10 SES 06 C, Research on Professional Knowledge & Identity in Teacher Education
The Norwegian national guidelines for primary school teacher education grades 1-7 and 5-10 states that “[a]ll subjects in the education must be included in a formation process that ensures that the student possesses the ability to see a case from different sides and research the professional practice from different perspectives” (2010a). In this context, teaching is presented as a complex and demanding profession and the institutions of higher education are given the task of cultivating teachers who are able to master and qualify to practice compound tasks.
Within teacher education, dual axes of professional development are carried out. On the one hand, the students must start the process where they themselves are shaped into teachers. On the other, they must simultaneously develop the skills and knowledge that enable them to facilitate the pupils' learning and formation. The literature highlights those processes as indicative of the students' emerging development en route to embodying the role of a professional teacher (Raaen, 2010).
This study is based on focus group interviews with elementary school student teachers.The students reflected on questions related to, for example, their experiences of own roles as teachers and their development within campus and within the field of practice. In different contexts throughout the conversations, the students particularly emphasized their experiences related to “doing” the teaching profession and / or “being” the teaching profession. As a distinctive feature in the reflections, the students seemed to link their experiences to different understandings of knowledge, and not least to factors that the theory highlight as important for formation and professional development.
In order to elucidate the complexity of their experience within their own professional development, I will discuss their reflections and understandings in light of the formation ideals and knowledge forms. In this context, it will be very relevant to elucidate the discussion by means of Aristotle's forms of knowledge techne, episteme and fronesis (Hovdenak, 2014) and the perspectives in the formal, material and categorical theories (Klafki 1959/1996). Such an approach to discussing the student's reflections and experiences will also reveal something about the connection between guidelines in the legal framework for the teacher education (Kunnskapsdepartementet, 2010) and the mission of education formation. In this context, it may also be possible to say something about the need for a more conscious approach to the educational institutions’ commitment to the students, particularly regarding the knowledges and skills that are part of their professional development.
Research clearly describes that both the formation ideal and the knowledge forms are central parts of professional development (Hovdenak, 2017; Heggen, 2010; Smeby, 2008). It is therefore of great interest to explore how emphasis on different forms of knowledge in teacher education will create conditions for different forms of formation of students in their education and professional development.
In order to go into greater depth regarding the student teachers’ experience of their own professional development, a qualitative method was chosen. Fifteen preservice teachers were chosen to participate in this study. All were in the fifth semester of their teacher training, and participated voluntarily. In order to approach the experiences of the students, the interview guide was prepared with open questions, with the intention of capturing what can affect the students' development of teacher professionalism. The students were placed in three different focus groups, each consisting of five individuals. In these groups, the students were interviewed together about some chosen topics related to professional development. A focus group interview must have a more or less clearly expressed purpose or objective. According to Stewart & Shamdasani (1990), the most common purpose of using a focus interview is to contribute to greater insight through exploration of a relatively unexplored area / field. The interview is characterized by the interviewees being encouraged to talk about special topics so that underlying norms, settings and values come to the surface. It is essential that these topics are something that the participants have in common and that the interview takes place in a relatively informal and open atmosphere (Parker & Tritter, 2006). The interviews were then transcribed and categorized according to a constant comparative method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Before the interviews started, everyone was informed that the interview was voluntary and that they could withdraw at any time. The interviews were digitally recorded and later transcribed. Each interview lasted approximately 90 minutes.
The students seem to develop an understanding of how they can "do" and “be” the teacher profession. It is like they consider the field of practice as an arena for "testing" different teaching methods. In this perspective, it would be reasonable to expect a connection between the forms of knowledge, techne, episteme and/or fronesis that are emphasized in the teacher training institution, and the students' formation in their professional development. It is also reasonable to problematize the educational institution's role in professional development. Here it becomes relevant to look for dilemmas that will arise in the gap between students' experience of their own formation, and guidelines in political governance documents.
Heggen, K. (2010): Kvalifisering for profesjonsutøving. Sjukepleiar-lærar-sosialarbeidar. Oslo, Abstrakt forlag AS Hovdenak, S. S. (2014): Pedagogikk som fag i en profesjonell lærerutdanning. I: E. Elstad & K. Helstad (red.): Profesjonsutvikling i skolen. Oslo, Universitetsforlaget. Hovdenak, S. S., & Wiese, E. (2017): Fronesis: veien til profesjonell lærerutdanning?. Uniped, 40(02), 170-184. Klafki, W. (1959/1996): Kategorial dannelse. Bidrag til en dannelsesteoretisk fortolkning av moderne didaktikk. I. Dale, E. L. (red.): Skolens undervisning og barnets utvikling. Oslo: Ad Notam Gyldendal. Kunnskapsdepartementet (2010a): Nasjonale retningslinjer for grunnskolelærerutdanningen 1- 7 trinn og 5 - 10 trinn. Oslo, Kunnskapsdepartementet Kunnskapsdepartementet (2010). Forskrift om rammeplan for grunnskolelærerutdanningene for 1.–7. trinn og 5.–10. trinn, vedtatt 01. mars 2010. http://www.regjeringen.no/nb/dep/kd/dok/rundskriv/2010/Rundskriv-F-05-10-Forskrifter-om-ny-grunnskolelarerutdanning.html?id=598615 Parker, A., & Tritter, J. (2006): Focus group method and methodology: current practice and recent debate. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 29(1), 23-37. Raaen, F. D. (2010): Dannelsens vilkår i lærerutdanningen. I: M, Brekke (red.): Dannelse i skole og lærerutdanning. Oslo, Universitetsforlaget Smeby, J-C. (2008): Profesjon og utdanning. I: A. Molander og L.I. Terum (red.): Profesjonsstudier. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget Stewart, D. W., & Shamdasani, P. N. (2014): Focus groups: Theory and practice. Sage, Newbury Park, CA, USA Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998): Basics of qualitative research. California, Thousand Oaks.
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