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Tep Vol 31-N3

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Learning to Teach in a Global Society: Between Theory and Experience, Knowledge and Practice

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Editorial

Learning to Teach in a Global Society

Between Theory and Experience, Knowledge and Practice

Patrick M. Jenlink

A central problem in policy-making and professional practice of teachers is the role that experience plays in learning to teach. Experience, all too often weakly conceptualized in both policy and research, simply serves as a proxy for “time,” in terms of weeks, semesters, and years, spent in a school classroom. The discourses of neoliberalism and their impact on teachers’ experiences and practices often malign the important role that university-based teacher preparation has in ensuring that teachers enter school classrooms with the pedagogical and political acumen and theoretical and practical knowledge required for high-quality teaching and learning. Much of current efforts focus “primarily on human capital policies that explicitly target the qualifications and evaluation of the teacher workforce” (Cochran-Smith, Keefe, Chang, & Carney, 2018).

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Reflective Practice in Professional Learning Communities: A Study of Mandarin Pre-service Teachers

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Reflective Practice in Professional Learning Communities

A Study of Mandarin Pre-service Teachers

Ping Liu

Abstract: This study examines the professional development of pre-service teachers in a Mandarin credential program. The focus of discussion is on their reflective practice in professional learning communities. The primary data were collected when the participants took a bilingual methodology course to learn, teach, and reflect on their experiences. Multiple sources of data were collected in a dynamic context to answer the research questions. Results suggest that the participants transitioned into the credential program in many different aspects, from identity, teacher attitude, addressing students’ needs to lesson planning/teaching, classroom management, and professional collaboration. Through reflective practice, the participants learned to make decisions in an instructional context and were active in exploring effective ways to improve learning and teaching independently and in collaboration with others. Educational implications are discussed on how to better support Mandarin teacher candidates in a credential program.

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Student Teachers’ Beliefs about Learning, Teaching, and Teaching Knowledge: A Qualitative Study

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Student Teachers’ Beliefs about Learning, Teaching, and Teaching Knowledge

A Qualitative Study

Leila Ferguson

Ivar Bråten

Abstract: We performed semi-structured focus group interviews with first-year teacher education students, investigating their beliefs about key topics in education: Learning, teaching, and teacher knowledge. Qualitative examination of the interview transcripts showed that the student teachers held beliefs about these core topics, which seemed to be part of an integrated system. We discuss our findings in light of literature on teacher beliefs and present implications for research and teacher education.

Recent research on teacher education has focused on ­identifying teacher behaviors that have a positive influence on student outcomes and ways in which to teach associated knowledge to future teachers
(e.g., Baumert et al., 2010). However, student teachers’ knowledge and ­behavior are influenced by beliefs they hold upon entering teacher education programmes and that they continue to build upon as they process new information and engage with students during their education and ensuing careers (Pajares, 1992).

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Turkish Secondary School Teachers’ Conceptions of Teaching and Assessment

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Turkish Secondary School Teachers’ Conceptions of Teaching and Assessment

Sevda Yerdelen-Damar

ABSTRACT: This study aimed to investigate Turkish secondary school teachers’ beliefs about teaching and the purposes of assessment, and the interrelations among their beliefs. The teachers’ conceptions were compared in terms of their gender, years of experience, and academic areas. The participants of the study consisted of 768 (311 Female, 457 Male) secondary school teachers from various academic disciplines in Turkey. The results of the study revealed that the participants endorsed a constructivist view of teaching more than a traditional view of teaching. They supported improvement and student accountability more than school accountability and irrelevant conceptions. The multivariate analysis of the teachers’ conceptions indicated that there were significant differences across academic disciplines and nonsignificant differences between male and female teachers. The teachers adopting constructivist conceptions tended to believe assessment was for improving students’ learning and accountability. The results of the study also supported the cultural dependency of teachers’ beliefs.

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Rural Education: Working in Elementary Multigrade Classes

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Rural Education

Working in Elementary Multigrade Classes

Ilghiz M. Sinagatullin

ABSTRACT: This chapter briefly examines the contemporary condition of Russia’s rural schools and concentrates on the strategies designed and implemented by rural teachers working in elementary multigrade classes. The author bases his assumptions on his personal observations and the outcome of research conducted by a range of scholars and practicing educators. His reflections are also grounded on the experiences of several multigrade teachers who were interviewed.

Even though people on planet earth represent one human civilization, historically, urban and rural styles of socioeconomic life and attitudes to the issues of education have always differed more or less distinctly. In some parts of Central and Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, including also the huge territory of Russia, the distinctions between urban and rural ways of living and between urban and rural education are exposed and marked; however, in some parts of Europe these differences are not so noticeable (Sinagatullin, 2014). A good example of the latter is Holland, a small country in northern Europe, in which a foreign visitor will hardly tell a typical village from a town or even from a larger metro area.

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Notions of Discretionary Power: Images Over Time

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Notions of Discretionary Power

Images Over Time

Ulla Karin Nordänger

Per Lindqvist

ABSTRACT: This chapter describes statements made by a cohort of Swedish teacher students regarding their expectations on the job, from graduation in 1993 up to 2013, when 60 percent still remain active as teachers. The statements are related to analyses of the relation between teachers’ perception of their own discretionary power and the change in governance during the same time period. In the results an image of a substantially decreased level of discretion emerges, but at the same time, the results indicate that this image needs to be nuanced. After twenty years of work, a third of the still active teachers’ expressions point toward a new space of discretion, in line with the new governance, possibly leading to the development of an alternate professional identity.

In the new year of 1993, eighty-seven compulsory school teachers for earlier years, graduated from one of Sweden’s minor universities. Shortly before graduation, they were asked what expectations they had on their future job and if there were specific things they feared having trouble with, as teachers. The majority of these aspiring teachers had very high expectations. The work they saw ahead was characterized by discretion, variation, and development. One of them, whom we can call Ingrid, writes:

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Comparing the Effectiveness of Student Performance in Face-to-Face and Online Modes of Learning

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Comparing the Effectiveness of Student Performance in Face-to-Face and Online Modes of Learning

Anjeela Jokhan

Ravneel Rajneel Chand

Salsabil Nusair

ABSTRACT: Many educational institutions offer a number of different delivery modes of learning in order to meet the educational needs of students from different walks of life. The purpose of this research was to compare the effectiveness of online and face-to-face delivery modes for an introductory information system course (IS121) delivered by the School of Computing, Information and Mathematical Sciences at the University of the South Pacific (USP). The research compares and analyses the learning activities of the course in both modes, taught by the same coordinator in the same semester to first-year students. This research showed that there was a significant difference (p < 0.05) in the performance of students between the face-to-face and online delivery modes. The findings from the current study also revealed that face-to-face mode students had a greater level of understanding when answering questions in relation to Bloom’s taxonomy (Higher-Order Thinking Skills).

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An Understanding of the Experience of Switching from Secondary to Primary School Teaching

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An Understanding of the Experience of Switching from Secondary to Primary School Teaching

Mark A. Minott

ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of the experience of teachers who made the switch from secondary to primary school teaching. Two teachers who had made the switch participated in an in-depth interview. The data analysis process was guided by aspects of a grounded theory approach. The experience of teachers who made the switch is characterized by the need to make adjustments. This involved: specialist to generalist teacher adjustments, pedagogical adjustments influenced by practical knowledge, emotional adjustments and appreciation of, and adjusting to the peculiarities and needs of primary school students. The area of pedagogical adjustment influenced by teachers’ practical knowledge featured prominently.

There is a plethora of technical information on making the switch from secondary to primary teaching. This includes a barrage of conversion courses and providers of such courses, explanations of the training needs of teachers wanting to make the switch and tips on how to be successful at interviews (Protocol Education, 2012; The University of Aberdeen, 2016; The University of Buckingham 2016; University of South Wales Pfifysgol De Cymru, 2016). There is also discussion about reasons for making the switch. For example, Draper (1997) in her work discussed motives for switching and distinguished between strategic reasons for switching (i.e., more jobs in the new sector) and magnetic reasons which may include intrinsic attraction for working in the new sector such as the preference for a particular age group. The decision to switch is not taken lightly by teachers. It cost financially and emotionally and is also challenging in a number of ways (Williams 2013; Draper 1997). While the literature highlights these and other areas deemed relevant to any discussion regarding switching from secondary to primary school teaching, there seems to be a paucity of literature, which considers the experiences of those who actually make the switch. This paucity may also suggest that it is an understudied area. Possible reasons for this might include the fact that the area may be of low interest to researchers or they never thought about this aspect of teachers’ career. I cannot corroborate these reasons, therefore, I must be tentative in this matter.

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