Source: Professional Development in Education, Vol. 36, Nos. 1–2, (March 2010), p. 197–209.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This paper draws on an analysis of relevant research and an illustrative case study of one teacher educator’s learning to debate how well-framed practitioner research might give some ways forward in devising appropriate professional learning provision for teacher educators entering Higher Education from work in schools.
One of the starting premises for the writing is that supporting the development of teacher educators as scholars and researchers is an essential part of the professional development of this occupational group. In addition to contributing to the professional learning of individuals, such development is seen as vital for a number of other reasons.
These include ensuring thriving teacher education communities, maintaining research-informed teaching in pre- and inservice courses for teachers and contributing to the building of capacity in the broad field of education research.
The case study focuses on a teacher educator who was in his second year of teaching on a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education course for students intending to teach in elementary schools.
The participant had entered the university approximately 12 months previously, following a successful career in primary school teaching, which culminated in a post as a senior manager of a large school.
Prior to becoming a teacher educator, the participant had taken a master’s degree in education, including a final dissertation. Apart from the work for this dissertation, his experience of any kind of research, including practitioner research, was very limited.
Data collection methods for the study included interviews and analysis of the data in the induction diary to produce the reflective account of personal experience. The data from the interviewees were analysed using basic grounded theory techniques. The study also included a literature review critiquing the literature on new teacher educators and their experiences of induction in England and other anglophone national contexts.
This case study is an example of how a formal learning structure can articulate and extend the informal, work-based and often tacit learning taking place through teacher educators’ everyday work.
In this case, a well-scaffolded and focused research study, with congruence to a larger scale and collaborative project, provided strong starting points for developing knowledge of research in and on teacher education.
The author argues that such a model is not only validated by previous work on good practice in academic induction, but also has the potential to combine ‘research induction’ with relevant learning about work and lived experiences as a teacher educator.