Page 130 - Empowering pre-service teachers through inquiry - Lidewij van Katwijk
P. 130

                                Chapter 6
 described in teaching activities or in the assessments regarding pre-service teacher research. Reasons for this omission may include its intangible nature, which makes it difficult to assess, and that it is implemented and assessed in the practical component at primary schools.
Analyses of the formal curriculum show that the implementation of pre-service teacher inquiry, in teaching activities and assessment rubrics, mostly focuses on research skills, though the development of an inquiry stance, including an inquiry habit of mind, is intended. No institute for primary teacher education in the Netherlands intends to educate researchers, but the method of assessment, a research report with a scoring rubric, is not fully aligned with this intention. As a result, pre-service teachers might not associate pre-service teacher inquiry as something that can give them a better understanding of their pupils’ learning and improve their teaching in the classroom, but only as a capstone assignment or a separate activity for researchers.
Perceptions of the purpose, value and implementation of pre-service teacher inquiry
To gain insights into the role of pre-service teacher inquiry in the implemented and experienced curriculum, we investigated perceptions of teacher educators and pre-service students in the Netherlands and Australia (Chapters 3 and 4) using a survey and focus groups. We compared their perceptions about the purpose and value with the intended development of inquiry competences.
The findings show that both pre-service teachers and teacher educators, in the Netherlands as well as in Australia, believe that pre-service teacher research and inquiry leads to better teachers. One of the most important reasons mentioned was the experience that undertaking inquiry empowers pre-service teachers. This empowerment is already apparent during the inquiry project: pre-service teachers specialise in a certain topic and feel the need to share their theoretical and practical findings and to initiate dialogues about education with colleagues. In doing so, they perceive that they are being taken more seriously and treated as a full and professional colleague. After completing the inquiry project, they felt empowered to discuss school policy, using findings of previous research with the aim to improve practice. Pre-service teachers exhibited a positive perception of and attitude toward pre-service teacher inquiry: they believe it is important and interesting and a good way of achieving professionalisation. Most pre-service teachers experienced feelings of frustration during their inquiry project, because for many it was ultimately the most demanding component of teacher education. Nevertheless, all pre-service

   128   129   130   131   132