10 SES 14 B, Mapping Teacher Education across Europe and Beyond | Learning from Accomplished Teacher Educators
The Network 10 initiative Mapping Teacher Education across Europe and Beyond is important because teacher educators are key to the process of teacher education, both nationally and internationally. As Goodwin and Kosnik (2013, p. 334) conclude: ‘Simply put, it is reasonable to assume that quality teacher preparation depends on quality teacher educators.’
The European policy agenda for teacher education has repeatedly stressed the importance of teacher educators in Higher Education and school contexts (European Commission 2009, 2013, 2015) and called for more attention to their work and learning. Internationally, there has been a growing research focus on teacher educators, with the transition from classroom teacher to teacher educator and self-study as two popular foci (e.g. Russell & Berry, 2016; Murray, 2016). But there are still limited comparative studies of teacher educators, particularly those at later careers stages. This study aims to answer European policy calls and to address omissions in existing research by targeting accomplished teacher educators making notable contributions to the field and having much to share about teacher education.
For this qualitative and interpretive study Learning from Accomplished Teacher Educatorswe developed a research methodology to study ‘accomplished’ teacher educators. Drawing on formal and informal networks, including ECER Network 10, we asked teacher educators to nominate colleagues they regarded as ‘accomplished’. We purposely left the descriptor open so as not to bias the nominations by providing detailed attributes. However, we did specify two threshold criteria for selection: first-hand experience teaching/leading teacher education programmes and research related to teacher education. This sampling resulted in the nominations of over 200 teacher educators, which were reviewed to ensure they met both threshold criteria, disqualifying those who did not. We then selected the top twenty nominees, twenty being manageable enough to support deep analysis, but large enough to ensure diversity and representation across contexts and countries.
The final selection of participants gave permission for their identity to be shared. Six interviewees came from Europe, the rest from Anglophone countries. All had over 20 years of experience in education, with most having over 30 years. All 20 participants had been classroom teachers and had a doctorate.
Each person was interviewed (face-to-face or on Skype) using a semi-structured interview format of approximately 60 minutes and including five question categories:
work history (including research);
forms of learning (including learning to be a teacher educator);
work environment (including influences on practice);
advice for newer teacher educators;
Most questions were posed to all participants, with probes where necessary. Interviews were audio-recorded and fully transcribed. Data analysis used grounded theory methods (Charmaz, 2014; Punch, 2014) including open coding,analytical memos and pen portraits. Moderation of data analysis across the team provided for the necessary analytical rigour. Further details of analytical techniques are provided in each paper, if relevant.
This symposium presents four inter-linked papers resulting from this study and the methodology and methods described above. The papers all focus on different substantive issues within the study: turning points in teacher educators' careers; teacher educators’ identity and social justice; advice to new teacher educators; and the research these accomplished teacher educators conduct in and on teacher education. The findings for each area and the resulting theorisations are presented within each of the papers in this symposium (see below). Intent of publication is also described for each paper.
In summary, grounded in rigorous empirical research, this symposium will contribute original and new knowledge of experienced and influential teacher educators. The study has high relevance to the European policy agenda as it indicates new directions for practice, research and policy in the field of teacher education internationally.
Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory (2nd ed.). Los Angeles & London: Sage. 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 European Commission (2015) Strengthening Teacher Education in Europe: new evidence from teachers compiled by Eurydice and CRELL, June 2015. http://ec.europa.eu/education/library/policy/teaching-profession-practices en.pdf. Accessed August 2015. Goodwin. L. A. & Kosnik, C. (2013). Quality teacher educators = quality teachers?: Conceptualizing essential domains of knowledge for those who teach teachers. Teacher Development: An International Journal of Teachers' Professional Development, 17(3), 334-346. 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. Russell, T. & Berry, A. (2016). Five challenging self-studies of teaching and teacher education. Studying Teacher Education: A Journal of Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices, 12(3), 241 – 253.
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