Source: Professional Development in Education, Vol. 36, Nos. 1–2, March–June 2010, p. 45–60. (Reviewed by the Portal Team)
In the authors’ view, there are four partners in the teacher education profession: the student-teachers, the body of knowledge, the teacher education institutions and the teacher educators. In this partnership, every partner plays an essential role in building the profession. This study focuses on the fourth partner in the process of educating new teachers: the teacher educator.
The main argument posits that since the teacher educator plays a key role in the foundation of the teacher education profession, he/she must be an expert in the field.
In this article, the authors describe an empirical research project based on a unique model for the professional development of teacher educators. The model is a one-year programme for novice teacher educators. The programme was held at The MOFET Institute one day a week (112 hours) during the participants’ first year or second year as teacher educators.
The participants were 11 novice teacher educators who completed the feedback questionnaire in its entirety.
There were two research questions:
What characterised the graduates’ feedback?
Which elements of the programme contributed the most to their professional development as teacher educators?
In this study, the author revealed several key points that may enhance the discussion regarding the ways to become a professional in the field of teaching to teach. The findings highlight the contribution of a community of colleagues that operated while its members were working as teacher educators who sought to become professionals.
Studying the advantages and outcomes of a unique model of learning while working contributes to the definition of the channels required for the teacher educator’s effective induction and skilled specialisation. The examination of the benefits and results revealed three main domains: building the professional self; being a member of a community of professionals; and improving the teacher educator’s professional practical skills. The fact that these three domains were shaped during the first year or second year on the job caused the participants to talk, think and function as professionals.
Furthermore, the participants considered the programme to be a significant process in their onthe-job training. Learning while working afforded them opportunities to integrate outcomes from work into the programme, and vice versa.
The data that were collected reflected several important components of the training programme that it is imperative to maintain: the collegial support group; a professional coach who guides the participants throughout the year; and the opportunity to work with colleagues towards developing and grounding the profession.
The findings are corroborated when Association of Teacher Educators standards (2009)—which are regarded as milestones along the path to professionalism—are applied to them. Unique induction by means of learning with colleagues and guidance by expert teacher educators can be an applicable model for professional development in teacher education.