10 SES 06 C, Research on Professional Knowledge & Identity in Teacher Education
Since 2011, Sweden has a new teacher education. The new teacher education, its policy and practice, involved a shift due to the fact that the former Swedish teacher education reforms had an intention to unite teachers in their professional knowledge base and identity by constructing a consolidated and integrated teacher education (Beach et al, 2014).
The Primary teacher education programme (PTE-programme) is the teacher education programme that has been affected the most by the teacher education reform. From a single category of teachers, there are now three categories of primary school teachers: preschool teachers and primary school teachers for grades 1-3, primary school teachers for grades 4-6 and those who work with pupils in the extended school programme. The new PTE-programme are hence built upon a discourse of strong classification (Bernstein, 2000). In earlier studies of this programme, results show that the two majors, K-3 and 4-6, have developed not only slightly different examination cultures but also different pedagogic discourses (Sjöberg, 2018a). Similarly, the studies show that the PTE-programme has the greatest focus on classroom management skills and competencies (primarily subject didactics) in which the primary school curriculum is a central focus (Sjöberg 2018b), and that in the PTE-programme there are several different subcultures, each with their own pedagogic discourses (Player Koro och Sjöberg, 2018). This study is a continuation of research into primary school teachers’ professional knowledge base and their pedagogical identity as well as how this is developed in and through the examination practice of the PTE-programme. Based upon earlier results showing that there are differences within the programme, this study examines differences in pedagogic discourses between the various subjects (Swedish, Mathematics, English, Social Studies, Sciences) and subject areas (Educational Science Core and Placement) that make up the PTE-programme.
This study’s methodological approach is grounded in Bernstein’s theory concerning the pedagogic device, the processes that form programme content and the way that content is taught from policy to practice, how the pedagogic discourses are constructed, and which pedagogical identities are possible to generate in and through the programme (Bernstein, 1999, 2000, 2003). The assumption is that the pedagogic discourses in the PTE-programme is an integration of discourses and subject concepts based on policy, academic traditions and subject traditions.
This study, which can be seen as a policy case study, was conducted at one of the larger teacher education institutions in Sweden. The empirical material for the study contains the policy texts that govern what students should know upon finishing the courses and programme – that is to say, the course plans, study guides, and examination assignments. 40 courses and 298 examination assignments were included in the study. Compilation and analysis of the material was done in several steps that involved both qualitative and quantitative methods. In the first step a qualitative exploratory content analysis of all policy texts (course plans, study guides and examination assignments) was conducted, based on the analytical questions; the forms of examinations, the content structure and the knowledge structure in the assignments. Based on the overall research questions and the analytical questions the material was coded with a theory informed code generated from Bernstein’s theoretical description of the pedagogical discourse (Bernstein 1999, 2000). NVivo Pro was used as an organizational and analytical tool for this analyse. As the final analytical step the scope of the various codings was examined. This was done as an overall analysis, but also with the aim to see how the various subjects related to the pedagogic discourses. The possible connections found in the empirical material were analysed statistically with the help of a cross-tabulation test (multiple group-chi2-test or contingency table test) to determine whether there are systematic and significant differences between the examination practices for various subjects.
The results of the over-all examination practice show that there are some pedagogic discourses dominating the PTE-programme concerning examination forms (mostly seminars and take-home-exams), content structures (where subject didactics are most prioritized) and knowledge structures (for example holistic, normative, collective discourses are dominating the examination assignments). The results also show that there are rather big differences between the subjects and subject areas in the programme, concerning how teacher students are examined but also what kinds of knowledge and competences are constructed in and through the examinations. Some of the subjects construct the student teacher into a craft or technical discourse whereas other subjects/subject areas helps the former teachers to grasp a professional endeavor discourse (Hordern & Tatto, 2018). This, in turn, participate in the development of a future teacher’s professional knowledge base and professional identity in different directions.
Ball, S. J. (2012). Global education inc.: New Policy Networks and the neoliberal imaginary. New York, NY: Routledge. Beach, D., Bagley, C., Eriksson A. & Player Koro, C. (2014). Changing teacher education in Sweden: Using meta-ethnographic analysis to understand and describe policy making and educational changes. Teaching and teacher education, 44, 160-167. Bernstein, B. (1999). Vertical and horizontal discourse: an essay. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 20(2), 157-173. Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: theory, research, critique. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Bernstein, B. (2003). Class, code and control. Vol 4. The structuring of pedagogic discourse. London: Routledge. Deng, Z. (2018). Pedagogical content knowledge reconceived: Bringing curriculum thinking into the conversation on teachers’ content knowledge. Teaching and Teacher Education, 72, 155-164. Hordern, J. & Tatto, M.T. (2018). Conceptions of teaching and educational knowledge requirements. Oxford Review of Education, DOI: 10.1080/03054985.2018.1438254. Nilsson Lindström, M. & Beach, D. (2015). Changes in teacher education in Sweden in the neo-liberal education age: Toward an occupation in itself or a profession for itself? Education Inquiry, 6(3), 241-258. Player Koro, C & Sjöberg, L. (2018). Becoming a Primary Education Teacher – Pedagogic Discourses in the Teacher Education Programme’s Examination Practice. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 4(2), 78-91. Singh, P., Thomas, S., & Harris, J. (2013). Recontextualising policy discourses: a Bernsteinian perspective on policy interpretation, translation, enactment. Journal of Education Policy, 28(4), 465-480. doi:10.1080/02680939.2013.770554 Sjöberg, L. (2018a). The Swedish primary teacher education programme – at the crossroads between two education programme traditions. Education Inquiry. DOI: 10.1080/20004508.2018.1492845 Sjöberg, L. (2018b). The shaping of pre-service teachers’ professional knowledge base through assessments. European Journal of Teacher Education, 41(5), 604-619, DOI:10.1080/02619768.2018.1529751 Tatto, M. T. (2006). Education reform and the global regulation of teachers’ education, development and work: A cross-cultural analysis. International Journal of Educational Research, 45(4-5), 231-241. Wågsås Afdal, H. (2012). Knowledge in teacher education curricula. Examining differences between a research-based program and a general professional program. Nordic studies in education, 32(3-4), 245-261.
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