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Institutional conceptualisations of teacher education as academic work: Do we know what we are looking for? Viv Ellis & Jane McNicholl University of Oxford.

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Presentation on theme: "Institutional conceptualisations of teacher education as academic work: Do we know what we are looking for? Viv Ellis & Jane McNicholl University of Oxford."— Presentation transcript:

1 Institutional conceptualisations of teacher education as academic work: Do we know what we are looking for? Viv Ellis & Jane McNicholl University of Oxford

2 Who do we think we are? What do we think we are doing? What’s it all about, Alfie?

3 The Work of Teacher Education What do HEI-based teacher educators do? What are the practical activities that constitute their field of work? How do HEIs understand, frame and position this work within institutions?

4 Background ESRC Demographic Review 2006 (Mills et al): 50% of Education staff over 50; smallest proportion under 34; 66% not regarded as ‘research active’ in 2001 RAE; ‘there exists no clear academic career structure’; RAE 2008: 27% FTE entered (404 fewer than 2001); 30% of submissions represented the work of <10 staff; 70% represented the work of <20.

5 Background Difficult transitions between school and HEIs – stressful and challenging – lack of guidance and induction (cf. Murray) The ‘lowly position’ of Education departments in HEIs – ‘closeness to practice’ as a problem (cf. Labaree) The ‘at risk’ professional education discipline

6 Background The distribution of ITE work in English HEIs Secondary ITE: 57.3% post-1992 univ/37.5% pre-1992 univ Primary ITE 77.5% post-1992 univ/16.6% pre-1992 univ (TDA 2009)

7 Phase 1: Institutional conceptualisations of teacher education as academic work Research questions: 1.How is the work of teacher education conceptualised in the job advertisement and further particulars texts of a sample of vacancies? 2.How do heads of education departments talk about the work of teacher education?

8 Phase 1: Generating data Collection of job adverts and further particulars during two periods in 2008 and 2009 (n = 111) Telephone interviews with sample of advertising HoDs (n = 8)

9 Phase 1: Data sets Senior Lecturer Education York St John University - Faculty of Education & TheologyRef No: ET/CPD/AC07R/W £35,646 - £45,155 pa The Faculty of Education & Theology is looking to appoint a Senior Lecturer to complement the work of …. 12 Nov 2010 111 job advertisements and fp texts from 42 HEIs (30 post-1992; 12 pre-1992) – 62 (56%) full-time (40 of these in post-1992) – 49 (37%) part-time (42 in post-1992) – most frequent category of vacancy was generalist primary and secondary mathematics (both 11 – 10%)

10 Phase 1: Data sets Eight senior colleagues in HEIs across England who advertised vacancies (6 HoDs; 1 associate HoD; 1 head of ITE) – 4 post-1992 univ (3 entered for RAE; 2 >1.95) – 4 pre-1992 univ (4 entered for RAE; all >1.95)

11 Phase 1: Analysis of texts and talk 1. Corpus strategies: 1.word frequencies and key words in contexts 2.tagging word classes 2. Membership categorisation analysis (MCA) 1.Categories emerging in the discourse 2.Attributions to these categories (e.g. through verbs and adjectivies) 3.How substantiated (e.g. through personal narratives or policy discourses) 4.What conceptualisations do these categories and attributions permit? 3. Genre analysis 1.Job descriptions as recognisably similar categories of texts 2.Genres as social and historically-evolving cultural tools

12 PHASE 2: WoTE Project Aims 1. To build on existing research into the discursive construction of teacher education as work by extending to the Scottish context and developing the methodology; 2. To conduct an in-depth investigation of the practical activities and the material conditions of the work of a small sample of teacher educators in Scotland and England; 3. To make some cross-cultural comparisons that might reveal the historical evolution of the different teacher education systems and their developmental potentials.

13 Research Strategy and Timeline April – August 2010 Discourse analysis of a set of advertisements and job descriptions for university-based teacher educators in Scotland for comparison with an English sample from Phase 1. Telephone interviews with Scottish Heads of Education Departments May 2010Telephone interviews with each participant at the outset to elicit daily activities and to reveal conceptualisations of their work. May & October 2010 Participants complete a work diary for one week at two different stages of the academic year. May - October 2010 Each participant generates data by uploading visual images, sound files and written text or representations of material artifacts onto on-line research tool (Workofteachereducation.org). October - November2010 Work-shadowing of each participant for a day and face-to-face interviews with each participants at the end of the visit. September - December 2010 Data analysis and researchers’ meetings February 2011Participatory research conferences using elements of DWR and dissemination

14 The sample of teacher educator participants

15 1. Preliminary Interview: aspects of life history 1. Present role: What is your present role and job title? 2. Prior experience: What did you do before coming in to HE? 3. Reasons for coming in to HE: What brought you in to HE /TEd? 4. Perceived differences between teaching and TEd in HE: 5. Changes in the work of Teacher Educators: How has your work changed over the years in TEd? 6. Futures: Where do you see yourself going from here - plans, expectations? 7. Feelings about your work and life history

16 Blogging is hugely self-indulgent. It’s not something I have ever done before but as you will see from the post earlier this evening, over 1000 words, once you start it’s hard to stop. I am wondering who on earth has the time & interest to read what I have written. I hope some of the content is relevant to the research project. By Coodle Published: July 13, 2010. 2. ‘Blogging’: representing the self at work

17 This is my QTS4 classroom set up and ready for my lecture. By Duff Published: July 13, 2010

18 Below there’s a photo of all the presents my PG group gave me at the end of the course! I was overwhelmed; there were only 13 of them in the group. By Coodle Published: July 13, 2010.

19 3. Work diaries: time and type of activity

20 4. Work shadowing: artefacts-in-use

21

22 Second (work-shadowing) interview: perspectives on their practical activities Focusing upon: Participants ITE role Their use of artifacts Their engagement with research and scholarship How research informs their ITE work Preparation provided by previous employment experiences for their ITE work

23 Research Strategy and Timeline April – August 2010 Discourse analysis of a set of advertisements and job descriptions for university-based teacher educators in Scotland for comparison with an English sample from Phase 1. Telephone interviews with Scottish Heads of Education Departments May 2010Telephone interviews with each participant at the outset to elicit daily activities and to reveal conceptualisations of their work. May & October 2010 Participants complete a work diary for one week at two different stages of the academic year. May - October 2010 Each participant generates data by uploading visual images, sound files and written text or representations of material artifacts onto on-line research tool (Workofteachereducation.org). October - November2010 Work-shadowing of each participant for a day and face-to-face interviews with each participants at the end of the visit. September - December 2010 Data analysis and researchers’ meetings February 2011Participatory research conferences using elements of DWR and dissemination

24 Questions: design and methodology

25 Institutional conceptualisations of teacher education as academic work: Do we know what we are looking for?

26 Producing the category of work: texts ‘We are looking for….’ - 46 out of 111 focused on ‘practitioner An experienced and highly skilled practitioner who is passionate about their subject and has an ability to explore ideas and pose questions (new university A) A practitioner with QTS to work on primary ITT (old university G) Lecturer – 3 out of 111

27 Producing the category of work: texts Attributions to the category trainingdelivering an enthusiastic and dedicated person an excellent communicator with a positive approach for this exciting role in our challenging environment

28 Producing the category of work: texts Intra-institutional variations (same large post-1992 Faculty) School of Education 10 bullet points focused around personal qualities, teaching and admin School of Physical Education Paragraphs on teaching, research, admin and ‘wider involvement’ in the university

29 Producing the category of work: texts Position of research in main duties list – 61 out of 111 included research and/or scholarship as a requirement – Varied from 1 st to 22 nd in main duties list Again within-institution differences (same School of Education, post-1992): 1.Lead advanced scholarship and research in the area of primary and or early years mathematics and lead bids for research funding (SL – Primary Maths) 2.A contribution to research … scholarly development (SL – Design & Technology)

30 Producing the category of work: talk Unlike texts (job adverts and fps), sectoral differences were apparent – You have to be both: the teacher educator as a hybrid category (pre-1992) – Quite different to other faculties: the teacher educator as an exception (post-1992)

31 You have to be both: the teacher educator as a hybrid category (pre-1992) … being a really good teacher educator has to be research informed, because ideally you would want the next generation of teachers to be being taught by the leading edge in terms of knowing where the field is going. But they also need to be excellent practitioners. So I think you know you have to be both. […] Because often an excellent practitioner is heavily rooted in their own context and their own experiences. And the one real advantage of being a professional teacher educator, if you could put it like that is that, and a researcher, is that you see things from multiple perspectives … so that you can counterpoint things.

32 Quite different to other faculties: the teacher educator as an exception (post-1992) Interviewer: […] when you made the appointments what was it that you were privileging? Eglinton:We were looking for a particular academic and professional expertise in terms of a specific procurement area. Interviewer: Yeah. Eglinton:Um … we were looking for some middle management to senior experience within their existing organisation in terms of managing staff and in terms of managing curriculum development. Interviewer: Yeah. Eglinton:Um … we were looking for somebody who has got a research potential that might fit into our themed areas in terms of research within the school and within the faculty.

33 Quite different to other faculties: the teacher educator as an exception (post-1992) Um, no I would think we’re probably quite different to most other faculties. Because we um … along with the health faculty we are looking for experienced professionals to join an educational faculty which still has a large core of its business in training initial professionals, whether it’s in teaching or youth and community work or early years work. So um … we are looking for academic qualification as well as professional qualification and experience professionally. That’s quite different to most other faculties.

34 Teacher educator: A difficult and troublesome category Professional/researcher contradiction Lack of coherence in arguing the case

35 Does it matter?


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