10 SES 02 B, Research on Programmes and Pedagogical Approaches in Teacher Education
It is well established that Pre-Service Teachers (PSTs) have difficulties connecting theory with practice (Korthagen and Kessels, 1999; Korthagen, Loughran & Russell, 2006). A ‘theory to practice’ approach, where learnings acquired through university studies are assumed to be enacted in blocks of school experience, has long been found to lead to a fragmented and mechanistic view of teaching (Doyle, 1990). However, emphasising practice-based socialisation during school experience can lead to PSTs developing a dislike for reflection and theoretical insights and tending to focus on artifices and activities (Tryggvason, 2009); and behaviouristic views of knowledge stemming from their own school learning experiences (Niemi, 2002).
A lack of coherence between university and school-based Initial Teacher Education (ITE) is repeatedly cited internationally as one of the key impediments to high quality ITE, to teacher education more broadly and to students’ educational outcomes. Despite evidence that integration of theoretical and practical knowledge is essential to effective ITE, typically ‘business as usual’ in ITE in Australia continues to reinforce a theory-practice divide, with disciplinary studies predominantly located in universities and professional experience of teaching located in schools.
This divide, however, is being challenged in the Australian context, as key findings from the Victorian Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) Report (2014), Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers, suggest universities should work more effectively with schools to foster the integration of theory and practice to develop the content knowledge and evidence-based teaching skills required of new teachers. Further, graduate teachers in Australia are now required to meet professional standards in both research capacities and in literacy teaching with the introduction of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (AITSL 2014).
The framework of this research draws on recent teacher research findings that show the positive impact of the teacher as researcher model (Darling Hammond, 2010; Esau, 2014; Sahlberg, 2010; Westbury et al., 2005) and the potential value of school-based experiences. More specifically, research suggests that teacher research/inquiry optimally begins during professional preparation (Cochran-Smith, 2008) and that school-based experiences hold potential value for PST/teacher research (Henning, Petker & Petersen, 2015; Smith, 2015; Smith & Sela, 2007). In order for this to occur, reform must start with teacher educators going beyond advocating innovative practices to model and illustrate reflective practice (Korthagen, Loughran & Russell, 2006), question assumptions, and develop research informed responses to enduring challenges. Such changes typically require unlearning of “long-held ideas, beliefs, and practices, which are often difficult to uproot” (Cochran-Smith, 2003: 9) and working as “adaptive experts” (Timperley, 2011) across diverse school and university contexts.
This presentation reports on moves to position PSTs as researchers in school-based learning in literacy education, where changes wrought by digital technologies are challenging disciplinary certainties. It discusses how positioning PSTs as school-based researchers of literacy education was enabled and constrained. The move to partial school-based delivery of teacher education explored in this study occurred within a formalised partnership between one university and a group of 11 primary schools. The partnerships aimed to provide mutually reinforcing experiences of teacher education in digital literacies for both PSTs and classroom teachers.
The key research question is:
How can positioning preservice teachers as researchers in school-based learning in literacy education be enabled?
Specifically, the research objectives were to explore:
- the implementation and principles of a school-based, teacher-researcher model;
- the integration of digital technologies to support development of PSTs content knowledge and pedagogy;
- the capacity for teachers and PSTs to collaborate as knowledge producers in shared inquiries into situated teaching and learning.
The project used qualitative research, to explore the understandings and practices of initial literacy teacher education in school-university partnerships from a range of perspectives. The research was situated within a fourth year literacy education unit, one of the final units within an undergraduate primary teaching course conducted by an Australian university. The participants included 663 PSTs across two campuses at the same university, 10 teacher educators and approximately 113 teachers across 11 primary schools. Teams of PSTs were placed in schools and allocated to particular classes, supported by teacher educators. PSTs developed research questions emerging from school-identified priorities in literacy education, in collaboration with classroom teachers and teacher educators. They engaged in a research orientation approach through initial classroom observations of teachers and primary students during literacy lessons. This was followed by three action research cycles of planning, action, observation and reflection (Kemmis and McTaggart 2005) undertaken by PST research teams. The focus of each of these cycles was collaborative inquiry into their school-based literacy teaching in an attempt to understand literacy teaching in new times, with an emphasis on the role of new technologies on teachers, students and pedagogies. Qualitative data was collected in the form of open-ended survey questions, focus group and individual interviews with PSTs, teachers, school principals across 11 participating schools and with teacher educators. Document collection was undertaken in the form of PSTs’ planning and assessment materials, student work samples, teacher educator meeting notes and other documents produced in the development of the university teaching literacy education unit. The data was collected over a two year period, in one regional and one urban area in Victoria, Australia. All interviews and focus group recordings were transcribed and analysed according to emerging themes. Three key themes emerged from the data.
The key themes that emerged from the data in relation to positioning preservice teachers as researchers in school-based learning in literacy education included: 1. The challenges of understanding and responding to conflicting and aligning agendas across universities, schools and government. Internationally, teacher education is highly scrutinized and frequently positioned as a means for achieving political agendas with intense media coverage and panics about the ‘failure’ of various nations to develop and maintain high-level student capacities on national, global and economic competitiveness on indicators such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Such programs link ‘improvement of student performance’ with ‘the improvement of teachers’ via the ‘improvement of teacher education’ (Bates, 2004, p.119). In response policymakers have tended to focus on controllable parameters to enhance teacher quality, such as teacher testing, subject matter requirements, and alternate entry pathways (Cochran‐Smith, 2008), while teacher education itself has remained largely unchanged (Bates, 2007). Policymakers, schools, PSTs, teachers, students and are likely to benefit from deeper research-based understandings about the nature and impact of school-based teacher education, supported by university partners. 2. Building capacity for all participant groups to better understand and undertake classroom action research, through developing and sustaining school-university partnerships in ITE offers the potential to integrate theoretical and practical knowledge, support the transition from graduate to beginning teacher and enhance the professional learning of PSTs and practising teachers. It also offers potential for problematisation of everyday practices and for the development of research-informed best practice. 3. Positioning PSTs as teacher-researchers, who recognise, utilise, critique and share knowledge of the capacities, affordances and opportunities of digital technologies for literacy teaching has the potential to contribute to the knowledge base of teacher education and offers the possibility of innovative responses to the broader challenges facing educators and policy makers in the future.
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) (2014). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. First edition. Melbourne: AITSL, pp.1-7. Bates, R. (2004). “Regulation and autonomy in teacher education: government, community or democracy?” Journal of Education for Teaching, 30:2, 117-130. Bates, R. (2007). “Australian Teacher Education in the New Millennium.” In Zuljan, M.V. and Janez Vogrinc, J. (eds), Professional Inductions of Teachers in Europe and Elsewhere, Brussels: European Social Fund and Ljubljana faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana. Cochran-Smith, M. (2003). Learning and unlearning: The education of teacher educators. Teaching and teacher education, 19(1), 5-28. Cochran‐Smith, M. (2008). “The new teacher education in the United States: directions forward,” Teachers and Teaching, 14:4, 271-282. Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). “Teacher education and the American future.” Journal of Teacher Education, 61; 1-2, 35-47. Doyle, W. (1990). Themes in teacher education research. Handbook of research on teacher education, 3-24. Esau, O. (2014). “Enhancing critical multicultural literacy amongst pre-service teachers in a Bachelor of Education programme,” Per Linguam: a Journal of Language Learning, 30(3): 69-81. Henning, E., Petker, G., & Petersen, N. (2015). University-affiliated schools as sites for research learning in pre-service teacher education. South African Journal of Education, 35(1). Kemmis, S., & McTaggart, R. (2005). Participatory Action Research. In N. Denzin and Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Korthagen, F. A., & Kessels, J. P. (1999). Linking theory and practice: Changing the pedagogy of teacher education. Educational researcher, 28(4), 4-17. Korthagen, F., Loughran, J., & Russell, T. (2006). Developing fundamental principles for teacher education programs and practices. Teaching and teacher education, 22(8), 1020-1041. Niemi, H. (2002). Active learning—a cultural change needed in teacher education and schools. Teaching and teacher education, 18(7), 763-780. Sahlberg, P. (2010). “Rethinking accountability in a knowledge society” Journal of Educational Change, 11:45–61. Smith, K. (2015). “The role of research in teacher education,” Research in Teacher Education. 5 (20), 43-46. Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group Final Report (2014) Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers https://docs.education.gov.au/documents/action-now-classroom-ready-teachers-report Tryggvason, M. T. (2009). Why is Finnish teacher education successful? Some goals Finnish teacher educators have for their teaching. European Journal of Teacher Education, 32(4), 369-382. Timperley, H. (2011). Realizing the power of professional learning. McGraw-Hill Education (UK). Westbury, I., Hansén, S. E., Kansanen, P., & Björkvist, O. (2005). Teacher education for research‐based practice in expanded roles: Finland's experience. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 49(5), 475-485.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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