01 SES 14 B, Current Developments and Trends in Teachers’ Professional Development, Policies and Practices in England, Sweden and the Netherlands
The Swedish case of professional development focuses on the academisation of the teaching profession. Current Swedish policy claims that all education should ‘rest on scientific ground and proven experience’ ,which has resulted in increased academic demands on teachers. Via university integration in the late 1970s, teacher education programmes in Sweden, constituted as vocational programmes, became part of the academic higher education sector. However, the development was slow, and not until the early 2000s did TE receive its own postgraduate programmes and research structures. These new policies about academisation imply that teachers should possess profound academic knowledge. This is especially problematic for teachers who have a teaching degree from the time when teacher education programmes were primarily vocational, where practical teacher knowledge was prioritized at the expense of academic knowledge. Therefore, it is of special interest to study how experienced teachers tackle the new demands. Hamza et al. (2018) argue that this gap in theory/practice and teacher/researcher can be bridged and reduced if research and teaching are regarded as two equal practices that meet each other. The specific aim of our study is to analyse 14 reports written by researching teachers enrolled in a master programme in order to investigate how they perceive, interpret and value teacher knowledge and academic knowledge in their own research. The conceptual framework comprises theories concerning academic literacies (cf. Ivanic, 1998) and knowledge structures (Bernstein, 2000). The researching teachers’ contextual knowledge both benefitted and challenged academic knowledge, and vice versa. The teacher knowledge enriched the understanding of practice, but it could also be difficult to step out of the teaching experience and critically consider their own practice. Through research (both theory and method), they understand teaching practice with the ambition to improve practice. Accordingly, the contextual knowledge of the teachers’ research cannot be underestimated since it deepens the understanding of a research phenomenon. It is important that reciprocity exists between teacher knowledge and academic knowledge and there is an openness to learn from both knowledge domains, especially vital in teachers’ research into their own practice, potentially reducing the gap between these two practices. The researching teachers’ research, materialised in the academic writing in their reports, represent an empowering oscillation between using teacher knowledge and academic knowledge, resulting in reducing the gap between practice and theory.
Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity: Theory, Research, critique. [Rev. ed.] London: Taylor and Francis. Ivanič, R. (1998). Writing and Identity: the discoursal construction of identity in academic writing. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Hamza. K, Palm, O., Palmqvist, J., Piqueras, J., & Wickman, P-O. (2018). Hybridization of practices in teacher–researcher collaboration. European Educational Research Journal, 17(1), 170–186.
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