10 SES 01 C, Special Call: Mapping Teacher Education across Europe and Beyond
Across Europe and beyond many of us are familiar with the contested space that the education and training of teachers occupies and the international policy drivers that shape the contexts we work in. In England, the well documented growth of teacher shortages particularly within certain subjects and regions (Allen et. al., 2016), the missed government recruitment targets, the falling number of graduates completing initial teacher education programmes (Foster, 2018), and what Kenway almost 30 years ago called the ‘discourses of derision’ (Kenway, 1990) are commonplace narratives. Indeed, across Europe many of us are familiar with the contested space that the education and training of teachers occupies and the national and international policy drivers that shape the contexts we work in (Flores, 2017). And it is in this context that the identity development of pre-service teachers is a popular and important focus for discussion and research.
While it is commonly agreed that identity is central to the study of teaching (Kelchtermans, 2009), that becoming a teacher is an identity forming process and of the importance of such work (Alsup, 2005, Britzman, 2001, Danielewicz, 2001), there is less agreement on how we as teacher educators support beginner teachers in this process and its relationship to professional practice and teaching quality. In this paper I share my experience of using visual methods, materials and practices as both a pedagogical approach and in educational research examining the identity narratives of pre-service teachers. In response to the conference theme of Education in an Era of Risk – the Role of Educational Research for the Future I reflect on these experiences in order to explore the ethical, methodological and practical issues that such work raises and consider why one might use such practices in teacher education at a time when we prepare teachers for a world characterized by increasing diversity, economic disparity and, as is common place throughout Europe and beyond, increasing inequality.
Visual research methods include the use of photography and photo methods (Prosser, 1998), video and video diary (Holliday, 2007) film (Ruby, 2000), collage (Guantlett, 2011), maps (White, 2018) and drawing and art work (Thomson, 2008) as well as the graphic novel and comics (Cotton, 2011). While the recent past has seen an increase in the use of visual methods and there has been much commentary on the development of digital technology as a driver for the development of a visual culture (Rose, 2012, 2014), this research takes as its starting point the assertion that ‘images are ‘everywhere’ … They are inextricably interwoven into our personal identities, narratives, lifestyles, cultures and societies, as well as with definitions of history, space and truth.’ (Pink, 2001, 17). The projects in this paper focus on photography to explore what it means to be the teacher and the data has been drawn from two different teacher education institutions in an English city: the first a small, specialist higher education institution where students qualified to become secondary school teachers in one of two subjects and the second a large teaching intensive university where a range of subjects and both primary and secondary teachers qualified. Both research projects received ethical clearance from the host institution and the research practice followed the ethical guidelines provided by the British Educational Research Association (2018) and the International Visual Sociology Association Code of Research Ethics and Guidelines (2009). Although pseudonyms for both institutions have been used throughout this paper traditional assurances of confidentiality and anonymity are framed within a visual context where those who ‘know’ the location could identify this and the participants involved. This paper considers data from a sample of 40 pre-service teachers who were asked to produce: One photograph taken by a peer One self directed photography (taken by someone else) One self recorded photograph. The research sat alongside teacher education practice – that is in both empirical projects participants were recruited from modules that I taught and so I was known to those who chose to take part in the research projects.
While there is nothing new in researchers generating visual data for and by themselves, making use of such materials with participants or using found texts, there are a number of distinct opportunities and challenges in such work with pre-service teachers, and it is on these that this paper focusses on. In addition to the production of images, photo-elicitation methods, what Harper (2002, 13) describes as a ‘simple idea of inserting a photograph into a research interview’ and content analysis (Rose, 2012) was used to systematically code the images and to describe and evaluate the composition of the images. In any analysis it is important to think with theory (Jackson & Mazzei, 2012) and in this paper, like Deleuze (1983, 1985) I develop a conception of the photograph that moves beyond the representational. In this paper, I offer an analysis of one initiative to develop pedagogical frameworks for examining the identity narratives of pre-service teachers and consider some of the ethical, methodological and practical issues of using photo methods and visual materials as a pedagogical practice in educational research. Findings from this work, indicate that visual methods reveal the embodied and spatial dimensions of learning to teach and offer critical insights into the experience of teacher education. However, such methods also raise practical as well as methodological and ethical challenges that we have to address in order to contributes new knowledge to an under-researched area of teacher education and contribute to conversations on research and teacher education.
Allen, R., Mian, E. and Sims, S. (2016) Social inequalities in access to teachers, Social Market Foundation and FFT Education Datalab, London. Alsup, J. (2005) Teacher identity discourses: Negotiating personal and professional spaces. UK: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Ball, S.J. (2003) The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Education Policy, 18(2), 215–228. Craig, C.J. (2017) International teacher attrition: multiperspective views, Teachers and Teaching, 23:8, 859-862 Danielewicz, J. (2001) Teaching selves: Identity, pedagogy, and teacher education. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Flores, M. A. (2017) Practice, theory and research in initial teacher education: international perspectives, European Journal of Teacher Education, 40:3, 287-290 DOI: 10.1080/02619768.2017.1331518 Foster, D. (2018) Teacher Recruitment and Retention in England, Briefing Paper 7222, House of Commons Library, London. Hamilton, M.L. & Pinnegar, S., (2014) Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices as a Pedagogy for Teacher Educator Professional Development, in Cheryl J. Craig, Lily Orland-Barak (ed.) International Teacher Education: Promising Pedagogies (Part A) (Advances in Research on Teaching, Volume 22) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.137 – 152. Hesford , W.S. (1999) Faming Identities: Autobiography and the Politics of Pedagogy, Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press. Hock, M. & Kendrick, M. (2003) Eloquent Images: Word and Image in the Age of New media. Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press. Jackson, A. & Mazzei, L (2012) Thinking with theory in qualitative research. New York: Rutledge. Kelchtermans, G. (2009) Who I am in how I teach is the message: Self-understanding, vulnerability and reflection. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice 15:2, 257–272. Kenway, J. (1990) Education and the Right’s Discursive Politics: Private verses State Schooling, in Ball, S (ed) Foucault and Education: Disciplines and Knowledge. London: Routledge, pp.167-207. Margolis, E. & Pauwels, L. (eds.) (2011) The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods. London. Pink, S. (ed) (2012) Advances in Visual Methodology. Thousand Oaks [Calif.]: SAGE Publications. Rose, G. (2012) Visual methodologies. Thousand Oaks [Calif.]: SAGE Publications. Russell, T. (1997) Teaching teachers: How I teach is the message. In J. Loughran & T. Russell (Eds.), Teaching about teachers: Purpose, passion and pedagogy in teacher education (pp. 32–47). New York: Falmer Press. Thomas, L., & Beauchamp, C. (2011) Understanding new teachers’ professional identities through metaphor. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 762-769. Doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2010.12.007.
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