Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 19, No. 5, 559–574, 2013
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article examined the involvement of in-service teachers in teacher education programs.
Specifically, the author asked: 1. in what ways have in-service teachers been involved in pre-service teacher education, beyond the traditional role of the cooperating teacher? 2. what are in-service teachers’ views on teacher involvement in pre-service teacher education and are they willing to become more involved?
The author addressed the first research question by reviewing the research literature in the field of pre-service teacher education. The research literature provided strong evidence that in-service teachers have been involved beyond the role of the cooperating teacher in some pre-service teacher education programmes. However, the involvement of in-service teachers in pre-service teacher education to this extent is not common in most programmes. The author then, developed a survey, which resulted in 191 respondents, which included middle and high school teachers from a Midwestern state.
The review of the research literature revealed that professional development schools (PDSs) were often vital in developing partnerships between teachers and teacher educators. The partnerships formed in PDSs provide an opportunity to begin collaborative efforts that involve pre-service teachers in the university-based components of pre-service teacher education. The literature provided examples of in-service teachers who had been involved in designing or revising the curriculum of pre-service teacher education programmes, including the design of new undergraduate programmes.
Based on the literature review, there are many potential benefits to increased teacher involvement in pre-service teacher education, including the professionalization of the teaching profession, and, ultimately, better preparing pre-service teachers for the realities of the classroom. Finally, it is important to recognize that PDS partnerships and pre-service teacher education programmes evolve over time. The research must keep pace with the continuously changing climate and trends in teacher education.
The results of the survey indicated that most teachers would consider becoming more involved, if given the opportunity. These results varied by gender, age and subject area.
Additionally, the survey showed that the vast majority of in-service teachers believed that increasing the involvement and input of in-service teachers in pre-service teacher education would be at least somewhat beneficial. These findings have implications for teacher educators who might be interested in expanding the role of in-service teachers in pre-service teacher education.
Teacher involvement encounters obstacles. The time, schedules and resources for teachers and teacher educators often create barriers to collaboration and limit the extent of teacher involvement. Despite these obstacles, the popularity of PDSs, and other collaborative initiatives help teacher educators to form closer relationships with K-12 teachers and administrators. Most university education faculty members highly value the contributions of K-12 partners to pre-service teacher education. Moreover, the findings of this study have demonstrated that teachers are generally willing to respond to the new opportunities to contribute to the preparation of new teachers.