Page 101 - Empowering pre-service teachers through inquiry - Lidewij van Katwijk
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                                Pre-service teacher inquiry; an international comparison
 want to continue conducting formal research, similar to the results of a study by Griffioen (2018). This outcome might relate to the compulsory requirements for pre- service teachers to prove their research competency—for example, having to write a literature review, a proposal, and a report, which are time consuming and demanding (Maaranen, 2009; Reis-Jorge, 2007)—or to the lack of a research-oriented culture or knowledge at most schools (Gitlin, Barlow, Burbank, & Kauchak, 1999; Yuan & Burns, 2017).
This study also distinguishes two main categories of the perceived value of
pre-service teacher research. The first, and most obvious, is that it is a professional 4 development tool (BERA-RSA, 2014; Sachs, 2016). In this study, pre-service teachers
and teacher educators confirmed that conducting practitioner research contributes to
the development of reflective practice at the individual level, as well as more generally
to the improvement of the teaching profession. This finding aligns with research by
Dunn et al. (2008) and Reis-Jorge (2005) about perceptions of research from bachelor
students. In this study, pre-service teachers in both countries indicated that they
learned to think critically and to link theory and practice by conducting practitioner
research. The second category of perceived value emerging from this study refers to empowerment. None of the pre-service teachers used the term empowerment itself,
but they explained that by conducting research, they gained a sense of being able to
make their own choices about various issues in their practice, use theory to support
these choices, and share new insights with colleagues. This is in line with research of
Penuel et al. (2017) about school leaders. Pre-service teachers have the perception that
they have learned to use research in an instrumental way, which they do not expect
to continue in their teaching profession, yet they do see the value of the conceptual
use of research: “to expand their conceptions of problems and to persuade others of
particular points of view” (Penuel et al., 2017, p.14).
The teacher educators in both countries stated that pre-service teacher research provides a means for pre-service teachers to develop skills to think and act critically and independently and to communicate their thoughts and findings. As a result of this communication about education, pre-service teachers can feel more connected to their colleagues on a professional level, even as early as during their research project. Pre-service teachers also identified that choosing their own topic for their research project is important, because it gives them an opportunity to focus on their own interests and who they wish be as a teacher and researcher. In this sense, pre- service teacher research shapes pre-service teacher identity, and it seems that identity shapes research.

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