The Professional Path to Become a Teacher Educator: The Experience of Chilean Teacher Educators

Nov. 01, 2016

Source: Professional Development in Education, Vol. 42, No. 4, 527–546, 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study was to understand the process through which a teacher becomes a teacher educator, considering all of the associated variables both personal and professional.

The participants were teacher educators from four pre-service teacher education programs in Chile.
Data were collected through a Demographic Questionnaire and semi-structured in-depth interviews.

Discussion and conclusion

The results show that teacher educators on the whole will accept an invitation to work within a teacher education program given the opportunity.
Moreover, this invitation is likely to be associated with their expertise aligned with their skills and abilities for teaching. The author argues that since the professional path to academia in Chile is non-regulated, the country must design properly regulated mechanisms of entry into Chilean teacher education programs. These mechanisms of entry will clearly define the profile and the tasks associated with the role of teaching future teachers.

In addition, the majority of the participants indicated that they did not receive any kind of support with respect to their professional induction, especially during their early years as teacher educators. Hence, the author suggests that there the support mechanism needed in one’s transition to a different workplace and helps in the development of new professional practices related to teaching, research and supervision.

Additionally, the findings suggest that the teacher educator’s approach to teaching will be different especially if the teacher educator works simultaneously in a school and in a teacher education program. Hence, teacher educators who work both in a school and teacher education programs teach based on their practical experience as a school teacher.

Further, the author argues that teacher education programs prioritize teaching rather than research. Therefore, she suggests that improvements in early teacher education require the development of strong research skills.

Lastly, the author claims that it was not possible to clearly identify the moment in which the teacher made the decision to become a teacher educator. She says that the relevancy of this point becomes clearer when it is understood that the process to become a teacher educator involves not only changes in self-identity, but also changes in the professional knowledge and teaching approach developed. Hence, this change becomes easier as the new role becomes clearer when beginner teacher educators reflect their own beliefs and values on what it means to become a teacher educator.

Suggestions for practice

The author recommends on designing clear policies on the topic of the path to teacher education within teacher education programs. She also suggests that it is important to design new policies and strategies that support the teacher educators’ professional learning and induction.

Updated: Nov. 16, 2017