10 SES 09 B, Research on Programmes and Pedagogical Approaches in Teacher Education
The current situation in Europe, with an increasing presence of students with diverse ethnic, religious and linguistic background, puts new challenges to the education sector in many European countries. The teaching profession struggles to meet the increasing complexity of diverse classrooms. We find few studies that look into how student teachers learn to teach in diverse classrooms. This paper purport to shed light on how student teachers are being prepared to teach in diverse classrooms by comparing two specific teacher education programs in two European countries. The study is at an early stage and therefore this paper presents preliminary findings.
Our study is based on an Erasmus+ Mobility collaboration between one teacher education program in Norway and one in Greece, because studies of teachers in Greece and in Norway show the need for a more thorough preparation as regards diversity (Mattheoudakis, Maligkoudi & Chatzidaki, 2017; Nordahl, 2018).
Historically, teacher education has had a tendency to concentrate on student teachers’ learning and less on students’ learning (Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2005). This tendency has influenced research on ‘teachers' thinking’, teacher's reflection and self-awareness (Howard & Aleman, 2008; Cochran-Smith & Fries, 2005). In the area of equity, studies focusing on student teachers' reflection on their own background, attitudes and experiences, indicate that student teachers establish an understanding of the concepts equity and equality (Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2005).
Weak test results among students in the late 90’ties made teacher education focus more on increasing students’ learning and how student teachers could provide effective methods for increasing the students’ test results (Cochran-Smith & Fries, 2005). In Norway the so called “PISA-shock” lead to a school-reform (Kunnskapsløftet 2006) with increased focus on students’ learning in math, reading and writing, in addition to differentiating of instruction. Changes in policies also influenced contents and methods of teacher education programs in Norway.
The objective of our study is for us to share and exchange and compare experiences and research between Norway and Greece in order to learn across borders, since as European countries we face similar challenges in our education systems as well as in our societies. Our research question is How do two teacher education programs, one in Norway and one in Greece, prepare their students for teaching in diverse classrooms, and what can we learn from collaborating with each other?
The conceptual framework of our study draws on The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the Guiding Principles of UNESCO (2003, 2006) as well as research in the field (e.g. Valiandes, Neophytou & Hajisoteriou, 2018; Rissanen, Kuuisisto & Kuuisisto, 2016; Convery & Coyle, 1999). On the topic of inclusive approaches in education UNESCO states that all children have the “right to receive the kind of education that does not discriminate on grounds of disability, ethnicity, religion, language, gender, capabilities, and so on” (2003 p5). This conceptual framework serves as our point of departure in analyzing the two programs in question.
The research design of this project is a comparative and exploratory investigation. We are employing multiple qualitative methods of data collection such as semi-structured interviews, document analysis and direct observation. The sources of data material consist of international, national and local white papers and documents, audio-taped and transcribed interviews, field notes, direct observation and participant observation, as well as physical artifacts. At this point in time of the project we believe that our research design qualifies as a comparative case study (Yin, 1994). We plan to conduct an analysis of a pattern-matching mode (Tellis, 1997) in order to investigate how the Guiding Principles for differentiated and inclusive instruction that are formulated in international political documents such as UNESCO, 2003, translate into national political guidelines for teacher education in the countries of Norway and Greece, then how these national political guidelines are reformulated into local guidelines for the two specific teacher education programs. Finally how these local guidelines are transformed into specific contents of the two teacher education programs and hence experienced by the student teachers who take part in them.
Preliminary findings show that both Greece and Norway have guidelines and laws concerning diversity in the classrooms, although we find few, if any, explicit directions for teachers on how to implement these. Another finding is that the two teacher education programs have different approaches to preparing future teachers for teaching in diverse classrooms. They differ in that the Greek approach seems to be geared more towards teacher students’ reflections on their own personal values and beliefs, while the Norwegian approach seems to be preoccupied with supplying the teacher students with methods and practical skills for differentiated instruction. A preliminary conclusion is that the two programs may benefit from each other’s approach. We believe that Norwegian student teachers could learn from the Greek approach of more focus on personal reflection, and that Greek students could benefit from learning more experienced-based teaching methods.
Cochran-Smith, M. & Fries, K. (2005). Researching Teacher Education in Changing Times: Politics and Paradigms. In M. Cochran-Smith & K. M. Zeichner (eds.): Studying Teacher Education. The Report of the AERA Panel on Research and Teacher Education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associate, Inc. USA. Cochran-Smith, M. & Zeichner, K. M. (2005). Executive summary. In M. Cochran-Smith & K. M. Zeichner (eds.): Studying Teacher Education. The Report of the AERA Panel of Research and Teacher Education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associate, Inc. USA. Grossman, P., Hammerness, K. & McDonald, M. (2009). Redefining teaching, reimagining teacher education. Teachers and Teaching. Theory and Practice. 15 (2) pp. 273-289. Hollins, E. & Guzman, M. T. (2005). Research on Preparing Teachers for Diverse Populations. In M. Cochran-Smith & K. M. Zeichner (eds.): Studying Teacher Education. The Report of the AERA Panel on Research and Teacher Education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associate, Inc. USA. Howard, T. & Aleman, G. R. (2008). Teacher capacity for diverse learners: What do teachers need to know? In M. Cochran-Smith, S. Feiman-Nemser, D. J. McIntyre & K. E. Demers (eds.): Handbook of research on teacher education. Enduring Questions in Changing Contexts. Routledge/Taylor & Francis group and the association of teacher educators. Kunnskapsdepartementet og Utdanningsdirektoratet (2006). Læreplanverket for Kunnskapsløftet Kunnskapsdepartementet (2006). Evaluering av allmennlærerutdanningen. NOKUT-rapport (Nasjonalt organ for kvalitet i utdanning). Rissanen, I., Kuusisto, E. & Kuusisto, A. (2016). Developing teachers’ intercultural sensitivity: Case study on a pilot course in Finnish teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education 59 (2016) 446-456 Tellis, W. M. (1997). Introduction to Case Study. The Qualitative Report, 3 (2), 1-14. UNESCO. 2003: Overcoming Exclusion through Inclusive Approaches in Education. A challenge. A vision. Conceptual Paper. Lastet ned fra: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001347/134785e.pdf Valiandes, S., Neophytou, L., Hajisoteriou, C. (2018). Establishing a framework for blending intercultural education with differentiated instruction. Intercultural Education 29 (3), 379-398. Yin, R. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods (2nd ed.). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing
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