Category Archives: TEPE

#TEPE2016 – Theme 2, Teachers in schools as learning organisations in Europe and from a global perspective

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Parallel session 4A held on Saturday 21st May at #TEPE2016, University of Malta.

  1. Education and the future: Developing sustainable leadership in schools by international exchange and collaboration. Marco Snoek (Hogeschool van Amersterdam, Netherlands) and Eve Eisenschmidt (Tallinn University, Estonia)
  2. Being a teacher. Charlot Cassar (Pestalozzi Programme, Council of Europe)
  3. Global education and intercultural awareness in eTwinning. Rose-Anne Camilleri (Ministry for Education and Employment, Malta)

Maria Assunção Flores. University of Minho, on ‘Integrating research, theory and practice in teacher education: new contexts, new challenges’

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Maria Assunção Flores. University of Minho, on ‘Integrating research, theory and practice in teacher education: new contexts, new challenges.

Teacher education has been subject to a long and sometimes controversial debate, most of the time associated with its curriculum, its rationale and key components, and with its impact on the professional learning of pre-service teachers. A systemic view is needed in order to fully understand teacher education rationale, curriculum and goals, encompassing, amongst others, the nature and goals of school curriculum itself, the conception of the teacher as a professional and its role in curriculum development, teachers’ professional status and issues of recruitment, selection and retention, the view of education or training that is advocated, the political, economic, social and cultural context in which it is embedded – clearly a complex and highly inter-related set of issues and ideas. In this talk I will look at three key components of the curriculum of teacher education that, although controversial, have been discussed internationally as key elements in fostering the quality of teacher education.

A redefinition of university and school roles with a growing emphasis on strong, coherent and supportive partnerships is clearly at the heart of challenging the binary of theory and practice through a research-based design. As such combining teaching and research and promoting teacher practice as a space of transformation rather that a process of adaptation or of application of theory may well represent a move forward towards a more consistent, coherent and solid practicum along with explicit connections with the other teacher education curriculum components.

Teacher education needs therefore to focus on what it means to be a teacher if it is to be seen as seriously seeking to make a difference through the lens of teachers as professionals with teacher education as a space of transformation.

Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University, on ‘Global perspectives on teacher education’

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Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University, on ‘Global perspectives on teacher education’.

Education systems around the world are responding to increasing demands as societies deal with the rapid explosion of knowledge, changing economies, and growing migration. To meet these expectations, teachers need to know content deeply along with pedagogies for deeper understanding and master increasingly sophisticated practices for teaching higher order skills to diverse students. This presentation describes research on the kind of teacher education that can prepare teachers effectively for these challenges, including knowledge about learning, development, assessment, language, and cultural competency, and strategies for supporting teacher learning in coursework and clinical contexts.

Professor Kenneth Wain, University of Malta, on ‘Teacher education policies and the end of theory’

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Professor Kenneth Wain, University of Malta, on ‘Teacher education policies and the end of theory’.

The progression from teacher training to teacher education was inspired and justified in many countries in the middle of the twentieth century by the incorporation into the training of teachers of a newly proclaimed area of expertise called educational theory, which included the evolving disciplines comprising the philosophy, sociology, psychology and history of education, to replace the ‘Principles of Education’ offered by training colleges. The fact that the introduction of these academic disciplines, of ‘theory’, was what justified preparing teachers in universities where they would be educated into a profession rather than in training colleges where they were just trained into a vocation is often missed or forgotten today. While the new awareness of the importance of theory to practice did not signify diminishing the importance of training, the move sparked a debate about the relative importance of theory and practice and about the proper relationship between them in teacher education that has endured with time with a theory-to-practice model ascendant in the beginning only to suffer a reversal of fortune inlayer years, in the 1980s, when it was supplanted by a practice-to-theory model, and an even further reversal in more recent times to the extent that in many teacher education jurisdictions today ‘theory’ has been rendered redundant and often totally abandoned. A move which has, in reality, signified a return to teacher training conducted nearly entirely by and in schools. It has also signified the replacement of the professionally educated teacher with a technicist concept of the teacher as what teacher ‘education’ is about; one that conceives of practice as technique  performed through a baggage of skills or competences. This paper looks critically at these developments, particularly at the de facto abandonment of ‘education’ encouraged also by the policy language of lifelong learning within which the current debate about teacher-education has evolved.