Pedagogy in Further Education and Vocational Teacher Education

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Example 9 from research – Cochran Smith (2003)

Cochran Smith (2003) carried out research which analysed ‘four teacher educator communities in different contexts and entry points across the career lifespan’ (5). Cochran Smith reviews literature which supports the view that ‘the opportunity to engage in inquiry within a learning community may be a vital part of teachers’ and teacher educators’ ongoing education’ (ibid: 7).

Using four examples and the reflections on and experiences of some forty teacher educators, in four examples over an extended period of time, Cochran-Smith (2005) identifies some important commonalities, similarities, differences and a diversity in the roles and responsibilities of those who could be called teacher educators.

Commonalities and similarities include feeling as if they are ‘linchpins in educational reforms of all kinds’ (Cochran-Smith, 2003: 5); that they are ‘expected to conduct and publish research at the same time that they develop curricula and programs, teach courses, and work with’ (ibid: 6) teachers, but that their developments needs are given ‘low priority’ (ibid: 8). Despite this Cochran-Smith reported regular efforts to self-develop as a learning community of teacher educators.

Diversity and differences for teacher educators comes mainly from the national and cultural contextual variations found from country to country, or even from state / county to state / county. These can result in differing locations within the education sector (e.g. in universities, in schools and in colleges), different emphases of teacher education (Primary, secondary, early years, post compulsory etc.)