22 SES 11 C, Teaching and Learning: Teacher Training
we’re expecting prospective teachers to put together a bunch of fragments. It’s like, take a glass. Drop it on the floor. You’ve got shards of glass everywhere. And then you ask the student teachers to put it back together again. On their own, with no model of what it’s supposed to look like at the end (Linda Darling Hammond p. N/A).
As Darling Hammond notes above teacher education is highly fragmented and it is often left to student teachers to make connections amongst courses/modules and experiences; however, we believe that teacher educators need to make these connections first. By collectively putting together the pieces, teacher educators will have opportunities to learn with, among, and from their colleagues.
Some schools of education and universities provide generic induction for new faculty but research has shown this is not sufficient nor systematic (European Commission 2009, 2013). Kosnik et al’s study of 28 literacy/English teacher educators found that professional development for teacher educators was not systematic; rather, it was quite ad hoc, with much of it occurring through learning while doing (2014, p. 73). Lunenberg, Dengerink, and Korthagen (2014) found that professional development is “an area of which little is known, in particular about what is effective in supporting teacher educators in their professional growth” (2014, p. 75). The need for induction is apparent but the logical questions are: what do teacher educators need to know? What skills do they need? And how can they learn what is needed? These vast questions will take years to study, are context-specific, and do not have simplistic answers. Nevertheless are can we continue to address them by identifying some key elements for learning. The European policy agenda (European Commission 2009, 2013) recognizes there needs to be more commitment to supporting teacher educator learning. The research literature on teacher educators has begun to demonstrate the complexity of being a teacher educator. It is not simply conveying stories about your own teaching but is a much complex process (Murray & Male, 2005, Murray, 2016) which includes “teaching about teaching” (Loughran, 2006; Loughran & Hamilton, 2016); requires expanding your knowledge base (Kosnik et al., 2014); developing new skills (Ellis et al., 2014), and shifting your identity (Murray, 2016).
Our research team, which had representatives from five countries, developed an innovative research methodology to study teacher educators. Using our formal (e.g., BERA, CATE, AATE) and informal networks teacher educators were asked to identify teacher educators who they felt were “accomplished.” The term “accomplished” was purposely left fairly open because we did not want to bias the nominations. Given limited funds and time we recognize our data gathering was not as robust as we would have liked; however, the unique contribution of this research made it worthy because of its international scope and the possibility of doing a study across a number of countries.
A number of avenues could have been pursed but three were chosen -- identity, research, and own learning over time -- because they built on the existing literature and participants would able to speak knowledgeably on each topic. This research is guided by four generalquestions:
- What are the backgrounds of teacher educators who are recognized by their peers?
- How do these teacher educators identify themselves?
- What do they regard as key issues in teacher education?
- What kind of research on teacher educators is deemed necessary?
Over 200 teacher educators were nominated. Nominees were reviewed to ensure they had experience in three areas: teaching in teacher education programs; had done research related to teacher education; and had held leadership positions in teacher education. The top twenty nominees were identified which was a manageable number for the researchers and were representative of many contexts. Participants who gave permission for their identity to be shared represented many countries: • Canada (2 interviewees) • US (9 interviewees) • UK (3 interviewees) • Europe (3 interviewees) • Australia (3 interviewees) All had over 20 years of experience in education; all had been classroom teachers; and all had a doctorate. This proposal reports on two specific aspects of the data: 1. What are teacher educators’ views on knowledge, skills, and disposition for being a teacher educator in the 21st century? 2. How can these be acquired and supported over time (e.g., induction and on-going learning)? Each person was interviewed (either face-to-face or on Skype) for approximately 60 minutes. Questions were in five categories: • work history (including research activities); • identity; • forms of learning (e.g., including learning to be a teacher educator); • advice for teacher educators; • and work environment (including influences on practice) . Most questions were asked of all the participants and probe questions were posed to clarify specific points or for examples. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Analysis used grounded theory. In accordance with a grounded theory approach, data analysis began immediately. The first stage of “open coding” of data required considerable interpretation: such coding is “not centrally concerned with simple description [but with] generating grounded abstract concepts, which can become the building blocks for the theory” (Punch, 2014, pp. 180-181). To increase the validity and reliability, we had frequent team meetings (using video conferencing technology) to discuss our individual analysis. Some themes emerged rather naturally from the interview questions while others were developed based on unanticipated participant insights and examples. To identify nuances and subtleties in the data a theme (e.g., knowledge needed) had sub-themes such as “topic of Ph.D.” and “influences on practice”. Data was double- and triple-code data which provided in-depth analysis. Once the initial analysis was completed thus exposing their “theoretical possibilities” (Punch, 2014, p. 183), further analysis was done via “axial” (or theoretical) coding, “interrelating the substantive categories that open coding has developed” (Punch, 2014, p. 183). This level of analysis is essential for going beyond
Overall, there was consensus that support for teacher educator learning is uneven and often left to the individual. Induction and on-doing learning programs need to be two-pronged: firstly, in specific content area (e.g., literacy, mathematics) because each discipline has its own unique needs and pedagogy. Secondly, there needs to opportunities for more general discussion on our vision for teacher education. Induction and on-going learning needs to be driven by articulating clearer conception of goals for in teacher education (e.g., what are we trying to accomplish) and how can we the teacher educators develop. A number of suggestions for induction and on-going learning were identified: • Being involved in research projects while a doctoral student (Deborah Ball) • Having access to other teacher educators’ course outlines (Pam Grossman) • Engaging in “conversations” about teacher education (Viv Ellis) • Studying your own practice (Mandi Berri) • Remaining highly connected to schools (Pete Boyd) • Being part of a discipline-specific group (Joanne Reid) • Using a pedagogy of teacher education that has “listening to student teachers” at its heart (Maria Flores, Tom Russell) • Connecting with International colleagues (Kari Smith, John Loughran) • Reading, reading, and reading (Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Ian Menter) This research aims to provide direction on support for teacher educators’ on-going development. Learning from experienced teacher educators provides a window into those who have persevered over time and through multiple government initiatives. Through this research it became apparent that teacher educators’ learning is very serendipitous – learning is dependent on colleagues, unanticipated opportunities, own initiative, and luck. The variability in learning opportunities for teacher educators and the huge role of “luck” counters the intent to see teacher educators as professionals.
Ellis, V., McNicholl, J., Blake, A., & McNally, J. (2014). Academic work and proletarianisation: A study of higher education-based teacher educators. Teaching and Teacher Education 40, 33-43. European Commission. (2009). Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in teacher education in Europe. Retrieved from http://www.enqa.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/ESG_3edition-2.pdf European Commission (2013). Supporting teacher educators for better learning outcomes. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/education/school-education/teacher-cluster_en.htm Ellis, V., McNicholl, J., Blake, A., & McNally, J. (2014). Academic work and proletarianisation: A study of higher education-based teacher educators. Teaching and Teacher Education 40, 33-43. Goodwin, L. (2012). Teaching as a profession: Are we there yet? In C. Day (Ed.), The Routledge International Handbook of Teacher and School Development, (pp. 44–56) New York: Routledge. Kennedy, M. (2016). Parsing the practice of teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 67(1) 6–17. Kosnik, C., Dharamshi, P., Miyata, C., Cleovoulou, Y., & Beck, C. (2014). Beyond initial transition: An international examination of the complex work of experienced literacy/English teacher educators. English in Education, 48(1), 41-62. Kosnik, C., Dharamshi, P., Miyata, C., Cleovoulou, Y., & Beck, C. (2015). Four spheres of knowledge required: An international study of the professional development of literacy/English teacher educators. Journal of Education for Teaching, 4(1), 52-77. Loughran, J. (2006). Developing a pedagogy of teacher education: Understanding teaching and learning about teaching. London & New York: Routledge. Loughran, J. & Hamilton, M. L. (2016). Developing and understanding of teacher education. In J. Loughran & M.L. Hamilton. (Eds.) International Handbook of Teacher Education. Volume 2 (pp. 3 -22) Singapore: Springer. Lunenberg, M., J. Dengerink, and F. Korthagen. 2014. The Professional Teacher Educator: Roles, Behavior, and Professional Development of Teacher Educators. Rotterdam: Sense. McKeon, F. & Harrison, J. (2012). Developing pedagogical practice and professional identities of beginning teacher educators. Professional Development in Education 36 (1–2), 5– 44. Murray, J., &. Male. T. (2005). Becoming a teacher educator: Evidence from the field. Teaching and Teacher Education 21 (2), 125–142. Murray, J. (2016). Beginning teacher educators: Working in higher education and schools. In J. Loughran & M.L. Hamilton. (Eds.) International Handbook of Teacher Education. Volume 2 (pp. 35 -70) Singapore: Springer. Punch, K. (2014). Introduction to social research: Quantitative and qualitative approaches. London: Sage.
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