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date: 23 April 2018

Teacher Education Research

Summary and Keywords

Although teacher education has been recognized as a key aspect of educational policy and practice, especially over the past few decades, the research undertaken to inform policy is in many respects inadequate. Drawing on reviews of such research as has been undertaken in Europe, the United States, Australasia as well as other parts of the world, we can identify the key questions for teacher education researchers. These include such topics as the relationship between theory and practice in professional learning, the significance of partnerships between schools and higher education institutions, the relationship between preservice teacher education and ongoing professional learning and the nature of the assessment of beginning teachers.

Three approaches to teacher education research may be defined, and all of them are important in the quest for better understanding of the field. These three approaches are research in teacher education—mainly carried out by teacher education practitioners; research on teacher education—mainly carried out by education policy scholars; and research about teacher education—carried out by scholars in a range of disciplines and seeking to explore the wider social significance of teacher education. An exploration of each of these three approaches reveals that there is a serious dearth of large-scale and/or longitudinal studies that may be seen as genuinely independent and critical. This suggests that there is a large agenda for future teacher education research.

Keywords: teacher education, research methodologies, international reviews, theory and practice, partnerships, research in teacher education, research on teacher education, research about teacher education

Introduction

Although teacher education has been recognized as a key aspect of educational policy and practice, especially over the past few decades, the research undertaken to inform policy is in many respects inadequate. Through reviews of such research as has been undertaken in Europe, the United States, Australasia, as well as other parts of the world, the key questions for teacher education researchers can be identified. These include such topics as the relationship between theory and practice in professional learning, the significance of partnerships between schools and higher education institutions, the relationship between preservice teacher education and ongoing professional learning and the nature of the assessment of beginning teachers.

Three approaches to teacher education research may be defined, all of which are important in the quest for achieving a better understanding of the field. These three approaches are research in teacher education—mainly carried out by teacher education practitioners; research on teacher education—mainly carried out by education policy scholars; and research about teacher education—carried out by scholars in a range of disciplines and seeking to explore the wider social significance of teacher education. The disciplinary bases that typify each of these three approaches are explored, as is the range of research methodologies that are deployed. It is established that there is a serious dearth of large-scale and/or longitudinal studies that may be seen as genuinely independent and critical. The conclusion sets out a suggested agenda for future teacher education research.

Teacher education is mostly organized at the level of the state, sometimes the nation-state, and sometimes a state in a federation of states. This no doubt reflects the fact that schooling systems are mostly organized at that level as well, and it is usually assumed that teachers should be educated for the particular system within which they are intending to work. At a time of increasing globalization in our economy, it is deeply fascinating that education and teacher education continue to be mainly organized at the national and/or state level—although that of course is not to deny the significant influence of global forces within these national systems (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010; Sahlberg, 2010).

Reviewing and analyzing a nation’s teacher education system help show what teachers should know, what they should be able to do, and how they should be disposed—all in the interest of forming society’s future adult citizens in perhaps ten to twenty years’ time. Teacher education may be considered to be highly symbolic of how a society sees its future and is therefore highly indicative of its underlying values. Perhaps it is this realization that has turned teacher education into such a center of political interest in the past twenty to thirty years in many countries (Cochran-Smith, 2016).

The nature of any teacher education system can be understood through examining the history, culture, and politics of that system and of the society. This is the methodological underpinning of the approach taken here in seeking to make meaning of teacher education in particular contexts. The particular educational traditions in any setting may be identified within the teacher education system and will reflect the relative influences of, for example, western European thought, eastern philosophies, or religious teachings. Input from historians and cultural theorists is essential in reaching a full understanding of how our own contemporary approaches have evolved.

The relationship between research, policy, and practice in teacher education is far from straightforward; rather, it is complex and dynamic, and it is a very important aspect of what is of universal interest. Significant tensions often arise between research, policy, and practice, and it is rare indeed to find a direct linear relationship between these three fields.

What Has Been Done?

Based on reviews of such research as has been undertaken in Europe, the United States, and Australasia, as well as other parts of the world, it is possible to identify some of the common approaches to teacher education research and then some of the key topics of interest to teacher education researchers.

An investigation of teacher education research in the United Kingdom was carried out by a group of researchers called the Teacher Education Group (TEG). TEG established a database of journal articles on teacher education published between 2000 and 2008. The resource consisted of 446 items, which were the abstracts of articles on teacher education research carried out in the UK and published in a selected range of journals over those years.

The database provided a resource through which it was possible to identify some of the key characteristics of recent UK research in and on teacher education. Every item was coded according to the methods used in the research and according to the substantive focus of the study being reported. The categories used were developed by the group that developed the resource (see Murray et al., 2008; Menter, Hulme, Murray et al., 2010). As will be clear from the tables, these methods and foci were not judged to be mutually exclusive, and most studies were deemed to have taken more than one single approach and to have related to more than one topic or theme. Table 1 shows the range of methods that were used, while Table 2 indicates the areas that the research covered.

Table 1. Classification Organized by Core Methods, 2000–2008

Core Methods

Frequency

%

Reflection

268

60.1

Interviews

227

50.9

Small-scale

194

43.5

Qualitative

185

41.5

Literature review

138

30.9

Practice-based

137

30.7

Questionnaire

129

28.9

Large-scale

112

25.1

Mixed

102

22.9

Content analysis

100

22.4

Political economy

100

22.4

Case study

83

18.6

Survey

53

11.9

Longitudinal

38

8.5

Quantitative

38

8.5

Action research

35

7.8

Quasi-experimental

3

0.7

Total items

446

The general pattern of the approaches taken in the material included is clear. The emphasis on reflection demonstrates the large proportion of this work that is carried out by teacher educators themselves and is typically research into their own practices. At the other extreme, very little material is quantitative in its approach and there are hardly any quasi-experimental studies. Furthermore, it is interesting how little action research (AR) there is, until one reflects that perhaps the constraints and accountabilities imposed on teacher education practices in recent years, especially in England, have been so extensive that experiments and AR-type interventions may have been judged to be too risky to carry out, in fear of a punitive government response. The skewing toward interviews and small-scale and qualitative work may be understandable, but it does suggest that the field is not yet fully established as a mature branch of the social sciences. The relative paucity of longitudinal work must also be a particular concern, given the strong interest in professional learning (as demonstrated in Table 2), which is in essence a long-term process.

Table 2. Classification Organized by Core Topics, 2000–2008

Topics

Frequency

%

Professional learning

380

85.2

National context

367

82.3

Regulatory frameworks and policy

256

57.4

Curriculum and assessment

148

33.2

Partnership

110

24.7

Equity issues

77

17.3

Ethical issues

52

11.7

Teacher educators’ professional development

52

11.7

Total items

446

The dominance of the first three categories—professional learning, national context, regulatory frameworks and policy—is interesting. Professional learning is at the heart of the day-to-day work of many researchers doing this work, so again this may well reflect the emphasis on research in teacher education. But the interest in national contexts and policy is a reminder of how much teacher education is shaped by national governments and the powerful impact of their policy decisions during the recent past. Matters of equity and ethics may well have slipped down the research agenda since the late 20th century, and there continues to be a general dearth of work on the professional development of teacher educators themselves (though with some exceptions).

While this study was limited geographically to UK teacher education research, the indications are that very similar patterns would be manifested in other parts of the world. A perusal of leading international journals such as Teaching and Teacher Education, The Journal of Teacher Education, and The Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education readily demonstrates the preponderance of relatively small-scale studies into teacher educators’ own practice and a strong focus on various aspects of professional learning.

The main question that has interested policymakers in recent decades has concerned the effectiveness of teacher education. Numerous international studies have emphasized the importance of the quality of teachers in achieving positive results from school students. It is therefore to be expected that politicians and policymakers should pay close attention to the ways in which teachers are prepared for their work through programs of initial or preservice teacher education.

In 2010, a team at the University of Glasgow undertook a review of teacher education literature. This was commissioned as a part of the Review of Teacher Education in Scotland, which was being undertaken by Graham Donaldson for the Scottish Government (Donaldson, 2011). One of the tasks set for the literature review was to “explore the relationships between forms of teacher education and the enhancement of teacher professionalism, and between enhanced professionalism and pupil outcomes.” The policymakers’ search for the “holy grail” of “what works?” in teacher education is evident here and reflects similar concerns throughout the world as governments get increasingly anxious about their PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results and other international comparisons (Sahlberg, 2010). Upon review of 290 items emanating from many national contexts, it was concluded that “[t]he evidence on linkages between enhanced professionalism and pupil outcomes was found to be limited, contradictory and somewhat inconclusive” (Menter, Hulme, Elliot et al., 2010, p. 54). This is as true in the UK as it is elsewhere.

In North America a specialist division of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) on teacher education has been very active in promoting the development of teacher education research. A number of major collections published in association with AERA have outlined many aspects of the field as it exists in that part of the world (e.g., Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2005). Although the focus is strongly on the United States, a range of very important themes in teacher education research are covered, such as teachers’ characteristics, pedagogical approaches in teacher education, and preparation of teachers for diverse populations.

Another large-scale collection with a focus on the United States was published in association with the Association of Teacher Educators (Cochran-Smith et al., 2008). Included in this work are chapters on genres in teacher education research (Borko et al., 2007) and a literature-based study (Cochran-Smith & Fries, 2008) showing how much interest there has been in questions similar to those in the UK, especially about the relationship between particular approaches to teacher education and student outcomes. But the chapter on this latter issue also traces the “changing paradigms” of teacher education research from the mid-point of the 20th century onward.

In Europe as well, there have been many small-scale studies, some of which are reported in journals such as The European Journal of Teacher Education, and there are some nations, including Norway, Finland, and The Netherlands, where investment in teacher education research appears to be relatively generous and some work on a larger scale had been undertaken. In Australasia, we also see some serious attempts to undertake larger scale and longer term work on teacher education, including a recent notable study in Australia entitled Studying the Effectiveness of Teacher Education (SETE) (Mayer et al., 2015).

Dominating the world of teacher education research in many settings is the policy-related work associated with government-backed reviews of teacher education. In the UK all four jurisdictions (as well as the Republic of Ireland) have experienced a series of major government reviews leading to reports that seek to identify good practice in teacher education (Teacher Education Group, 2016). Such reviews always make reference to some research and sometimes commission their own work either as part of the background to the review or as an outcome from the review. In Australia, a Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group was commissioned and produced a report in 2014 (TEMAG, 2014). The report included a recommendation that further research be undertaken, much of it under the auspices of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), in order to inform future developments. As mentioned previously, Donaldson’s review of teacher education in Scotland not only commissioned a major literature review but also undertook a range of inquiries as part of its review process (Donaldson, 2011).

What are the Key Questions?

While politicians and policymakers may be understandably concerned with questions about effectiveness in teacher education, many more particular aspects of teacher education have been identified over many years as being important to the field. These include such topics as the relationship between theory and practice in professional learning, the significance of partnerships between schools and higher education institutions, the relationship between preservice teacher education and ongoing professional learning and the nature of the assessment of beginning teachers. Many of these topics are considered important underlying questions to the big question of effectiveness, but the relationship with that big question is not always straightforward.

Recruitment and Prequalification: What kinds of people make the best teachers? It has been widely assumed that those people with the best knowledge and understanding of their subject will make the best teachers, but there is little hard evidence of this. It may be just as important that potential teachers have a range of social skills and an intellectual curiosity about learning as that they know their subject well.

The Nature of Professional Knowledge: What is it that an aspiring teacher needs to know? Again this is a subject that has been much discussed and researched over many tears. While a simple view would have it that teachers need to know their subject and “how to teach,” more recent work following the influence of Lee Shulman (Shulman, 1987) has suggested a typology of aspects of necessary professional knowledge, including not only subject knowledge but also pedagogical subject knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, as well as classroom management and communication skills (see Philpott, 2014).

Theory and Practice: On some occasions this debate about the nature of professional knowledge for teachers gets translated into a debate about the relative significance of educational theory and teaching practice. While most contemporary scholars suggest that this is an unhelpful and misleading dichotomy, it does nevertheless tend to be one that appeals to some politicians who deride educational theory as variously distracting, misleading, or even subversive (see Murray & Mutton, 2016). Much contemporary scholarship refers to the importance of an integrated approach to professional learning. The concept of “practical theorizing,” as developed by Donald McIntyre, has influenced a number of recent developments, some of which promote the idea of “clinical practice” (Burn & Mutton, 2014). Such integrated approaches emphasize the need for experiential learning that is informed by careful, systematic, and research-informed analysis.

Sites of Learning: This debate in turn leads to another key element in teacher education research—the relative importance of the various main sites of learning. The history of teacher education across the world demonstrates how the role of higher education has become increasingly important during the 20th century. From early practices that heavily emphasized the idea of teacher trainees as apprentices learning mostly in the classroom from observing and modeling their own actions on those of experienced teachers, the recognition of the need for beginning teachers to have an understanding of the processes of teaching and learning and, for example, the influence of social situations on student learning, have linked to the growth of educational sciences. So it was that increasingly teacher education programs became some form of dual provision between school settings and higher education settings. Where this duality was seen as providing distinctive experiences for the learner teacher, it often did reinforce the distinction between theory and practice. More recent developments have emphasized the importance of genuine collaboration between schools and higher education institutions in developing integrated approaches to student teacher learning.

Contributions of the School and of the University: What then are the distinctive roles of the school and the university if they are to work collaboratively? A major contribution to this discussion was provided by Furlong (2013) in his analysis of “the university project” in teacher education. Through exploring the university contribution to teacher education, mainly within the UK, he demonstrates that if teaching is seen as a complex and morally based activity, then the key role of the university is in pursuing what he calls “the maximization of reason.” This pursuit is not, of course, unique to teacher education. Furlong suggests that this pursuit is the overall distinctive contribution of the university in advanced societies, and he draws on the great traditions of higher education to demonstrate this notion. Within teacher education, however, that maximization of reason is exemplified most visibly through the provision of research-based approaches in teacher education, including ensuring that beginning teachers have ready access to the best educational research and also that they develop the skills not only to evaluate and, where appropriate, utilize that research, but also to engage in inquiry-oriented practice themselves.

Curriculum and Assessment within Teacher Education: What then do student teachers need to learn and experience, and how should they be assessed? The particular combination of school experience and of academic study that can lead to the best learning experience for the beginning teacher is a topic that has taxed teacher educators well as policymakers (Menter, 2016). The pattern of sites of learning (between school and university) is only part of the issue. For integrated approaches to teacher education, there are many questions about what is best learned where and from whom. What input should be made by university staff? What should be the role/s of school-based staff? Most integrated programs have a clear and explicit division of responsibilities that involve a range of roles. Often the university provides a professional studies tutor and a subject tutor, whereas the school provides a general professional tutor and a subject mentor. But the learning experiences may take place in university classrooms and school settings. Sometimes professional seminars are held in school settings, while much of the detailed subject planning work and assessment of pupil learning is discussed on a one-to-one basis between student and subject mentor.

Student teachers are commonly assessed, partly at least, on the basis of criteria elaborated as “standards” for the beginning teacher. But who is to assess the achievement of these standards and how? Again the most advanced collaborative partnership schemes set out a very clear set of responsibilities for those involved, but the assessment of student performance is often done jointly by school and university staff.

The Continuum of Professional Learning: Hitherto the focus has been almost entirely on the preservice phase of teacher education, through which aspiring teachers may best be prepared to enter the profession. However, it is now widely agreed that teacher education and professional development should be seen as a continuum of professional learning. What then is the relationship between preservice teacher education and ongoing professional learning? It may be assumed that some fundamentals need to be achieved before a new teacher can be judged to be qualified—or in the words of the Australian government report, become a “classroom-ready teacher” (TEMAG, 2014). These fundamentals are frequently defined as the standards for initial entry into the profession (Kennedy, 2016). What then do new teachers need to develop subsequent to entering the classroom for the first time? Many new teachers talk about classroom management, planning, and assessment as the biggest challenges of their early days in school. These topics are often the focus for continuing training and support during what is often referred to as the induction phase of teaching. Once early career teachers have gained further confidence in these areas, their ongoing learning may focus on the further enhancement of their subject knowledge and understanding, or they may choose to develop specialist expertise, for example, in teaching children with special educational needs or teaching children for whom the language of instruction is additional to their first language. Or more broadly, a number of teachers may choose to develop their expertise in educational leadership, perhaps with a view to becoming a subject leader (head of department or faculty) or a school leader (e.g., assistant or deputy principal). All of these further undertakings may be part of an accredited award, such as a master’s program or a professional doctorate, or they may be pursued in a more independent way, depending on what is available and on the disposition of the teacher concerned.

Professional Identity: Teachers and Teacher Educators The relationship between teacher education and professional identity has attracted interest over many years and has led to interesting life history research that seeks to follow the trajectory of teachers’ development from their preservice education through their professional lives (Goodson & Sikes, 2001). More recently, there has been an awakening of equivalent interest in the professional identities of teacher educators and the transitions that may be experienced as teachers move from the school setting into a higher education setting (Lunenberg et al., 2014, review some of this literature). The interest in professional identity arises from concerns about how teachers and teacher educators understand their work, their roles and responsibilities, and the factors that influence these roles. It is assumed that these matters will also relate to their “performance” and “effectiveness.”

Summary: These topics represent at least a major part of the range that face teacher education researchers as they strive to improve the understanding of policy and practice in the field. Following is a consideration of how teacher education research is undertaken, by whom, and with what methodological approaches.

Three Approaches to Teacher Education Research

As has been established, much of the teacher education research that is undertaken is carried out by people working as practitioners within the field. That is not the only form of teacher education research, however. It is proposed here that teacher education research may take three main forms. In addition to research in teacher education, research on teacher education, carried out by external researchers, may also be identified. However, a third form may be described as research about teacher education. Although all three approaches may broadly be seen as educational research falling under the wider umbrella of social sciences, they may nevertheless have different disciplinary bases, as will be seen.

Research in Teacher Education: This, the most common approach to teacher education research, remains very important. If teaching itself is viewed as an inquiry-based profession, then it is important that teacher educators model an inquiry approach in their own work. In a major inquiry into the relationship between teacher education and research carried out in 2013–2014 by the British Educational Research Association (BERA) in partnership with the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) the model of teaching and teacher education that emerged as the most productive is one that is indeed inquiry-based. The report (BERA-RSA, 2014) called for all teachers to be “research literate”—that is, all teachers should be equipped with the appropriate skills to evaluate educational research and also with the capacity to engage in inquiry themselves. The implications of this requirement are that all teacher education programs should seek to provide trained teachers with these qualities. The idea of “teacher as researcher” has a long tradition, not least in the UK, where that phrase was coined by Lawrence Stenhouse (see Stenhouse, 1975) who saw teachers as curriculum researchers. However, Stenhouse, like many of those who followed in that tradition, believed that teacher research must be rigorous. One of the common criticisms of much teacher research is that it is not only small-scale but also that it can tend to be unsystematic and therefore of poor quality. In developing the idea of teacher as researcher in the United States, Cochran-Smith and her collaborators endorse the importance of rigor and also introduce the idea of teacher inquiry as stance (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009).

Research on Teacher Education: Research that steps back from the practice and seeks to analyze and understand teacher education in a more “detached” way is still all too scarce. Very often such research is carried out by policy researchers who are interested in how programs are developed and in their effects. This approach to research often overlaps with effectiveness models that were mentioned earlier, but can also be very revealing of motives and values and may well challenge assumptions. The best example of such research in the UK is still—albeit, nearly twenty years old—the Modes of Teacher Education work carried out during the 1990s by Furlong and a number of colleagues (Furlong et al., 2000). The study was independently funded (in contrast with some of the other research on teacher education that has been funded by the government and its agencies) and sought to ascertain how reforms of teacher education in England during the early 1990s were “transforming teacher professionalism.”

More of this kind of research is needed; it should be theoretically informed and should include work that is both large scale and longitudinal and that uses a full range of methods. One recent example is the SETE study carried out in Australia by a large consortium of researchers from several different institutions (Mayer et al., 2015). This is an important and recent example of research on teacher education—although having been carried out by a team of teacher education practitioners, it also has elements of research in teacher education.

Some comparative education studies of teacher education also may be seen as good examples of research on teacher education. The “home international” study of teacher education policy and practice in the UK and Ireland is an example. It is very valuable to contrast and compare approaches—not least in neighboring jurisdictions—to identify how different values and understandings of teaching may lead to very different approaches to teacher education. What has not been attempted to a great degree, however, are attempts to ascertain the effects of such different approaches on outcomes. Indeed, in England, which now provides an enormous variety of entry routes into teaching (see Murray & Mutton, 2016), some attempts have been launched to explore this issue, but some of them have not been fully independent, with funding coming from government sources (e.g., Hobson et al., 2006). Some more recent studies are attempting to identify the different effects of approaches to initial teacher education that are school-led and those that are partnership-based (Whiting et al., 2016; Brown et al., 2016; Tatto et al., forthcoming) .

Research about Teacher Education: If research on teacher education is relatively scarce, then research about teacher education is even scarcer. If it is agreed that approaches to teacher education have a deep symbolic significance culturally and sociologically in any social system (as was argued in the introduction to this article), then this dearth of theoretically well-informed and often interdisciplinary work is not only surprising, but a matter of concern. Research about teacher education means research that seeks to understand teacher education in a broader context, for example, taking historical, anthropological, political science, or social theory perspectives. Such work is likely to be essentially interdisciplinary and is designed to explore the relationship between teacher education and the wider society.

In the UK, two examples may be cited. The first is a study that seeks to draw explicitly on sociology, psychology, and philosophy in developing a deeper understanding of how teacher education might be reformulated in the 21st century, through the application of these disciplines. Edwards, Gilroy, and Hartley offer a stimulating challenge to contemporary teacher educators through their multiple disciplinary lens (Edwards et al., 2003). Furlong’s study, referred to earlier, though less explicitly interdisciplinary (being mainly sociological), nevertheless steps well outside the usual constraints of the study of teacher education by looking at the institutional and societal setting of teacher education during the 20th century and into the 21st century. This creates a set of significantly deeper insights than are achieved in much teacher education research that simply regards teacher education as a self-contained system.

Summary: As we have seen, one characteristic of teacher education research is indeed that much of it is often conducted by those who are also its practitioners, whether as teacher educators or as managers. The history of research on teacher education is complemented by research in teacher education and is intricately related to the trajectory over time of teacher educators as an ill-defined, underresearched, and sometimes beleaguered occupational group within higher education.

Histories of particular teacher education institutions reveal that research was being undertaken throughout the 20th century, but, on the whole, the focus was on curriculum development and, to a lesser extent, on learning and teaching or practices of teacher education. Well-researched accounts of the development of teacher education were produced, and during the second half of the 20th century, important empirical work on the nature of teaching was starting to be carried out in many parts of the world.

Teacher research, practitioner research, and action research have all been influential in teacher education, although perhaps less consistently than might be expected given the early emergence of such approaches in the UK through the seminal work of Lawrence Stenhouse in the 1970s. During the 1970s and 1980s, further attempts were made to learn about effective practices in teaching through empirical classroom-based work. Policy developments in the 1980s and then the upheavals in the 1990s gave rise to a new wave of policy-related research (such as that carried out by John Furlong and colleagues). Developmental research into teacher education practices at a number of English and Scottish universities has also been influential, particularly in relation to defining the roles of university and school staff.

A number of important journals were established in the second half of the 20th century, including The Journal of Education for Teaching, Teachers and Teaching, and Professional Development in Education (formerly The Journal of In-Service Education). Although these journals are published in the UK, they do have an international scope. Furthermore, a range of U.S.-based journals developed very strongly during the 20th century, and more recently many other nations and regions have created teacher education journals—both academic and professional (several of these were mentioned earlier).

Professional and research bodies that have been important in supporting teacher education research include the following in the UK: the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) and the British Educational Research Association (BERA), although given what an important role teacher education has played in universities, BERA only formed a specialist group on teacher education research in 2005 (whereas the European Educational Research Association had a network on teacher education research from a very early stage, and it is still thriving). In the United States, the equivalent bodies include AERA as well as the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE).

In summary then, it is clear that there is now a tradition of research in and on teacher education in many parts of the world that has generated several significant studies, as well as a supportive infrastructure of journals, conferences, and networks.

Conclusion: What Needs to be Done?

Although some progress is being made in developing the quality of teacher education research, there remains a great need for more large-scale and longitudinal studies. Some of these studies should at least be seeking to study complete teacher education systems within states. Given that most contemporary systems are going through a continuing process of change, studies must also be informed by a keen awareness of history.

It also seems important that the development of teacher education research be carried out as an international enterprise, incorporating, where appropriate, carefully worked-through comparative research designs. Such research needs to be context sensitive and culturally aware. The kind of simplistic “borrowing” of others’ practices (particularly Finland and the United States) seen in recent English government documents on teaching and teacher education is unhelpful and misleading. Indeed, English politicians and policymakers might look a little closer to home to improve their understanding of teacher education, something they seem curiously loath to do. Darling-Hammond and Lieberman (2012) offer an international collection that seeks to make such comparisons, and they draw out a number of emergent themes that can be identified around the world.

Also needed are more attempts to synthesize and accumulate the findings from research. All of the questions and issues set out earlier here are likely to continue to be important, and it will be important that findings from disparate studies on each of these be brought together through literature reviews and meta-analyses.

Governments should be encouraged to develop policy on the basis of insights gained from research. Indeed, it is hoped that governments will see the importance of commissioning high-quality research in and on teacher education themselves. But it is also crucial that research continue to be undertaken which is genuinely independent of governments and has a critical perspective. There is much evidence of the ideological constraints that may limit the purview of government funded research.

Therefore, teacher education researchers must themselves also play their part in maintaining critical inquiry into policies, processes, and practices, so that they too can develop a much greater contribution to future developments in research in and research on teacher education. Finally, it is highly desirable that research about teacher education be encouraged: there is so much to be learned from understanding the deep social significance of policy and practice in teacher education.

Further Reading

Clandinin, J., & Husu, J. (Eds.) (2017). The SAGE handbook of research on teacher education. London: SAGE.Find this resource:

Cochran-Smith, M., Feiman-Nemser, S., McIntyre, D., & Demers, K. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of research on teacher education: Enduring questions in changing contexts. New York: Routledge/Association of Teacher Educators.Find this resource:

Cochran-Smith, M., & Zeichner, K. (Eds.). (2005). Studying teacher education—The report of the AERA Panel on Research and Teacher Education. Mahwah, NJ: AERA/Lawrence Erlbaum.Find this resource:

Darling-Hammond, L., & Lieberman, A. (Eds.). (2012). Teacher education around the world. London: Routledge.Find this resource:

Furlong, J. (2013). Education: An anatomy of the discipline. London: Routledge.Find this resource:

Menter, I., Hulme, M., Elliot, D., & Lewin, J., with Baumfield, V., Britton, A., Carroll, M. . . . Townsend, T. (2010). Literature review on teacher education in the 21st century. Edinburgh: The Scottish Government.Find this resource:

Peters, M., Cowie, B., & Menter, I. (Eds.). (2017). A companion to research in teacher education. Singapore: Springer.Find this resource:

Tatto, M. (Ed.). (2007). Reforming teaching globally. Didcot, U.K.: Symposium Books.Find this resource:

Tatto, M. T., & Furlong, J. (Eds.). (2015). The role of research in international policy and practice in teacher education. Oxford Review of Education, 41(2).Find this resource:

Tatto, M. T., Schwille, J., Senk, S., Ingvarson, L., Peck, R., & Rowley, G. (2008). Teacher education and development study in mathematics (TEDS-M): Conceptual framework. Teacher Education and Development International Study Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, and IEA. Available online https://msu.edu/user/mttatto/documents/TEDS_FrameworkFinal.pdf.Find this resource:

References

BERA-RSA. (2014). Research and the teaching profession. Building the capacity for a self-improving education system. Final report of the BERA-RSA Inquiry into the role of research in teacher education, Author: London. Retrieved from https://www.bera.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/BERA-RSA-Research-Teaching-Profession-FULL-REPORT-for-web.pdf.Find this resource:

Borko, H., Liston, D., & Whitcomb, J. A. (2007). Genres of empirical research in teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 58(1), 3–11.Find this resource:

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