical challenges that teachers face, when they transfer and transform scientific knowledge into a pedagogical discourse. The project thereby also illustrates to some degree how lecturers develop their professional identities and face didactic challenges in both their roles as acting producers of research knowledge and as ‘re-contextualizers’ of such knowledge.
Bernstein, B. (1996). Pedagogy symbolic control and identity. London (UK) & Bristol (PA): Taylor & Francis. Carr, W. (1986). Theories of Theory and Practice. 2, 20(Journal of philosophy of education), 177–186. Eraut, M. (1994/2000). Developing professional knowledge and competence. Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Gericke, N., Hudson, B., Olin-Scheller, C. and Stolare, M. (2018) ‘Powerful knowledge, transformations and the need for empirical studies across school subjects’. London Review of Education, 16 (3): 428–444. DOI https://doi.org/10.18546/LRE.16.3.06. Grimen, H. (2009): Hva er TILLIT. [What is trust]. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. Grimen, H. (2010). Profesjon og kunnskap. [Profession and knowledge]. In Molander, Anders og Terum, Lars Inge (Eds.), Profesjonsstudier. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. Grimen, H., & Molander, A. (2010). Profesjon og skjønn. [Profession and discretion]. In A. Molander, & L. I. Terum (Eds.), Profesjonsstudier. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. Lyn Yates, L. & Millar, V. (2016) ‘Powerful knowledge’ curriculum theories and the case of physics, The Curriculum Journal, 27:3, 298-312, DOI: 10.1080/09585176.2016.1174141. Marsh J. (2007). New literacies and old pedagogies: recontextualizing rules and practices, International Journal of Inclusive Education Vol. 11, No. 3, May 2007, pp. 267–281. Maton, K. (2014). Knowledge & knowers : towards a realist sociology of education. New studies in critical realism and education. London: Routledge. Ministry of Higher Education and Science (2015). Bekendtgørelse om lektorkvalificering, lektorbedømmelse og docentbedømmelse af undervisere ved erhvervsakademier, professionshøjskoler, Danmarks Medie- og Journalisthøjskole og visse maritime uddannelsesinstitutioner. Hentet 1/10 2018 på https://www.retsinformation.dk/eli/lta/2015/990. Ministry of Higher Education and Science (2016). Bekendtgørelse om stillingsstruktur for undervisere ved erhvervsakademier, professionshøjskoler og Danmarks Medie- og Journalisthøjskole. Hentet 1/10 2018 på https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=183358. Shay, S. (2012). Conceptualizing curriculum differentiation in higher education: a sociology of knowledge point of view. British journal of sociology of education, pp.1–20. Singh, P. (2002) Pedagogising Knowledge: Bernstein's theory of the pedagogic device, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 23:4, 571-582, DOI: 10.1080/0142569022000038422.
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