10 SES 04 B, Research on Professional Knowledge & Identity in Teacher Education
Zeichner and Tabachnick (1981) advocated that the teaching experience washed out the effects of teacher education. Could it be possible? Or can teachers become veteran as a result of the transfer of knowledge gained in teacher education to teaching? These questions bring to mind the effectiveness of teacher education, namely impact evaluation. “Impact evaluation provides data that indicates whether or not participants learned the concepts, principles, and/or skills, and whether or not they are using them (subsequently) on the job” (Courtney & Holt, 1990, p.11 cited in Connolly, 2012, p.32).
Studies on the impact of teacher education (e.g. Miller & Losardo, 2002) have mostly been quantitative by their nature. However, studies employing also qualitative methods of data collection (Connolly, 2012; Whitney, Golez, Nagel, & Nieto, 2002) are few in number. In Turkey, the impact of teacher education programs on teachers graduated from these programs is still an area needed to be focused on in teacher education research (Yildirim, 2013). All of these show that qualitative research should be conducted to gain in-depth insight into teachers’ perceptions of the impact of their undergraduate education on their practices.
This study aims to gain insight into the perceptions of teachers about the use of teacher knowledge, specifically of general pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in their teaching practices. As known, Shulman (1987) put teacher knowledge into seven categories, namely as content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, curriculum knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, knowledge of learners and their characteristics, knowledge of educational contexts, and knowledge of educational ends, purposes, and values, and their philosophical and historical grounds (p. 8). Three research questions guided the data collection and analysis: (1) Which type of teacher knowledge gained in teacher education do teachers use in their teaching practices? (2) How and when do teachers use general pedagogical knowledge in their teaching practices? (3) How and when do teachers use pedagogical content knowledge in their teaching practices? (4) What are knowledge sources other than initial teacher education that teachers find useful in their teaching practices?
This qualitative study has a phenomenological design. Phenomenology clarifies phenomena that we are aware of but cannot understand deeply (Yildirim & Şimşek, 2016). It mainly aims at understanding the underlying meaning of participants’ lived or common experiences (Padilla-Diaz, 2015). The main data sources are eight teachers selected through maximum variation sampling. Teachers who are in four different developmental stages of Katz (1972) form the study group. Correspondingly, teachers who have been teaching for almost a year (survival stage), two years (consolidation stage), and three years (renewal stage) and for at least three years (maturity stage) (Katz, 1972) are the participants of this study. Qualitative data are mainly collected through individual narrative interviews with teachers (Parczewska, 2017). As a powerful technique of data collection in qualitative research, narrative interviews aim to serve content that can convey subjective experiences (Muylaert, Júnior, Gallo, Neto, & Reis, 2014). Teachers are asked questions like, “What happened then?” rather than “Why?” (Anderson & Kirkpatrick, 2016). The whole data will be subjected to content analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Patton, 2002; Yildirim & Şimşek, 2016) with inductive coding. Strategies, such as purposeful sampling, expert review and thick descriptions will be used for strengthening the credibility of the data.
This study is still in progress, but findings are expected to reveal that not all teachers may have “informed and interpreted experience” (Katz, 1972, p. 10). The following possible questions will be discussed: (1) How can the retention of teacher education be ensured? (2) What should be done to make teachers associate knowledge they gained in teacher education with teaching more? Examining teachers’ perceptions of the impact of their undergraduate education on their practices, this study increases attention to the quality of teaching and learning in teacher education in Turkey. In addition, as opposed to the aforementioned trend in research on the impact of teacher education, this qualitative study will fill the gap in the literature, with a particular focus on teachers’ narrations. The long-term significance of this study also lies in its making policy makers and teacher educators reconsider and revise the curriculum and instruction in teacher education.
Anderson, C., & Kirkpatrick, S. (2016). Narrative interviewing. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 38(3), 631–634. Connolly, G. J. (2012). The impact of teacher education on beginning physical education teachers’ practices (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. Katz, L. G. (1972). Developmental stages of preschool teachers. Retrieved from ERIC Database. (ED057922). Miles, B. M., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Miller, P. S., & Losardo, A. (2002). Graduates’ perceptions of strengths and needs in interdisciplinary teacher preparation for early childhood education: A state study. Teacher Education and Special Education, 25(3), 309-319. Muylaert, C. J., Júnior, V. S., Gallo, P. R., Neto, M. L. R., & Reis, A. O. A. (2014). Narrative interviews: An important resource in qualitative research. Rev Esc Enferm USP, 48(Esp2), 184-189. Padilla-Díaz, M. (2015). Phenomenology in educational qualitative research: Philosophy as science or philosophical science? International Journal of Educational Excellence, 1(2), 101-110. Parczewska, T. (2017). On the phenomenological method of narrative interview as a way of learning about and understanding a child. Prima Educatione, 83-93. doi: 10.17951/PE/2017.1.83 Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc. Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new form. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1-22. Whitney, L., Golez, F., Nagel, G., & Nieto, C. (2002). Listening to voices of practicing teachers to examine the effectiveness of a teacher education program. Action in Teacher Education, 23(4), 69-76. Yildirim, A. (2013). Teacher education research in Turkey: Trends, issues and priority areas. Education and Science, 38(169), 175-191. Yildirim, A., & Şimşek, H. (2016). Qualitative research methods in social sciences (Extended 10th version). Ankara: Seçkin Yayıncılık. Zeichner, K. M., & Tabachnick, B. R. (1981). Are the effects of university teacher education ’washed out’ by school experience? Journal of Teacher Education, 32(3), 7-11.
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