Measuring Teacher Educators’ Researcherly Disposition: Item Development and Scale Construction
Source: Vocations and Learning, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 43–62, April 2016.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article presents a measurement instrument (TERDS) to measure teacher educators’ self-reported researcherly disposition throughout their working lives. This concept, defined as teacher educators’ habit of mind to engage with research as both consumers and producers to improve their own practice and contribute to shared knowledge, offers a promising approach to the professional development of teacher educators (Tack and Vanderlinde 2014).
This study has two phases:
The first phase of the study involved the development of a self-reported measurement instrument for evaluating teacher educators’ researcherly disposition based on a large scale survey study with 944 Flemish teacher educators.
In the second phase of the study, teacher educators’ researcherly disposition was explored using the developed instrument to test hypothesized differences across subgroups with different background experiences (teaching experience in compulsory education, research experience, length of service as a teacher educator) and professional work contexts (type of teacher education institution).
Questionnaire data were collected from a sample of 944 institution-based teacher educators.
Discussion and Conclusion
The first part of the article reports the results of factor analysis (EFA and CFA), which suggest a four-factor structure of teacher educators’ researcherly disposition: (1) ‘ valuing research’, (2) ‘being a smart consumer of research’, (3) ‘ being able to conduct research’, and (4) ‘conducting research’.
Goodness of fit estimates were calculated, indicating good fit.
The first of the factors above refers to the extent to which a teacher educator values his/her role as a teacher educator-researcher. The second reflects the degree to which a teacher educator is able to use existing research to inform his/her practice. The third scale pertains to the extent to which a teacher educator is capable of conducting research into teacher education. Finally, the fourth scale contains items concerning whether or not a teacher educator is actively conducting research into teacher education.
The second part of the article explores differences in teacher educators’ researcherly disposition across several subgroups of teacher educators using the developed instrument.
Teacher educators reported a generally low to neutral level of researcherly disposition on the TERDS instrument. As could be expected, teacher educators with research experience score significantly higher on each of the four subscales compared to their counterparts without research experience.
The authors conclude that by using the instrument to explore differences between several subgroups of teacher educators, this study enhances empirical understanding of a previously ‘undiscovered’ and ‘neglected’ professional group. Finally, given the general character and the overall reliability of the measurement instrument, the same scales could be translated and used to examine other vocational practices.
Tack, H., & Vanderlinde, R. (2014). Teacher educators’ professional development: towards a typology of teacher educators’ researcherly disposition. British Journal of Educational Studies, 62(3), 297–315.