This article was published in Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 26, Issue 8,
Author(s): Katrien Struyven, and Marijke De Meyst, " Competence-Based Teacher Education: Illusion or Reality? An Assessment of the Implementation Status in Flanders from Teachers’ and Students’ Points of View", Pages 1495-1510, Copyright Elsevier (November 2010).
Since 1998, the Flanders’ educational government in Belgium has been urging teacher education institutions by decree to implement competences in teacher training programs.
This study examines whether teacher education institutions in Flanders have succeeded to implement competences in teacher education programs.
An online survey inquiry was set up in eight elementary teacher education institutions using two questionnaires. 218 pre-service teachers in their final year at elementary institution answered one questionnaire; These pre-service teachers were about to graduate at the time of completing the questionnaire. The other questionnaire was for 51 teacher trainers throughout the elementary teacher training program.
Ten years after the decree was issued, findings reveal that some competences are clearly present in the institutions’ policies and practices, such as teacher as guide to learning and development, teacher as subject expert. However, other competences are poorly represented such as teacher as partner of parents, external parties and as a member of the educational community.
Moreover, teacher trainers tend to take four different approaches to the implementation of competences
(1) during internship,
(2) through the institution’s policy and program planning,
(3) by means of their integration in both theoretical and practical components of the curriculum and
(4) a lack of implementation because the competences are considered insufficiently applicable by the teacher trainers.
In particular, more experienced and subject expert teacher trainers tend to adopt the final approach more often than do younger colleagues and pedagogues.
Student teachers’ results, on the other hand, suggest important differences between institutions concerning their understanding of competences and the integration of these competences in the curriculum.
This finding suggests that there are different paces of adaptation between teacher education institutions.
Moreover, even within schools, the trajectory towards implementation is not always clear for all members of the teaching team, nor for the students of most teacher education institutions.