10 SES 16 E, Special Call: Mapping Teacher Education across Europe and Beyond
The education system in Poland is currently undergoing turbulent changes initiated by the right-wing government in 2016 (Act of 14 December 2016). Officially, the essence of this reform is the implementation of electoral promises and the closing gymnasia (lower secondary schools) criticized by politicians. The reform changes the compulsory education system from three levels (6+3+3: primary school, lower secondary school, secondary school or vocational school) to two levels (8+4: primary school, secondary school or vocational school). This reform was not preceded by research and public discussion. It was introduced in spite of protests from teachers and local municipalities, which had to face the reorganization of the school network themselves. The hidden intention of the legislator was to change the curriculum introducing right-wing content of patriotic and nationalist teaching (i. a. the Ministry of National Education, despite court judgments, did not publish the list of people preparing new educational standards and curriculum).
In 2017 only a correction was made to the legal regulations on teacher education, taking into account the closing junior secondary schools. Currently, a profound change in the academic system of teacher training has been announced. Legislative work is in progress but is taking place behind closed doors of the Ministry of National Education. These works are based on two projects of the so-called "Model Teacher Training Programmes," which were prepared within the framework of the project POWR.03.01.00-00-P008/16 (information about this project is no longer available on the Ministry's website). Both programmes refer to the teacher as a reflexive practice, but the teachers themselves were not invited to reflect on their practice. In a short press release on the website, the Ministry informed only about preparatory work on the new standard of teacher education and announced an increase in the level of teacher training and the requirement to complete a 5-year master's degree course.
Currently, academic teacher training is conducted on the basis of the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 17 January 2012 on the standards of education preparing for the teaching profession. It provides for "substantive preparation" in the field of the subject taught (e.g., mathematics) and "pedagogical preparation," including psychological and pedagogical knowledge and didactics. The scope of "substantive preparation" is not specified in detail, except for the indication of the need to complete 1st-degree studies for primary school teachers and 2nd-degree studies for junior secondary school and secondary school teachers. The "Pedagogical preparation" includes a total of 270 hours of classes and 150 hours of practice (a total of 25 ECTS). As a result, teacher training is only an addition to subject-based education. Only teachers of pre-school and early-school education for grades 1-3 attend pedagogical faculties. There is also no information system that would register the real scope of teacher training in Poland. This state of marginalization of academic teacher training has been criticized. The current government is keen to take up this criticism as a justification for the necessary changes in the law.
In order to map the academic system of teacher training, in 2015 we conducted a questionnaire survey (CAWI), to which all universities and faculties offering teacher studies on their websites were invited (Gołębniak & Krzychała, 2015). The invitation to the research was sent on behalf of the Committee of Pedagogical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The universities were not very willing to respond to the invitation to research. In total, we received information from 32 universities. The data concerned the organization of studies for a total of 33 030 candidates to teacher service. The obtained data reflect different ways of organizing teacher education (from the department educating 15 teachers in 2015 to the department training 4830 teachers).
The data from the questionnaire survey allowed us to describe different ways of organizing teacher education, combining it with subject-based studies and school practices. We also analyzed statements concerning problems and barriers in the development of teacher education. I expect that by September 2019 the Ministry will enact and introduce new standards of teacher education. For the purposes of the ECER 2019 conference, I will analyze the proposed solutions and check to what extent they can potentially respond to the already problems of teachers education in Poland. For this purpose, I will use a critical discourse analysis comparing the results of our research, official legal documents and teachers' statements on Internet forums. I am ready to consult with the coordinators of the "Mapping teacher education across Europe and beyond" group on the scope and form of my presentation (and possible subsequent publication).
Gołębniak, B. D., & Krzychała, S. (2015). Akademickie kształcenie nauczycieli w Polsce – raport z badań [Academic teacher training in Poland - research report]. Rocznik Pedagogiczny. (38), 97–112. [Retrieved on 30.01.2019 from:] https://opub.dsw.edu.pl. Najwyższa Izba Kontroli [Supreme Chamber of Control] (2017). Przygotowanie do wykonywania zawodu nauczyciela - raport pokontrolny [Preparation for the teaching profession. Follow-up report].[Retrieved on 30.01.2019 from:] www.nik.gov.pl/kontrole/P/16/021/. Rozporządzenie Ministra Nauki I Szkolnictwa Wyższego z dnia 17 stycznia 2012 r. w sprawie standardów kształcenia przygotowującego do wykonywania zawodu nauczyciela [Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 17 January 2012 on standards of education preparing for the teaching profession]. (Dz.U. z 2012 r. poz. 131), Ustawa z dnia 14 grudnia 2016 r. [Act of 14 December 2016] – Prawo oświatowe[Education Law]. Dz.U. z 2017 r. poz. 59). Ustawa z dnia 14 grudnia 2016 r. [Act of 14 December 2016] – Przepisy wprowadzające ustawę – Prawo oświatowe [Rules implementing the Act - Education Law]. (Dz.U. z 2017 r. poz. 60).
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