Becoming Teacher Educators: An Innovative Approach to Teacher Educator Preparation
Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol. 37, No. 3, August 2011, 351–363.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article describes an initiative, Becoming Teacher Educators (BTE).
BTE is a community specifically designed for doctoral students whose career goal is to become teacher educators.
Becoming teacher educators
This initiative was established since most new teacher educators in Canada have little preparation before, and minimal support after assuming their academic position.
The authors wondered whether schools of education could in fact help doctoral students be better prepared for the work of teacher education, both as researchers and as teacher education practitioners.
Design of the study
The group is composed of two professors and 12 doctoral students.
The various activities in which the group has engaged over the past three years are described.
In each of the three years, the authors conducted a self-study of their work.
The authors addressed to the following research questions:
How does BTE support your work as a doctoral student?
How has BTE affected your understanding of being a teacher educator?
How has BTE influenced your long-term professional goals?
In the first and second years, data gathering included a focus group and an open-ended written questionnaire.
The findings reveal a very high level of satisfaction from the members of BTE.
It was found that many members of BTE felt that participation in BTE helped them to progress through their doctoral studies more rapidly.
Furthermore, several members mentioned the importance of a safe, trusting, non-competitive outlet for discussing their challenges in teaching or with other aspects of their doctoral journey.
Many members also noted the importance of the social aspect of the group.
Members frequently commented that the ongoing support from the community was the reason that they continued to learn, grow and share.
In addition, the BTE community has provided members with additional educational and professional opportunities outside the basic requirements of their graduate programmes.
As members engaged in all of these initiatives, they were being prepared for the work of teacher education.
BTE members also developed a strong appreciation for the importance of quality research related to teacher education.
Finally, BTE members are encouraged through various means to think about themselves and each other as teacher educators and researchers of teacher education both during and beyond the doctorate.
This article brings to light a few key elements of the BTE group, namely, its strengths as a community, the importance of shared leadership, the opportunity to develop knowledge of teacher education, the improvement of research skills, the influence on identity, and improvement in practices as beginning teacher educators.