10 SES 01 A, Creating and Sustaining Teacher Educators’ Professional Learning Communities
Introduction and purpose
The pan-European InFo-TED project focuses on addressing the European Commission’s policy agendas (2013, 2015) to create professional learning opportunities for teacher educators. The aims are to support teacher educators in their diverse and multi-faceted roles, improving both teacher education and schooling in fast changing societies across Europe.
Underpinned by conceptual frameworks for understanding professional learning (Vanassche et al, 2016) and empirical research (Czerniawski et al, 2016), the Erasmus+ funded the InFo-TED project has created a range of professional learning opportunities, including a website with multi-media resources, an international Summer Academy and an interactive Virtual Learning Platform. Evaluations show that these resources have had considerable impact on teacher educators’ professional learning worldwide.
A further part of the project has been to create, enhance and sustain national professional learning communities for teacher educators in the partner countries. In this roundtable we will explore the development and impact of four of those communities.
Structure of the roundtable The lead presenter will briefly describe and analyse the significant work of InFo-TED in 2018/2019 and outline plans for impact generation and future sustainability. As stated above, all the project work is based on rigorous conceptual and empirical research already in the public domain. Group representatives from Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Israel will then outline the national professional learning communities they are creating and developing, analysing the many ways in which the InFo-TED project has been influential in these processes. In Ireland a National Teacher Education and Teacher Educator Forum, informed by thinking in the InFo-TED project conveys (i) a clear interest in an inclusive networking space, (ii) a need for a collective voice and collective consideration of the teacher education continuum to inform teacher education, (iii) an acknowledgement of the necessity for resource pooling and institutional support, and (iv) the centrality of pre-service teachers and school placement. This gives support for working as a collective and collaborative group, possibly establishing a platform for teacher education, informing both current and future policies. In the Netherlands, participants from the summer academy pass on insights from the InFo-TED model and its related pedagogies in educating beginning teacher educators and school-based teacher educators. In addition, the National Association for Teacher Educators has yearly workshops for experienced teacher educators based on experiences and insights coming from the InFo-TED initiatives. Finally, collaborative articles develop stress the importance of close cooperation with school-based teacher educators in the preparation of student and beginning teachers. In Norway, longstanding focuses on teacher educators include a national research school for teacher educators [NAFOL} and formal mentor education programmes offered at all teacher education institutions. This presentation look at how the work of InFo-TED enhances these existing communities by supporting an emphasis on quality of teaching in teacher education. The Israeli contribution looks at the communities of practice established for leading teacher educators, in some cases with policymakers’ participation. These communities complement and enhance MOFET provision of a school for teacher educators and well-established researchers' communities. The presentation will describe how of all these initiatives have been informed and further developed by the InFo-TED project and its impact internationally.
The session will then move to a structured debate, including opportunities for discussion and feedback from the audience on these broad areas: What professional learning communities for teacher educators are found in the participants’ countries? How do these compare and contrast with the four examples outlined? What potential is there for existing communities to be developed further? What might the models and resources within the InFo-TED project offer here? What potential is there for future international collaborations? Our aims are to work with our audience to build connections with congruent national and international activities and networks, and to ascertain how InFo-TED can best continue to facilitate the professional development of teacher educators in Europe and beyond. How might the further development of InFo-TED contribute to such collaborations?
Czerniawski, G., Guberman, A., & MacPhail, A. (2017). The professional developmental needs of higher education-based teacher educators: an international comparative needs analysis. European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(1), 127-140. European Commission (2013) Supporting Teacher Education for Better Learning Outcomes. Brussels: European Commission European Commission (2015) Strengthening Teaching in Europe: new evidence from teachers, complied by Eurydice and CRELL, June 2015. Vanassche, E. & Kelchtermans, G. (2016). Facilitating self-study of teacher education practices: Toward a pedagogy of teacher educator professional development. Professional development in education, 42(1), 100-122.
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