Riding on a Speeding Train? How Teacher Educators Perceive Teacher Education

Nov. 01, 2010

Source: Teacher Development, Vol. 14, No. 4, November 2010, 427–445.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this article is to examine how teacher educators in Israel perceive current practices in teacher education.

Research Questions
The authors focused in particular on the following questions:
(1) How do teacher educators assess the field of teacher education?
(2) What do they consider to be the basic components of teacher education?
(3) What do they think about teacher education in the institution where they work?
(4) What is their metaphorical viewpoint of teacher education?

The authors designed a questionnaire to determine what teacher educators consider the basic components of teacher education and what they think about teacher education as practiced in their teaching institutions. The authors also asked them to provide metaphors that describe teacher education.

The participants were seventy-five teacher educators from eight different teacher education colleges in Israel, all of whom were participating in intercollegial study programs open to teacher educators from all disciplines.
The participants included mathematics and computer teacher educators, teacher educators who specialized in education, teacher educators who specialized in the humanities, and language teachers.

Discussion and Conclusions

Based on the findings, the authors claim that teacher educators in Israel generally believe in the importance of teacher education.
In fact, teacher educators attribute a great deal of importance to teacher education. They see its role as the development of nurturing and caring teachers who are also reflective-adaptive professionals.

The metaphors used by the teacher educators are rooted primarily in everyday life.
The participants provide metaphors from the concrete world: nature, professions, places, arts and sports. The concrete world helps express what seems to be difficult to convey overtly. It also reinforces what has already been expressed by offering a vivid image of abstract ideas.

The findings of this study indicate that teacher educators believe teacher education in the country and at their colleges is at a high level. These findings are compatible with the growth and development expressed in their metaphors and with the view that Israel has invested a great deal in this field.

In conclusion, teacher educators explicitly express their knowledge of existing models in teacher education. They aspire to the moral-agent professional model, perceiving a discrepancy between what exists and what is desired.

The metaphorical level reveals tension between what exists and what is desired, representing a more pessimistic view. This pessimism emerges in a view of teacher education as unstable and fossilized and as hard and frustrating work.

Updated: Jun. 19, 2012