10 SES 13 E, Early Childhood Teacher Educator Identity and Continuing Professional Learning: Perspectives from Europe and beyond
Teaching Researchers as teacher educators have been recognized as one of the secrets of Shanghai’s success in PISA 2009 and 2012 (Liang, Kidwai and Zhang, 2016). These teacher educators also work as new professional learning leaders, acting as mentors/coaches at the school/center and system/district levels, which has been one of the key lessons and strategies for successful systems (Jensen et al., 2016). However, Shanghai’s story provided a picture of compulsory education. Very few studies have touched similar issues in the early years, especially how China’s universal preschool policy has changed the landscape since 2010. This study explored how district-level teaching researchers repositioned their professional identity as teacher educators in early childhood education in contemporary China. Using purposeful sampling, 20 full-time professionals were recruited from 98 teaching researchers in 17 districts in Beijing Municipality, to join three focus groups. Step by step data analysis (Given, 2008) with open coding, axial coding and thematic coding was carried out to identify patterns related to challenges since the adoption of a universal preschool policy in 2010. Findings show that teaching researchers have identified some key challenges at the district-level: (1) huge internal gaps in kindergartens; (2) low teacher quality and inefficient induction programs; (3) administrative overload; (4) ambiguous professional roles; (5) balancing child-centeredness and content relevance; (6) lack of professional development; and (7) difficulty communicating across different levels. Teaching researchers also sought to reposition their professional identity as leaders, learners, partners and supporters, researchers, and administrators. Brief discussions about policy implications and better training for teacher educators are included.
Cochran-Smith, M. (2005). ‘Teacher educators as researchers: multiple perspectives. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 219–25. European Commission (2013). Supporting teacher educators for better learning outcomes. Brussels: European Commission. Given, L. M. (2008). The SAGE encyclopedia of qualitative research methods (Vols. 1-0). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412963909 Jensen, B.; Sonnemann, J.; Roberts-Hull, K.; & Hunter, A. (2016). Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High-Performing Systems. Washington, DC: National Center on Education and the Economy. Liang, Xiaoyan, Huma Kidwai, and Minxuan Zhang. 2016. How Shanghai Does It: Insights and Lessons from the Highest-Ranking Education System in the World. Directions in Development. Washington, DC: World Bank. doi:10.1596/978-1-4648-0790-9. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO Murray, J. & Male, T. (2005). ‘Becoming a teacher educator: evidence from the field’. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 125–42.
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