Page 68 - Empowering pre-service teachers through inquiry - Lidewij van Katwijk
P. 68

                                Chapter 3
 to assess their bachelor thinking abilities ....we educate for a complex profession. (TE_A9)
About half the participants in the student focus groups confirm they do not expect to continue conducting research or inquiry in their future jobs. They mention three main reasons: (1) the formal learning process of pre-service teacher inquiry is too time-consuming and difficult, and report writing in particular is a barrier; (2) they are focused on, and looking forward to, teaching, which is their reason for choosing teacher education, so they expect to need all their energy for it; and (3) there is a lack of research culture in most primary schools. Pre-service teachers engage in practice teaching at three or four different schools; most of them mention they have not met teacher colleagues who are undertaking practitioner inquiry. However, they emphasize they would prefer to work at schools with colleagues who show an inquiry habit of mind so they can share experiences and gain practical knowledge:
Without an inquiry habit of mind, it’s not possible to stay up-to-date. The school where I am going to work organizes each week professional development; I like that! (PST_G 2)
Only one focus group of teacher educators failed to reach consensus about the value of inquiry habit of mind to their program. Moreover, the focus group of pre-service teachers at their institute did not have an immediate answer to the “why” question:
Actually I have no clue why pre-service teacher inquiry is in the program.... I think that is regulated by law or nationally...? (PST_A3)
Pre-service teacher inquiry in the program
We found differences between pre-service teachers and teacher educators in their perceptions of how teacher education programs organize and teach the development of pre-service teacher inquiry competence. Our survey included open questions about the strong and weak points of pre-service teacher inquiry in the program. Most participants who answered these questions indicated one or two points to be strong and one or two points to be weak. The emerging themes of answers were: 1) research skills, 2) teaching-learning-trajectory, 3) inquiry habit of mind, 4) integration of research in all teaching modules, 5) quality of the supervisor, 6) link to practice, 7) knowledge, 8) own topic, 9) too time consuming and 10) miscellaneous.
Both teacher educators and pre-service teachers indicate that a strong point of the teacher education program is that they learn how to conduct research (research

   66   67   68   69   70