NW 10: The Diversity of ‘Evidence-Relations’ in Teacher Education, Politics and Research

NW 10 Teacher Education Research

The Diversity of ‘Evidence-Relations’ in Teacher Education, Politics and Research

The relationship between theory and practice in teacher education is a long-standing topic and has become a source of contentious debate in educational research. The relationship between the role of ‘evidence’ in teaching and teacher education policy and pedagogy sits within this wider debate. At the centre of this are diverse and multiple conceptualisations, both in terminology and relations, the implications of which can be seen in the misunderstandings present in research communications. We invite you to discuss the many variations and constellations of ‘evidence-relations’ in teacher education, analytically, theoretically, and empirically through current work.

The Call
Knowledge politics of the current evidence-based and global standardisation agenda form norms and standards in teacher education in Europe (EC 2007). These global policy trends shape expectations for student teachers' production, consumption and use of evidence. Helgetun and Menter (2022) paraphrase the dominance of the use of 'evidence' as a central rationalized myth. After a phase of surveying, they have been registering an evidence era since 2010.

Firstly, 'evidence' cannot only be understood as a term that states a scientific test and evaluation procedure. As a 'floating signifier' (Krejsler, 2017), it is given different meanings depending on the academic culture, for example, the focus may be more on the effect of an approach. By mobilizing knowledge in the other social fields, it joins concepts, constructions and efforts to address the research-practice gap (Cooper, Levin, & Campbell, 2009).

Secondly, the idea of the 'teacher-as-researcher' can be connected to this in several ways. On the one hand, social, scientific but also political norms and demands can be used via a didactic embedding in the sense of inquiry-based learning, practitioner enquiry, etc (Spronken-Smith & Walker, 2010). On the other hand, those very understandings of scientific experimentation and practical distancing can be seen in concepts of the teacher-as-researcher and the idea of professionalism (Guha 2021; Hammersley 1993), which can lead to the de-mystification of evidence production. Thirdly, the way scientific knowledge is communicated as 'evidence' can be subject to procedures of selective representation and pedagogisation of science. The relationship of 'evidence' in teacher education is not to be considered unilaterally, but in its interplay of claim, mediation and implementation between different actors (teacher educators, student teachers, research objects, university-school-cooperation, etc.) (Diery, Kognler & Seidel 2021).

Against this background, this special call is for papers and symposia, which address at least one of the following

  • political, educational research and didactic concepts are of interest, which describe 'evidence' in relation to teacher education.
  • demarcations and relations of theory and praxis, of science and pedagogy, of knowledge and practices but also politics are important aspects to ‘evidence’ creation and transmitting.
  • methodological challenges in collaborative teacher education research, when it comes to ‘evidence’ production and dissemination.
  • analysis of addressing and subjectification in concrete teaching and the integration of 'scientific knowledge' or 'evidence' are just as important as their connection with questions of the political and theoretical foundation of research and knowledge in and through teacher education
  • emerging instances of evidence brokerage beyond the university, such as brokerage agencies or enquiry hubs, which have an impact on student teachers and their practices are of increasing importance.
  • literature reviews on the wording or usage of ‘evidence’ in and through teacher education helps to pause and recreate orientation in quantity of research literature.

These and more analysis are conceivable.

Contact Person(s)
Susann Hofbauer Hofbauer(at)hsu-hh.de
Anna Beck anna.beck(at)strath.ac.uk

Cooper, A., & Levin, B., & Campbell, C. (2009). The Growing (But Still Limited) Importance of Evidence in Education Policy and Practice. Journal of Educational Change. 10. 159-171.

Diery, A., Knogler, M. & Seidel, T. (2021). Supporting evidence-based practice through teacher education: A profile analysis of teacher educators’ perceived challenges and possible solutions. International Journal of Educational Research Open. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedro.2021.100056.
European Commission (2007). Improving the quality of teacher education
Brussels, Belgium : https://ec.europa.eu/education/com392_en.pdf

Guha, S. (2021). Teacher as Researcher. Becoming Familiar with Educational Research to Connect Theory to Practice. Rowman & Littlefield

Helgetun, J .B., & Menter, I. (2022). From an age of measurement to an evidence era? Policy-making in teacher education in England, Journal of Education Policy, 37(1), 88-105.

Krejsler J.B. (2017). Capturing the ‘Evidence’ and ‘What Works’ Agenda in Education: A Truth Regime and the Art of Manoeuvring Floating Signifiers. In M. Eryaman, & B. Schneider (eds), Evidence and Public Good in Educational Policy, Research and Practice. Educational Governance Research, vol 6. Cham: Springer. pp 21–41Martyn Hammersley (1993) On the Teacher as Researcher, Educational Action Research, 1:3, 425-445, DOI: 10.1080/0965079930010308

Spronken‐Smith, R., & Walker, R. (2010). Can inquiry‐based learning strengthen the links between teaching and disciplinary research? Studies in Higher Education, 35(6), 723-740. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070903315502

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Interview with Link Convenor 2019