Page 81 - Empowering pre-service teachers through inquiry - Lidewij van Katwijk
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                                Pre-service teacher inquiry; an international comparison
 1 Introduction
Student research in higher education in general, and in teacher education in particular,
represents a growing requirement worldwide, largely because research literacy
constitutes an important foundation for teachers’ professional development (BERA-
RSA,2014; Sachs, 2016). To meet twenty-first century education challenges, increase
educational quality, and improve national economies, pre-service teachers need to
learn how to conduct research (Aspfors & Eklund, 2017; Hökkä & Eteläpelto, 2014;
Menter, 2015), which in turn will grant them confidence, skills, and knowledge that 4 will empower them as autonomous educators and also may increase their ability to
innovate in their professional careers (e.g., Castle, 2006; Dunn, Harrison, & Coombe, 2008; Reis-Jorge, 2005). As Darling-Hammond (2006, p. 305) explains,
expectations for teacher knowledge mean that programmes need not only to provide teachers access to more knowledge, considered more deeply, but also to help teachers learn how to continually access knowledge and inquire into their work.... Preparing teachers as classroom researchers and expert collaborators who can learn from each other is essential.
A range of concepts in teacher education curricula have been designed to serve the concept of continuous professional renewal by educating students in the interpretation, execution, and use of research (Cooney, Buchanan, & Parkinson, 2001). By conducting research and practicing with a range of data-gathering methods, these students, or pre-service teachers, should be able to transfer into evaluative teaching practices more seamlessly (Dunn et al., 2008). However, the role of research in teacher education programmes is not yet clear and concepts such as research-driven, research- based, and inquiry-oriented, tend to be poorly defined or used interchangeably (Aspfors & Eklund, 2017; Gleeson, Sugrue, & O’Flaherty, 2017; Munthe & Rogne, 2015). Toom et al. (2010) suggest that research-based teacher education entails the study of research methods, conducting research, and writing a master’s thesis (Hökkä & Eteläpelto, 2014; Maaranen, 2009), which in turn creates autonomous, reflective teachers who can base their pedagogical decision making on a theoretical foundation. By developing their knowledge of practice through research, pre-service teachers may “be empowered to make advancements in their professional, educational, and service provision” (Kilderry, Nolan, & Noble, 2004, p. 25). Research-oriented units in pre- service teacher education programmes accordingly may generate respect for the value of research and increase students’ ability to evaluate research evidence more critically

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