Source: Professional Development in Education, Volume 36, Issue 1 & 2
March 2010, pages 357 – 371.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
During the first decade of post-socialist transformation in Eastern Europe, the majority of education reform projects focused on in-service teacher education. Governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations prioritized various in-service teacher education programs to help teachers deal with rapid changes in schools. This has consequently created a gap between school teachers, who had multiple in-service development opportunities, and pre-service teacher educators, who were largely left out of the reform processes.
Using Latvia as a case study, this article examines one of the first efforts to create professional development opportunities for a group of pre-service teacher educators.
Furthermore, this article explains how this short-term project had contributed to re-conceptualizing professional development for the participants involved in the initiative.
This study examines factors that contributed to the longevity of the Project and its transformation into a professional organization.
More specifically, the article discusses how Project experiences, activities and processes contributed to the success and longevity of the group formed by Latvian teacher educators.
The study was based on multiple data sources, including: documentary analysis; a personality test called the Ten-Item Personality Inventory; an open-ended survey; interviews with Project participants and stakeholders; and a follow-up focus group with teacher educators in Latvia.
The article examines the motives behind ongoing, voluntary professional development experiences among pre-service teacher educators; discusses the nature and characteristics of this unique initiative.
Importantly, the findings revealed that one of the factors, which contributed to the emergence of a new culture of professional development, was the concept around which the Project and its participants were organized—cooperative learning.
The findings highlight the importance of ongoing support as education professionals engage in reflection on their teaching/learning practice.
Furthermore, the findings reveal that approaching professional development from an inquiry perspective was key to the creation of the collaborative culture of professional development.
Finally the article contextualizes the theory and practice of professional development of pre-service teacher educators in a post-socialist context.