Discussing Pedagogical Dilemmas with Teacher Educators: Facilitating their Professional Development

Mar. 10, 2010

Source: Professional Development in Education, Volume 36, Issue 1 & 2
(March 2010), p. 93-109.

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The article describes action research that followed the professional development process of teacher educators engaged in the role of workshop mentors.
The study explores a possible method of facilitating and enhancing the professional development of teacher educators, by promoting professional insights through the discussion about pedagogical dilemmas.


The leading paradigm of this research was a qualitative-constructivist approach that perceived the researcher as the main research instrument. For teacher educators who are also mentors, this study led the authors to become simultaneously a part of the situation in the group meetings as well as spectators.

Research Questions
The authors started the action research with two general research questions:
Which dilemmas appeared most often in our discussions?
What can we learn from the leading themes of those dilemmas?

Data were gathered from three different sources:
- Sixteen in-depth interviews, carried out individually in the form of a discussion, about critical events and central dilemmas of the NQTs' workshops.

- Ten full-text records from the mentors' meetings documented over two years of mentoring (2005-2007).
- Twenty-five summating reports written by the same teacher educators at the end of each year.

The participants were 16 teacher educators, each of whom mentored 15-20 NQTs in their induction year.


During the two years of their study the authors documented 18 main pedagogical dilemmas, that is, problems with two or more possible solutions. After looking at several problems, the authors discovered that one option was always specific and the other was more general. These insights served them, the group of teacher educators in the role of workshop mentors, as an instructive tool for improving our work.

The authors conclude and point towards one of the principal implications of this study: discussing pedagogical dilemmas can serve as an instructive tool for improving teacher educators' work and their reflections about it.

Updated: Mar. 21, 2010