10 SES 13 B, Research on Programmes and Pedagogical Approaches in Teacher Education
This paper examines how the curriculum of initial teacher education can balance the demands of acquiring ‘efficiency’ and ‘adaptive expertise’ (Berliner 2001; Hammerness et al. 2005). Building from the argument that learning to teach involves not only the development of craft knowledge and technical expertise, but also a growing capacity to engage in ‘clinical reasoning’ (Kriewaldt & Turnidge, 2013), the paper draws on research into the curricular assumptions underpinning different routes into teaching to explore the question of when and how beginning teachers should be encouraged to ask critical questions of the suggestions for practice offered to them.
The paper takes as its starting point the ‘dimensions of teacher effectiveness and teachers’ professional identity’ elaborated by the Inquiry into the Role of Research in Teacher Education Project (BERA-RSA, 2014). ‘Research literacy’ is identified – alongside ‘subject and pedagogical knowledge’ and ‘practical experience’ – as a core component within the conception of ‘teacher as professional’. Some university-school teacher education partnerships have sought to develop these components through a commitment to ‘research-informed clinical practice’ (Burn and Mutton, 2015), in which the process of ‘practical theorising’ has been seen to play an essential role. According to McIntyre (1995), who also drew on earlier work by Alexander (1984) to challenge existing theory-into-practice and apprenticeship models, ‘practical theorising’ is an active process, that involves critical testing of ideas from different sources; not the simple importation either of an accepted body of knowledge or of a repertoire of prescribed practices. It is a process in which beginning teachers need to learn to engage during the course of their training precisely because they do not yet have sufficient experience from which to learn through mere ‘reflective practice’.
As the provision of alternative, employment-based, routes into teaching has expanded, particularly in England and in the United States (Tatto et al. 2018) and as concerns about teacher workload and retention have intensified (Foster, 2018), so the appropriateness of asking beginning teachers to engage in ‘practical theorising’ has een called into question. Should the process of practical theorising actually be left until well after a period of initial teacher education, in the interests of providing a more straightforward induction into the profession and boosting new teachers’ confidence and sense of well-being?
In response, it could be argued that calls (such as that made by BERA-RSA, 2014) for research-literate teachers and research-informed practice would seem to necessitate critical engagement with research as part of any initial teacher education programme, but the very fact that many schools are now engaging more regularly with research (Stoll and Brown, 2015) provides a different kind of challenge to McIntyre’s claim that teachers need to be inducted into such a challenging process even before they have qualified. If schools are already engaging very effectively in and with research as a means of professional development, what need is there for universities to make a distinctive contribution to teacher education through the provision of research-based suggestions for practice?
The paper draws on three research studies conducted during a period of rapid diversification in teacher education policy and practice. While two are concerned with initial teacher education, the third – a study of research-use in schools – illuminates some current practices into which beginners are being socialized, provoking a re-examination of long-held assumptions about the most effective ways of introducing beginners to the complex demands of teaching increasingly diverse school populations in times of change. The first study (Tatto et al. 2018) – a comparative exploration of learning to teach in England and the U.S. conducted over two academic years – included video-recordings, lesson-plans, interviews and questionnaires from seventeen prospective secondary teachers on different routes, along with programme documentation and interviews with faculty and school personnel. The second (Mutton, Burn, Hagger & Thirlwall, 2018) used interviews with 12 teacher educators and programme documentation (conducted during the academic year 2016-17) to examine approaches adopted in a single ‘teaching school’ in England that was operating within two different programmes: a traditional university-school partnership and a new school-based route. The third, a study of research use in schools (conducted in 2017) was based on 32 interviews with teachers at different career stages in four case-study schools.
While there are compelling reasons for seeking to reduce the complexity faced by beginning teachers (particularly given the challenges of attracting new entrants to work with the most under-served young people), approaches that prioritise ‘efficiency’ over the capacity to problematise and innovate appear to be counter-productive in the longer term. Given the speed with which alternative routes into teaching have proliferated within England and the United States, it is important both to acknowledge and build on the positive features and valuable insights that new models can offer as well as identifying and seeking to address the negative consequences that they may have for both aspiring professionals and the young people whom they seek to serve.
Alexander, R. (1984) Primary Teaching. London: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Berliner D.C. (2001) Learning about and learning from expert teachers. International Journal of Educational Research 35(5): 463-482. BERA-RSA (2014) Research and the Teaching Profession: Building the Capacity for a Self-Improving Education System, BERA. Retrieved from www.bera.ac.uk/project/research-and-teacher-education Foster, D. (2018) Teacher recruitment and retention in England, Briefing Paper No. Number 7222. House of Commons Library. Retrieved from dera.ioe.ac.uk/31729/1/CBP-7222..pdf Hammerness K, Darling-Hammond, L., Bransford J. et al. (2005) How teachers learn and develop. In Darling-Hammond, L. and Bransford, J. (Eds.) Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p.358-389. Kriewaldt, J. and Turnidge, D. (2013) Conceptualising an approach to clinical reasoning in the education profession. Australian Journal of Teacher Education 38(6): 103-115. McIntyre, D. (1995) Initial teacher education as practical theorising: a response to Paul Hirst. British Journal of Educational Studies 43(4): 365-383. Mutton. T., Burn, K., Hagger, H. and Thirlwall, K. (2018) Teacher Education Partnerships: policy and practice. Northwich: Critical Publishing. Stoll, L. and Brown, C. (2015) Middle leaders as catalysts for evidence-informed change, in C. Brown (Ed), Leading the use of Research & Evidence in schools London, IOE Press, pp. 66-77. Tatto, M.T., Burn, K., Menter, I., Mutton, T. & Thompson, I. (2018) Learning to Teach in England and the United States: The Evolution of Policy and Practice, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
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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