10 SES 02 C, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
Background to the topic
There is increasing interest across Europe in the re-conceptualisation of the role of teacher educators and in particular, their developing research identities (Korthagen et al., 2005; Swennen et al., 2010). This paper will present the use of an innovative research methodology, living graphs, to capture and represent the life experiences and professional development of teacher educators in two universities in the UK.
A growing body of research on teacher educators emphasises the complexity of the work and multiple skills needed, but also identifies a range of issues and tensions faced by teacher educators. For example, several researchers (e.g. Harrison and McKeon, 2010; Murray, 2008) have highlighted the dual transition that teacher educators make into university life and lack of induction into new roles. In the UK and several European countries, teacher educators move into universities after teaching in schools, so they have to make the transition from school to university and a further transition from a predominantly teaching role to a wider academic role which includes research. Swennen et al. (2010) identify four main roles or sub-identities which teacher educators adopt: schoolteacher, teacher in higher education, teacher of teachers and researcher. They argue that, in many cases, teacher educators have to transform themselves in order to take on certain identities, especially the researcher role. Such transformations and landmarks undertaken by teacher educators were the focus of this study.
Research questions and objectives
This research builds on an earlier study (Authors, 2010) which investigated the transition of early career teacher educators into higher education and research. The second phase, reported on here, looked at the professional development of mid-career teacher educators using living graphs as a methodological tool. Research questions included:
- What are the key landmarks in teacher educators’ professional and academic development and do these differ over time?
- How effective are living graphs as a methodological tool to illuminate teacher educators’ experiences and development?
The objectives of the study were to analyse and compare the career experiences of teacher educators; in particular, to identify stages of development, landmark events and contextual factors affecting professional learning and academic identities.
The overarching theoretical framework used in the study is socio-cultural learning, in recognition that the specific context in which teacher educators work and their relationships within this are of vital importance in the process of learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Eraut’s (2007) research on contextual and learning factors in the workplace is used to identify key factors affecting teacher educators’ professional learning and any differences between the contexts. Lave and Wenger's (1991) model of legitimate peripheral participation was useful for studying teacher educators' induction and development over time. Narrative analysis was used to examine the teacher educators’ own accounts of these perspectives and themes were identified which related to professional and academic identity and development.
References (authors’ reference removed for reviewing) Akerlind,G. (2008) An academic perspective on research and being a researcher: an integration of the literature. Studies in Higher Education 33(1) 17-31. Bagnoli, A (2009) Beyond the standard interview: the use of graphic elicitation and arts-based methods. Qualitative Research, 9(5) 547-540. Cohen, L., Manion,L. & Morrison,K. (2007) Research methods in education. 6th edition. London: RoutledgeFalmer. Dawson, I. (undated) http://www.thinkinghistory.co.uk/ActivityModel/ActModTimeline.html Accessed on 3.8.11. Deaney,R. & Wilson,E. (2011) Drawing from experience: use of ‘reflection lines’ in stimulated recall interviews. Paper presented at BERA conference, Institute of Education, London, September 6-8. Eraut, M. (2007) Learning from other people in the workplace. Oxford Review of Education 33(4) 403-422. Harrison, J.K. and McKeon, F. (2010) Perceptions of beginning teacher educators of their development in research and scholarship: identifying the ‘turning point’ experiences, Journal of Education of Teachers 36(1) 19-34. Iantaffi, A. (2011) Travelling along ‘rivers of experience’: Personal construct psychology and visual metaphors in research. In P. Reavey (Ed.), Visual psychologies: Using and interpreting images in qualitative research. London: Routledge. Korthagen,F., Loughran,J. & Lunenberg,M. (2005) Teaching teachers: studies into the expertise of teacher educators, Teaching and Teacher Education 21(2) 107-115. Lave,J. & Wenger,E. (1991) Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Maguire, M. (2000) Inside/outside the ivory tower: teacher education in the English academy. Teaching in Higher Education 5(2) 149-165. Murray,J. (2008) Teacher educators’ induction into higher education: work-based learning in the micro communities of teacher education, European Journal of Teacher Education, 31(1) 109–115. Swennen, A., Jones,K. & Volman,M. (2010) Teacher educators, their identities, sub-identities and implications for professional development. Professional Development in Education 36(1-2) 131-148. Yin, R. K. (2002) Case study research: design and methods. 3rd edition. London: Sage.
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