10 SES 01 B, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
The topic of the presented research project – dealing with heterogeneity and plurality in teaching – is at the forefront of the current education discussions in Austria. It is assumed to be a part of the main task of schools as well as essential in teachers’ concrete efforts to do justice to the diversity of their pupils. The project “Competency development of students in teaching degrees, using the example of the ability to differentiate as one of the prerequisites for handling heterogeneous student groups competently” focuses on the transfer and the acquisition of this specific know-how in teacher training. It was being carried out from 2009 to 2012 at the Vienna/Krems University College of Teacher Training.
A core aim of the project was to compare and investigate the changes in the students’ pedagogically directed perception, in their interpretative skills and their appraisal of situations and actions at the beginning and at the end of their studies. The research question focused in particular on exposing and analysing the dimensions of the knowing in a one-off, transient situation during teaching, in which the students’ ability to differentiate comes to bear. The central question of the project is therefore the investigation of the changes that are detected at the beginning and at the end of their studies in the students’ pedagogically directed perception, in their interpretative skills and their understanding of the effects and consequences of a teacher’s actions. In detail we explored at different stages of the students’ studies:
- their ability to recognise relevant differences as such, and to perceive them as relevant differences
- their knowing of options for action in the face of the opportunities and difficulties that arise with heterogeneous groups of learners
- their ability to offer individualised and differentiated learning activities.
The project followed two basic tracks: on one hand the description of actions taken in the classroom by students in teaching degrees through reconstructive methodologies, and on the other hand an explorative study and an analysis of the conceptual and experience-based framework that generates such interpretations. These are widely tacit or quite open and metaphorically articulated what required a mainly qualitative research approach.
We call the understanding of a particular teaching situation and the constructive, practical solution of this pedagogic challenge “the ability to differentiate”. This ability to differentiate is here understood as “[…] first of all primarily in the ability perceived in the individual action of the teacher, which however, gets its motivation from processes of social change” (Schratz, et al. 2007 p.72, my translation). Thus it can be seen as one of a domain of professionalism that determines teaching activity in everyday life (independent of type of school and subject). It represents a skill that defines individual competence on the one hand and the design of system structures on the other.
Mayring, Ph. (2004): Qualitative content analysis. In U. Flick et al. (Eds.), A companion to qualitative research (pp. 266 - 269). London: Sage. Neuweg, G.H. (2004): Figuren der Relationierung von Lehrerwissen und Lehrerkönnen. In: B. Hackl & G.H. Neuweg (eds.): Zur Professionalisierung pädagogischen Handelns. Vienna: Lit Verlag, pp. 1-26. Polanyi, M. (1958): Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy. London: Routledge. Reckwitz, A. (2003): Grundelemente einer Theorie sozialer Praktiken. Zeitschrift für Soziologie 32 (4), pp. 282-301. Schatzki, T./Knorr Cetina, K./Savigny E.v. (ed., 2001): The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. London: Routledge. Schön, D. (1983): The Reflective Practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Schratz, M. et al. (2007): Domänen von Lehrer/innen/professionalität. Journal für LehrerInnenbildung, 7 (2), pp. 70-80. Toom, Auli (2006): Tacit Pedagogical Knowing. At the Core of Teacher’s Professionality. Helsinki: Research Report 276 Wenger, E. (2002): Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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