Preach What You Teach! Teacher Educators and Congruent Teaching

Nov. 20, 2008

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 14, Nos. 5–6, October–December 2008, 531–542
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

Teacher educators seem to agree that, to be able to support their student teachers’ learning, they themselves should be good models of the kind of teaching they are trying to promote. However, it is clear from the literature that this congruent teaching is not self-evident in teacher education. In this paper, the authors describe a small in-depth study, in which they attempted to establish whether teacher educators begin to teach more congruently when supported, and the factors influencing the occurrence or nonoccurrence of such congruent teaching. To do so, the authors organized a workshop on the subject.

The authors examined the practice of three teacher educators. The questions they wanted to answer were: (1) Do teacher educators begin to teach more congruently once supported by our stimulated recall interviews and a workshop?
(2) What factors influence the occurrence or non-occurrence of congruent teaching?


The educators who took part in the study are employed by the same teacher education institute. It offered its staff members an opportunity to participate in the study as a part of their professional development. Frank, Simon and Harry were three of the staff members taking advantage of that opportunity.

Frank is 49. He studied physics, and started his career as a secondary school science teacher. For the last ten years, he has been a teacher educator. In addition to teaching science, he coaches student teachers during their school practicum periods, and is involved in international projects and distance learning.

Simon is 51. He started his career as a primary school teacher and remedial teacher. After graduating in business studies, he taught at a secondary school. He has been a teacher educator for the past two years. He teaches business studies and coaches student teachers during their professional training and school practicums.

Harry is 57. He started his career as a primary school teacher while still at university, majoring in educational studies. He has been a teacher educator for 27 years. He teaches educational theory, supervises student teachers during their school practicums, and is involved in several projects related to special needs education.

Before and after the workshop, they interviewed the participating teacher educators, using videotapes of their lessons. To discover the possible contribution of the workshop to their congruent teaching, the authors later compared both interviews. They found that a particularly important aspect of congruent teaching, i.e. the teacher educators’ ability to link their own teaching to theory, had improved. Their conclusion is that the acquisition of a language enabling them to talk about congruent teaching helps teacher educators to overcome problems with congruent teaching.

Updated: Feb. 17, 2009