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Birthe Lund og Lars Lindhart: Teaching Judging and Judging Teaching

Paper to be presentet at the Fifth Nordic Conference on Adult Learning, Iceland University, March 2013:

Teaching judging and judging teaching in teacher education.

 

Birthe Lund, Ph.D. ass. Professor, inst. for learning and philosophy , Aalborg University, Denmark

Lars Lindhart, Ph.D. ass professor, University College Nordjylland , Denmark

Abstact.

The concept of professional judgment and how to develop this within teacher education is the core focus in this paper. Given that the teacher’s ability to assess and frame a situation is crucial for teaching and planning, judgment is a prerequisite for teacher competence and it is relevant to explore how this change may influence teachers’ judgment. The aim of teacher education in Denmark is to qualify the students for a specific profession as teachers in the Folkeskole (the primary and lower secondary school). The teacher education is often criticized by students and politicians that theory and professional practice are not linked successfully and, consequently, the teacher education is often changed, recently brought about by competence-based curricula. It is therefore relevant to gain new knowledge about how teacher education may influence the professional judgment and influence the concrete practice and to discuss the linkage between theory and practice .

Since educating professional judgment is value-laden, and there are disagreements about the role of the school and the understanding of the ideal teacher, values and moral issues deserves serious attention. However, the latest change in teacher education has brought about competence-based curricula for each separate subject, and it is to be discussed how this may affect the foundation for professional judgments. Do partial competencies make up teacher competence in an adequate way?

The actual empirical study is based on a qualitative study of three student teachers’ education and subsequent 1½ year of practice as teachers in primary and lower secondary school as a Ph.d. study (Lindhart 2007). The subject - teacher judging - is here studied within the theory of pragmatism and social constructivism – but framed and inspired by Klafkis understanding of Critical – constructive - Didaktik.

 

Framing education of School teachers in Denmark and the role of Didaktik.

The teacher education programs are continuing changing, and the latest change will bring about a more competence-based curriculum. The existing teacher education belongs to a Didaktik curricular, in which aims are defined as general directions in an open-ended way which gives both the teacher and the students at the teacher education programs a wide margin. This curriculum has influenced the framing of the teacher training, but it also reflects the teacher’s role in elementary school, so in general the (knowledge and value-) foundations for teachers’ judgments are considered to be important for the actual teaching.

Didaktik

There are in general differing in attitudes towards curriculum planning and implementation. This can be reduced to two basic models and two sets of attitudes representing different ideals– the Anglo- Saxon tradition of curriculum studies and the Central and North European tradition of Didaktik. The Anglo-saxon tradition represents a method-centered teacher education. The term Didaktik itself is intertwining action and reflection, practice and theory. It is described as an “untranslatable” concept, as it represent an independent discipline. (Gundem/Stefan Hopmann(2002 ): ”The most obvious translation of Didaktik, didactics, is generally avoided in Anglo- Saxon educational context, and refers to practical and methodological problems of mediation and does not aim at being an independent discipline, let alone as scientific or research program.”s.2

No term in English conveys the meaning of this concept, which refers to the process and product of personal development guided by reason. (Bildung and Dannelse are the German and Danish words to describe this process). Didaktik can be regarded as a sub discipline of educational theory inspired by Geistenwissensschaftliche pedagogy. Didaktik has four main attributes, recording to the German educating scientist  Wolfgang Klafki (who almost embodies Didaktik since the 1950):

1. Close relationship between pedagogical theory and pedagogical practice.

2. It emphasises on the relative autonomy of education in theory and practice in relation to all other political, social and cultural influences, to develop “Mündigkeit” in Kant´s notion.

3. Conception of human-science pedagogy in its conception of pedagogical theory and practice in a historical context.

4. Development of opportunities for self-determination on the one hand and co-determination on the other are dialectically linked and mutually conditional. This means development of an individual responsibility and independence and the development corresponding economic, social, political and cultural conditions. The subject/individual is never completely observed by social role alone, but in principle always has opportunity to criticize society, to take action with a view of change, and to make independents decisions . For Klafki “It is the central objective of pedagogical practice and pedagogical theory in the conception described here to create such opportunities in the educational process” (Klafki s. 311 (Gundem/Stefan Hopmann (2002 )

 Didaktik in his view is both critical and constructive indicating the reference to practice, the interest in action, design a change which is constitutive of this didactical conception. But constructive should not be misunderstood in a technological sense: “The abilities of self-determination, codetermination and solidarity cannot be directly induced by didactical action. They cannot be made”, and thus didactical theory cannot provide the practitioner with rules, technologically speaking, and “means”, technologically speaking, which guarantee that instruction will produce these abilities.” Klafki s.312 (Gundem/Stefan Hopmann (2002 ) Education must consequently be based on an link between the aptitude to perceive basic personal right and the image of a fundamentally democratic society, and the school and the teachers must fulfill pedagogical tasks to ensure this linkage- the principles of the self-determination and co-determination must be implemented in the teaching-learning process. Within a framework of critic constructive Didaktik – Didaktik cannot be understood formally as a value-free study, and the teacher must be able to aswer the question: “what is the most essential to learn and why?”

Decisions concerning curricula, reasons for decisions regarding curricula, processes of decision-making and developing reasons and conditions, relation to such processes is essential for an analytic “ Didaktik” – As well as studies of concrete teaching and learning: instruction planning, realizing teaching and learning with awareness of intended and not-intended result (“hidden curriculum” of teaching and learning). The object for the teacher student is then to be aware of these intentions and to reflect and interpreted the instruction and design related to these subjects. Didaktik in an historical-hermeneutical perspective, to Klafki, aspires to clarify the sense of decisions, developments, discussions, mechanisms in or reliant to Didaktik by means of appropriate scientific methods. Klafik express it in this way: [ They -teachers and students has]. ..to become aware of what they are actually doing, what they are deciding and action about and under what historical conditions, in other words: What really lies behind their decisions, deliberations, actions.”( Klafki s. 320)

But it is still to be considered as challenge to teacher education in Denmark to rise this awareness.

Teacher training in Demark

Since this article has empirical references to the training of school teachers (Bachelor of Education for primary and lower secondary school teachers) in Demark some background knowledge is relevant.

The students are to acquire subject-didactical competences to qualify them to base their teaching on the general aims of the school and on essential features in relation to the development of society as well as on the individual pupil’s prerequisites, potentials and conditions of development. It is stated (I Eurypedia) that “The acquired insight is furthermore to qualify them to formulate criteria for assessment, production and use of teaching materials and other teaching aids. Importance is attached to the fact that this insight is acquired in a balanced interaction with the educational subjects and the teaching practice. The students are to acquire a theoretical and practical basis, which enables them to independently compile, systematise, select and present knowledge on the basis of the methodology of the subjects and in accordance with the aims and occupational objective of the course. “ So students are to be prepared for a life as a teacher who has the pedagogical liberty to choose adequate means and content to fulfill educational needs.

The education takes place at one of the 8 University Colleges in Denmark, which areunder public administration. The teacher programmes are constructed upon a concurrent model, i.e. a single programme in which students combine general education with theoretical and practical professional teaching. The teacher training programme is of 4 years’ duration (240 ECTS) and consists of the following elements: Pedagogical subjects (didactics, psychology and pedagogy), ECTS: 33 .Christian studies etc., ECTS: 17 Main subjects, ECTS: 72 (each) Non-compulsory main subjects, ECTS: 72 Bachelor project, ECTS: 10 The teaching practice consists of 24 weeks. After each practical training period, there is an assessment of the outcomes made in cooperation between the teaching practice place and the university college. The assessment is expressed in terms of "approved/not approved".

Students are required to choose between the following main subjects corresponding to 72 ECTS points: Danish, mathematics, nature/technology or physics/chemistry. Students are then furthermore required to choose one or two of the following main subjects: Humanities subjects: English, French, history, Christian studies/religious education, social studies or German. Natural science subjects: Biology or geography, Practical/aesthetic subjects: Visual art, home economics, textile design, sport, music and wood/metalwork. Each subject within the programme is concluded with an examination which may be oral, written, practical or as a combination of these forms.

The teacher education programs are like in most European countries - changing, and the latest change brought about a more competence-based curriculum[LAL2] , and it is to be discussed how this may influence the foundation for teacher judgment.

Didaktik curricula

 

As mentioned above, the existing teacher education is belongs to a Didaktik curriculum, in which aims are defined as general directions in an open-ended way as opposed to a Curriculum culture where goals are pre-defined considering what a student should be able to know and do. These traditions seems to have different (implicit) understandings of both knowledge, learning and pedagogy and consequently leading to different conceptions of teaching, the role of the teacher and which knowledge considered to be relevant for the teacher. If teachers’ judgments primarily are considered to be drawing on and applying evidence to make an overall judgment about a student’s progress and achievement etc., judgment might be assisted by guidance for teachers on the types of information and the definitions of achievement they can bring to bear on making the judgment to increase the dependability of the judgments, but this must not be the case within the Didaktik curricular.

Student teachers in Denmark have in the teacher education been presented for theories about educational planning, didactic, developmental psychology and view of human beings, just like cooperation with parents, the school as an organization in society etc. as well the school subjects, as it has been an expectation that the professions knowledgebase was a sufficient prerequisite to ensure a professional practice, but lately doubt has been articulated. Knowledge is not considered sufficient, competences have been seen as the answer, partly as a political required response, since educational programmes in Denmark are rewritten to fulfill EU expectations order to make the various qualifications transparent, understandable and comparable, so it is to be described in terms of learning outcomes in accordance with the recommendation of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) to mean the formal outcome.

Competence

The definitions of competence, knowledge and skills is described in the context of the European Qualifications Framework( http://ec.europa.eu/eqf/terms_en.htm)  but the relationship between them is not stated: Competence is described in terms of responsibility and autonomy. “(i)‘competence’ means the proven ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and/or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and personal development “ so competence refers to the use of knowledge, where as “(g) ‘knowledge’ means the outcome of the assimilation of information through learning. Knowledge is the body of facts, principles, theories and practices that is related to a field of work or study. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, knowledge is described as theoretical and/or factual; (h) ‘skills’ means the ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, skills are described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking) or practical (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments). This implies that students during teacher education must be able to relate skills and knowledge to be competent, in order to (act) responsible.

It is stated that Learning outcomes should be externally verifiable: “The formulations are to be chosen such that it can be determined during an evaluation process if the learner has achieved the learning outcomes”. Further, it is stated, that the formulations must be focused on the results/outcomes, not the processes (teacher’s perspective) as well as it is stated, that each learning outcome is” observable and be externally verifiable”.(Gabriele Grün (ibw), Sabine Tritscher-Archan (ibw), Silvia Weiß (ibw) in co-operation with the ZOOM partnership (www.zoom-eqf.eu) October 2009). This policy indicates partly an understanding of competences conceived as observable (since it has to be described as observable) and such an understanding of learning outcomes seems to reflects an understanding of pedagogy that is closer to the curriculum thinking, that the Didaktik understanding, but competences is defined as linked to responsibility – and this open for a (value laden) discussion about what it actually means to be responsible as a teacher and which skills and knowledge this may require. It is then to be expected that different views on what effects the teacher's professional judgments may be reflected in pedagogical and organizational  teacher training : Should it be evidence-based, competency oriented, more / less theoretical, more / less practice-oriented or more / less internship?

Judgment and educational planning

 

Since judgment and what influence judging - are complex matters - and calls for the involvement of various scientific traditions from philosophy to psychology to explanations of rational action, it is relevant, to study since:

  1. Teachers (apparently) do not take optimal decisions when teaching and planning. (Since it is in general is questioned at national level why too few students in school deliver “optimal output”in tests)
  2. Newly educated teachers report to be in doubt about how to act and deal with practical challenges. (Teacher education does not provide sufficient advice and “know how” to students)
  3.  It is an ongoing discussion which (content) knowledge is adequate to inform teachers’ acting and decision-making. (The content knowledge of teacher training, and the relationship between theory and practice)

This calls for both practical didactical, pedagogical and theoretical reflection and discussion of how the connections between a., b. and c. are regarded in teacher education and theories of learning. Since it is impossible to examine how a teacher reasons when acting and teaching, we are just able to observe how she acts and judges the implications of these actions, it is impossible to get a direct glimpse of what forms the basis for the individual's actions in an actual context, why observations have to be supplemented by interviews about recognized justifications for actions, teachers concrete beliefs, and theories to explain the phenomenon : professional judgments.

Knowledge.

Professional acting is expected to be guided by the professional’s knowledge base , partly developed through theory and partly by practice, which create a huge interest in studies of the relationship between theory and practice within teacher education.(reference) The term knowledge can be described and characterized in many ways, among these in distinctions between propositional knowledge, which underpins professionals action and practical know-how which is seen as inherent into the action itself – process knowledge. These distinction is articulated in different ways over time . Ryle (1949) used the term “Knowing that” and “Knowing How”, but already ancient Artistoles made distinction with reference to the Greek words: Epistêmê : knowledge, and technê: translated as either craft or art. These translations may harbor some contemporary assumptions about the relation between theory (the domain of ‘knowledge’) and practice (the concern of ‘craft’ or ‘art’). This assumes, that theory is conducted at so great a distance from practice, that it can lose touch with it. Within science, theory strives for a value-free view of reality. “As a consequence, scientific theory cannot tell us how things should be — the realm of ‘art’ or ‘craft’ … However, some of the features of this contemporary distinction between theory and practice are not found in the relation between epistêmê and technê.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) Thou Aristotle distinct between epistêmê as pure theory and technê as practice, he refers to technê or craft as itself also epistêmê or knowledge because it is a practice grounded in an ‘account’ — something involving theoretical understanding. “The relation, then, between epistêmê and technê in ancient philosophy offers an interesting contrast with notions about theory (pure knowledge) and (experience-based) practice. This might neglect, the intimate positive relationship between epistêmê and technê, as well as a fundamental contrast.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

So the term knowledge is to cover more than propositional knowledge. Along this line Polanyi (1967) invented the term “tacit knowledge”, trying to explain the difficulties in translating “knowing how” to “knowing that”. (Later studies of professions action by D. Schön indicates the difficulties in transforming knowledge by the terms “knowing in action” and “knowledge in action” confirm this challenge). We assume that professional knowledge covers both “theoretical” and “practical” knowledge, the interesting point here is, to widen understanding of the kind of knowledge which influence teachers judging and how it may refer to students educational knowledge? And how is it to judge knowledge to be true or relevant?

From knowing in action to knowledge in action

 

Knowledge in action covers decision making and reasoning. Saras D. Sarasvarthy is studying opportunity recognitions, opportunity discovery and opportunity creation , and holds, that this process is not to be understood as a rational and goal directed process. The theory of effectual (as opposed to causal) reasoning has recently been developed in entrepreneurship by Saras D. Sarasvarthy. She explain how entrepreneurs make decisions when exploiting opportunities for creation hitherto non-existent economic artifacts - before there are products and firms, there is human imagination, and the creation of creative outputs is linked to action and beliefs. In case of an entrepreneurial opportunity the “things favorable” consist of two categories: a. belief about the future and b. action based on those beliefs. There might be some similarities between the field of entrepreneurship and teaching, when it comes to decision- as the entrepreneur the (creative) teacher has to discover and recognize opportunities when judging and acting on the judgments.

The study of opportunity recognitions, opportunity discovery and opportunity creation is not to be understood as a rational and goal directed process, explained by the existence of two different types of reasoning: causation and effectuation. In the first case we compared the process of causation by a teacher who prepare his lecture with a predefined structure, knowing exactly where to start and how to end the lecture, and follows this prescription, directing him by witch material to use and how to deal with in. ( It is like a chef who begins by a predetermined menu, list the ingredient needed , shops for them, and cooks the meal). In the second instance the teachers is aware of the students in the actual classroom, examine the situation and the resources available to him and act on this basis. (Like a chef who looks through the cupboards in the kitchen for possible ingredients and fashions a meal using them – this is the process of effectuation). The distinguishing characteristic between causation and effectuation lies in the set of choices: Choosing between means to create at particular effect, versus choosing between many possible effects using a given set of means. Both causations and effectuation are integral parts of human reasoning that can occur simultaneously, overlapping and intertwining over different contexts of decisions and actions. Studies within entrepreneurship indicate that causation processes are effect-dependent, while effectuation processes are actor-dependent.(kilde..) It is related to means for effectuation: how the actors see themselves, who they are, what they know and whom they know – there traits, tastes and abilities, the knowledge corridors they are in and the social networks they are part of, and we have reasons to believe, this may be true for teachers as well.

Effectuation creates different outcomes and varieties, it creates a plurality of ends. This is related to the logic of control – the logic of prediction states : to the extent we predict the future we can control it – (ex. foreseeing and estimate how the students will react on given means) and on behalf of it form the basis for strategic decisions. Effectuation, operates on the logic – to the extent that we can control the future we do not need to predict it. In education it is related to an assumption, that it is possible to convince the students about the need for learning etc. – to create commitment and collaboration. This does however not implicate that the normative superiority of effectuation over causation or control over prediction, but it indicates a decision domain, that involves the absence of predictive rationality, pre-existing goals and it is a combination of uncertainty, goal ambiguity and enactment (kilde side 13). What is questioned here is the pre-existence of goal to direct actions, bearing in mind there may be a variety of purposes that are not given a priori. This indicates that the goals and strategies are in an intrinsically dynamic process, - actions may be creative. The concept “effectuation” tries to explain actions in domains where there are no pre-existing universes of possibilities to explore, instead it creates a universe, often unintentionally, by acts of human imagination. This transformation processes, that involves entrepreneurial effectuation, clams to be ignored in many economic and managements theories of strategic management within this research field, and this may as well be the fact within the field of education referring to classroom management etc. (This may inspire to see the teacher as much as a creators as a classroom manager, indication the need to support processes to train “opportunity recognition” to enhance pedagogical innovation) .

From knowing to doing

 

The notion, that opportunity recognitions and opportunity creation is not to be understood as a rational and goal directed process directed purely by causation challenge the notions of the evidence-based practice (EBP) (or maybe better -evidence informed or evidence aware practice) and its consequences for teaching . The EBP agenda is spread to Denmark from Britain, indicating that teachers must “do what they know will work”, and this knowing must come from the fact, that the practice is evidence based, and not primarily experience based. The “hidden” assumption behind EBP is, that the teacher may learn to act/or act - in a goal directed manner, following the logic of caucation. The overall goals are not to be questioned, and it is linked to different methods to guarantee a quality boost within education.

But in Britain there is a growing realization that simple models of research-into- practice as either descriptions or prescriptions is complicated. In general EBP have some exemplifications such as :a. There should be some agreements on what count as evidence in what circumstances; b. A strategy of creating evidence in priority areas in the form of robust bodies of knowledge; c. Such evidence should be actively disseminate at most needed, and made available for possibly use.(KILDE) And at policy level: d. Strategies should be put in place to ensure the integration of evidence into policy and encourage the utilization of evidence in practice. These exemplifications and the difficulties to ensure this,  has added to a greater understanding of some of the inter-linkages between a –d and this policy and approach has received some sustained critique: “Policy players and service delivery managers are recognizing that devising better mechanism for pushing research information out (dissemination) is having only limited success and are seeking more effective ways of implementing EBP types of research.”

As a side effect this policy has raised the awareness of the existence of different types of knowledge; conceptual frameworks; different types of research utilization as well as models of processes linked to the use of knowledge which has proven to influence the (intended) evidence-based practice. EBP has focused on the question of ”what works” to meet policy goals (such as better test result, more silent classrooms etc). But since professional knowledge also is including knowledge about “ know-how”, “know – who” and “know-why”  this becomes a challenge to the implementation, since this kind of knowledge has not always been explicit, and consequently, it can be seen as if custom and practices are not effective: “This embedded nature, makes in a potential barrier to EBP implementation.”(128) This means, that the relationship and link between explicit and “tacit” knowledge becomes visual when trying to separate declarative knowledge – (explicit knowledge to be expressed) and procedural knowledge, (which means the knowledge indicating you know how to do something, indication, that thou it is not radially articulated) and it becomes clear, that “tacit” knowledge may inform practice and “productivity”.

Teacher judgment is interwoven with teachers’ practice, teachers make decision both when acting and before action. There does not seem to be a simple sense in which explicit and implicit knowledge can be integrated. Knowledge use is related to learning within a context (and a community of practice), and new knowledge is shaped by the learner’s pre-existing knowledge and experience, and how she frames it (DEWEY). Knowledge use is a part of a knowledge re-conceptualization process, that explains why evidence of what work in a particular field is not easy to translate appropriately into actual practice if it has to be remove from one context to another, since there is a complex knowledge transformations process involved. New knowledge is poured into a mould of prior understanding, and it may not correspond with the readers conception of a study, leading to misunderstanding and misuse.

To expect research based “knowledge” to be utilized in teacher training and effect change in behavior , leading to more efficient education processes may on behalf of these assumptions sound a bit naïve. According to (Weiss, 1998) effect is most likely where the research findings are non-controversial ; require only limited change and will be implemented within a supportive environment. But, according to Weiss, research seems to have an effect by offering new concepts. It can offer insight and ideas and new understanding of practice, even if it is not used directly, so conceptual use of research represent a substantial and important category. This means we must be aware of how research knowledge is interpreted in the context of the teaching culture (the community) , the profession knowledge and the teacher students self-awareness.

The EBP practice also points at a knowledge power dynamic leading to questions as: Who holds the position to define the correct interpretation and the correct solution to given problems, indicating people’s actions are goal directed and rational, and implicit that “the future is possibly to calculate”, but when it comes to students reaction and response on subjects, the teacher has to operate in a very complex setting.  It is problematic if explicit knowledge is regarded as objective knowledge while tacit knowledge is regarded as subjective, but also to reject the importance and relevance of research within education, bearing in mind, that: “Knowledge creation, just as much as its utilization, is socially and politically constrained, and this in turns suggest a need to investigate whether practice is more a case of “from doing to knowing” (the social construction of knowledge) rather than from knowing to doing” (rational EBP models). (S.129)

In order to influence teachers’ judgment within education it is important trying to understand how teacher students conceptualize problems in relation to existing knowledge . If the intention is to bridge and widen understanding by research it may offer new frames for understanding leading to reflective practice, but it might be depending on the actual actor, the student, if it is to be succeeded. In order to illustrate how and on which background teachers make judgments we will refer to a Ph.D. dissertation (Lindhart 2007) which give us some indication of how the teachers’ personal identity serve a frame for situation interpretation and as a tacit disposition for selection of choices - judgments.

How does teachers frame lessons socially, define norms for interaction, and plan her/his lessons?

 

This qualitative study took place 2002 - 2006 and involved three newly trained teachers during their first 1½ year of employment with the aim to examine the influence of the teacher training on the teachers’ subsequent practice. Four times during the period lessons were video recorded, and immediately after completion of each lesson the respective teacher and the interviewer watched the video clarifying the origin of activities and actions, which aspects drew the teacher’s attention and why, and relate the teachers’ actions and judgments to teacher education and previous life as such. Each of these sessions ended up in a semi structured interview focussing (1) on the teacher’s participation in social practices during life such as family, kindergarten, friends, sport activities, schools, present life outside school etc., (2) on the teacher’s participation in his/her teacher education and (3) on questions which arose on background of previous interviews. The main foci during interviews and observations were threefold: (a) How did the teacher frame the lessons socially? How did he/she define and establish norms for interaction? (b) How did the teacher plan and prepare his/her lessons? (c) How did the teacher communicate the subject in question? Here, the key concept was pedagogical content knowledge (Shulman 1986). All interviews were transcribed and interviews and videos analysed. In the project protocol interviews and videos were compared as well in relation to the teachers’ similarities and differences at a specific moment of their employment, as in relation to the individual teacher’s development over time.

The findings related to (b) and (c) above were somehow trivial in their accordance to findings in the past. The newly trained teachers planned and prepared lessons after whatever means were available - no sophisticated didactic models were applied, and when choosing their examples, metaphors, illustrations and the like they referred to their previous teachers in school and college (in accordance with f.i. Lortie (1975)). One may say that in these respects they acted along a traditional line; somehow they didn’t plan or teach taking the student into account, rather they repeated what was done in the past. They reproduced the teaching tradition they had co-opted in the past in order to control the future.

The way they framed the lessons socially was far more interesting eo ipso they approached the framing in most different ways, respectively through structure, through authority and through relations. And furthermore, it was evident how these tacit choices of framing was related to the teachers participation in social practices in the past, how they lived their lives outside school at present, and their view on “bildung”, i.e. how they wanted to influence the children in order to help them getting a good life.

One male teacher (Stig) explained that he had chosen to be a teacher after discussions with his fiancée: “The holidays are pretty long and the salaries are not that bad”. Children were never a part of his arguments. He imagined a teacher as a technician who mastered a range of methods and techniques. Consequently, during his education he didn’t find interest in subjects such as ethics, psychology, pedagogy, etc.; it was all irrelevant. Consequently, he prioritized his presence in the subject lessons, his way of participation, with whom he formed groups (he matched up with a girl who was knowledgeable within the theoretical part, and he took care of the practical aspects), and worked as a substitute at a number of schools. The teacher education was relevant to him in the case it prescribed methods or the teacher training lessons were exemplary of school lessons.

After finishing his education and being employed at a primary school he prepared and conducted his lessons in a tight structured way. When the children (grade one) appeared in the morning they had to place their bags under a rack along the wall, take what they needed from their bags and boxes, go to their desk and place pencils etc. and place them in the desk groove “because otherwise they will roll and make noise”. All lessons were structured in the same way, and he applied a behavioristic classroom management based on formulated rules and sanctions. Furthermore, he explained that his own preparation for lessons followed a specific routine in a way that he felt “almost boring”. Every day before he left school he prepared himself for the next day, copied materials which had to be copied for the next day, and placed them in the classroom ready for use. He described how he structured his everyday life in order to keep track of his activities. His aim with his teaching was to give his students “good habits, because good habits will help them to get a good life.” He described his father as a stickler for order. There appears a clear relationship between the way he framed his teaching through structuring, his aims with the children, and his previous and present life. By strictly structured planning and an implementation based on formulated rules and well known consequences every student knew what to expect, but there was no room for the unexpected, the exhilarating moment. The teacher training never shook his self-image or lay belief which he brought into education, and after 1½ year of service his practice didn’t show any kind of change either.

 

The other male teacher (Rolf) wanted to become a teacher because he liked being together with children. When referring to his own teachers in school he pointed to a male teacher whom he somehow feared, but respected. Rolf grew up in a little fishing village in a remote part of the country permeated by traditional values, and he stated how “you had to show your parents respect” and the teachers too, “and respect, definitely we had respect” which “children is lacking today”.

In the classroom his social framing stressed authority in form of respect. The students had to show the teacher, classmates and any other person respect. When the children’s behavior collided with his personal norms and in this way showed disrespect, he reacted with immediate and strong consequence. He insisted that the children showed similar respect to each other in the classroom, and he himself approached the children in a respectful way. Authority and respect framed the social setting, and as a teacher he considered it important to teach the children respect. Furthermore, it was not only in the classroom, that the question of respect showed up. It was a basic aspect of how he looked into life values as such. During a meeting with the parents a mother started to read from a prepared paper in a harsh way; the teacher stopped her saying: “I address You in a friendly way so I will appreciate if You do the same to me.” There were no formulated rules guiding the framing in the classroom, only Rolf’s norms which over time developed into tacit rules. He didn’t try to structure future teaching or practice; he believed in his own capacity to control the open situations. Over 1½ year he developed new ideas about teaching and received invitations from other schools in order to talk about his approaches.

The female teacher (Camilla) became a teacher as a calling, a mission in life. “There are so many things children will have to cope with, and I think that I am able to help them with that.” She looked upon her duty as a teacher to second the children in their development into human beings capable of living their lives as democratic citizens. Consequently, her concept of relevance during the teacher education was completely the opposite of the one Stig had. She found ethics and other theoretical aspects relevant. She never left for temporarily employment, but attended the teacher education thoroughly, formed groups with people with whom she disagreed in order to develop her insights, was engaged in the work of the students’ council etc.

In the initial teaching Camilla framed the social setting through her relations to the students. She expressed that even if she wanted to, she was not able to formulate rules and stick to them. After school hours she took the students to the cinema, to the outdoor pool in town and arranged a party for the class, and she even conducted extra classes after school hours for interested students. She showed interest in their lives outside school, so “they notice my interest, and more than just being able to spell the word interest.”  Her choice of texts for lessons in the subject Danish dealt with social issues such as acting as a friend etc. She seriously wanted to develop their social competence. Apparently, social life, friend and family played a central role in her daily life. Most her free time she spent working among young people, she had been actively involved in students’ council and in an international youth exchange programme. She was an outgoing person, socially competent and intended to frame her lessons socially based on positive relations between her and the students. It didn’t work due to a difficult class and lack of support from school management and colleague teachers, after completion of her first year of service; she shifted to another school in another town. Framing the social settings based on relations she succeeded, and developed her teaching in collaboration with dedicated colleagues.

There are a couple of lessons to be learned from the three cases. Firstly, there were obvious differences in the ways the three teachers framed their classrooms based on structure, authority or relations. But for each of them similarity within their social framing in the classroom, the ways they lived their lives outside school, the aims for their students’ personal development and their own personal life trajectory. They all knew what they were doing, but it didn’t come to their minds that other approaches existed. Their personal values somehow made the choice.

Secondly, the social framing facilitated and limited other judgements. The structure, rules and sanctions which constituted the social frame for Stig’s teaching gave limited scope for judgments. He followed mainly a process of causation, - and remarkably he didn’t change his practice in 1½ year: he did not learn from his experience. One may find an analogy by Bateson (1972), who described a player playing in accordance to van Neumann’s game theory. “By definition, the “player” is capable of all computations necessary to solve whatever problems the events of the game may present; he is incapable of not performing these computations whenever they are appropriate; he always obeys the findings of his computations. Such a “player” receives information from the events of the game and acts appropriately upon that information. But his learning is limited to what is here called zero learning.” On the other hand we find Rolf guided by his own norms. His teaching had more similarities with effectuation as to the fact that his framing was less rigid. He was prepared for the lessons, but was to a higher degree open towards the situation and the behavior of each individual child. It may appear that he of this reason got more possibilities for development.

Thirdly, the teacher education did not challenge their values and lay believes in radical ways. Why did their teacher education only leave vague traces in their practice? The study did give some hints on this. Apart from the constructivist explanation that their preexisting beliefs, values etc. formed their own subsequent constructs, it was an eye-opener to notice how different their learning trajectories through teacher training were, and that these trajectories somehow were a consequence of the individual teacher’s grounds for becoming a teacher, and of their self-images as trained teachers. Subjects or part of subjects were considered relevant in the cases where the student teacher was able to relate the content (or activity) to his or her image of teacher practice. The learning trajectories of the student teachers were different in several respects, and the differences were linked to the code relevant/not relevant. Their lay beliefs, values and self-images as teachers guided their way through the teacher education in a way which prevented conflicts between these aspects and other ways to look upon themselves and themselves as teachers. Their basic worldview was in principle unchanged and unchallenged, and their professional practice was by and large based on their personal beliefs and values and the self-images they brought to the teacher education. Is it a problem? Somehow not, it may even be looked upon as an advantage, in that children will meet a wide range of teachers with a wide range of values. But the professional practice is based upon the teachers’ personal judgments which will have to rely on sound beliefs and values. Too much subjectivity may undermine the professional judgment.

 Conclusions/findings

According to this Ph.d. study the teacher students’ values are governing how they participate in the teacher education programme, choose assignment groups and interpret the content of the specific courses and of the teacher education programme as such. Given that the teacher’s ability to assess a situation is crucial for how she acts, how she perceives children, frames the situation and defines the problem, interprets the role of the teacher, and consequently her appearance as a teacher, judgement is a prerequisite for teacher competence.

This research indicates, that the teacher’s knowledge is embedded in the actors. Knowledge as such may be transferred to the students “in small packets” - separated subject- but the students interpretations of the subject is influenced by the – more or less – conscious decisions the students makes when studying, and the selection is influence by a number of factors, which guarantees the students conception of the subject may differ. As the studies within entrepreneurship indicated -causation processes are effect-dependent, while effectuation processes are actor-dependent related to means for effectuation: how the actors see themselves, who they are, what they know and whom they know – there traits, tastes and abilities and the social networks they are part of influenced the social setting.

Along this line we share a pragmatic understanding of knowledge, represented among others, by John Dewey. He sees people as agents , experimenting and concerned in a way, which may influence the action when acting, and stress, that situation in which we act is not an object or event in isolation, but object in connection with a contextual entity, in which a situation can be viewed as a disturbance and breakdown, experience must be the basis for knowing—and experience is gained in an active process. He is emphasizing active engagement with nature or experience as the source of useful staging areas from which problematic situations are resolved through a coevolution of the situation and the inquirer (Dewey, 1917/1981, p. 63).

 It is complicated to judge and evaluate how experience/knowledge from other situations is trasnformed to the actual acting, in judging a problematic situation. As (kilde states) pragmatic thinking is thinking toward future consequences rather than back toward the premises of the past and choosing among potential consequences when acting in the present . It highlights the future, and the forward looking character of human experience.

What is to be questioned here is if competence based teacher education or EBP in itself will change the fundaments for students judgments, by ignoring the active and future oriented character of knowledge use knowledge building, and its link to earlier experiences . It is linked to the assumptions of pre-existence of goal linked to means and methods to direct actions, but ignoring, there may be a varieties of purposes that are not given a priori. We stated, along this line, the distinguishing characteristic between causation and effectuation which lies in the set of choices: Choosing between means to create at particular effect, versus choosing between many possible effects using a given set of means. We assumed that both causations and effectuation are integral parts of human reasoning that can occur simultaneous, overlapping and intertwining over different contexts of decisions and actions. Effectuation creates different outcomes and variety and it involves the absence of predictive rationality, pre-existing goals and it is a combination of uncertainty, goal ambiguity and enactment .

Understanding knowing as an active practice stress the link between knowledge and practice. But this does – on the other hand - not implead one should dismiss theory and science from teacher education, but bear in mind, that theory is another form for practice, which may opens up new aims. Problem solving may lead to a process of inquiry aiming a ease doubt . Inquiry  for Dewey is a mean to an active reduction of a problematic situation to reduce uncertainty, to such an extent, that next action can be taken.  Kilde states, that theory and practice are, therefore, “different phases of a stretch of intelligent inquiry,” with one emphasizing thinking, planning, and evaluating, and the other principally involved with executing the resulting insights (Hickman, 1990, p. 111).

 Reflection alone cannot hope to resolve the issues of a contingent world. However, “in a complicated and perverse world, action which is not informed with vision, imagination, and reflection, is more likely to increase confusion and conflict than to straighten things out” (Dewey, 1917/1981, p. 95).

Stating, as Dewey, there are more than rational and analytical decision making, indicating that the goals and strategies are in an intrinsically dynamic process, - actions may be creative. The assumption is, that creative intelligence of humans develops in knowing and experiencing and in this active way improves their ability to achieve some level of control over the contingencies of life.(Kilde)

These theoretical positions indicate the close connection between acting, knowing and reflection, which are mixed when “judging in action” as well as the subjective element in the construction and explanation for action and judgement.

As Klafki argues, there are values and abilities which cannot directly induce by didactical action and thus didactical theory cannot provide the practitioner with rules and “means”, which guarantee that instruction will produce these abilities.” But he stresses why teachers may learn to be critical and to examine ideology and reasons for goals and objectives within education, and this may include examinations of how and why research knowledge is created and during which circumstances it seems to be relevant and appropriate to guide his or her actions.

 As stated, it is problematic if explicit knowledge is regarded as objective knowledge as well as tacit knowledge is regarded as purely subjective. Dewey posited that there is an objective reality, characterized by its completeness and order, and through science, we could discover facts about that reality, as well as he stated, that all scientific inquiries are natural, situational, grounded in problems, integrations of theory and practice, and evaluative. The challenge is, as stated by Hickman, that the contingent, experiential world gives the space and the incentive to attempt to look ahead to the probable consequences of freely chosen actions and make decisions that exert some degree of control over those consequences. Knowing in an experienced world then becomes instrumental to rearranging it and giving it a form that is more useful to our purposes. Knowing in this sense takes place experimentally inside experienced situations and consequently the knowing that arises from inquiry cannot be separated from the “practice that gives rise to it in each particular situation” (Hickman, 1990, p. 38).in. – tjek kilde

So evidence based knowledge may be useful for teachers as well as teacher students and there are competences teachers has to develop, to be qualified as teachers. It is problematic if identifications of relevant teacher competences and professional knowledge is regarded as value free knowledge, since this leads to the belief, that identification of relevant scientific knowledge as means to guide teachers actions reduce the importance of critical reflections within teaching. This understanding underestimates the link between creation of knowledge, the field and the (political) context in which is it created, and this might not be questioned within teacher education. To be a competent teacher also imply to be ‘Bilded’/educated/formatted and this imply critical reflection regarding ethical and educational (dannelsesmæssige) objects, and this imply criteria for use of knowledge to be able to come up with a qualified answer for “why?” bearing in mind, that when choosing certain goals for their students others means neglecting others. This is to be framed within the Didaktik tradition, but these reflections does not look to come up and be considered as relevant for all students unless it is liked by critical examination within school context and the community the students take participate in, otherwise Didaktik as subject may as well be considered as irrelevant, though competence in general is described in terms of responsibility and autonomy. (“(i)‘competence’ means the proven ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and/or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and personal development )“

The actual judgment when teaching and planning shows to be linked to individuals values, so judging is to be developed through education, bearing in mind that the difference between effectuation and causation. So if the teacher educations does not seem to be particular apparent behind teachers acting and judging we may not draw the conclusion indicating teacher does not have the (correct/relevant) knowledge, maybe it is due to the fact, that professional judgment, is to essential to be left unquestioned and to be learned in isolation. Consequently, it is of importance that values are being challenged in the teacher education programme since accordingly, values are framing the students’ overall acquired learning and their subsequent actions in practice.

Kilde:

 

Reclaiming John Dewey : Democracy, Inquiry, Pragmatism, and Public Management DOI: 10.1177/00953990022019452 Karen G. Evans

Administration & Society 2000 32: 308

Putting Educational Research to Use Through Knowledge Transformation: Keynote Lecture to the Further Education Research Network Conference, Coventry, 12 December 2000

Strategy and entrepreneurship: Outlines of an untold story: Saras D. Sarasvarthy, S. Venkataraman in Strategic Handbook ed. Hitt et.al. 2000)

Source: Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education - Eurypedia (Eurypedial is a comprehensive descriptions of 38 European education systems, usually at national level).

https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fpfis/mwikis/eurydice/index.php/Denmark:Initial_Education_for_Teachers_Working_in_Early_Childhood_and_School_Education

Bekendtgørelse om uddannelsen til professionsbachelor som lærer i folkeskolen [Regulation on the Bachelor of Education], BEK nr 408 af 11/05/2009.

(Gundem/Stefan Hopmann(2002 )

the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) to mean the formal outcome . The definitions of competence, knowledge and skills is described in the context of the European Qualifications Framework( http://ec.europa.eu/eqf/terms_en.htm)

http://ibw4.m-services.at/zoom/pdf/wp2/Guidelines_EN_final_2.pdf (can Guidelines for the Description of Learning Outcomes Gabriele Grün (ibw), Sabine Tritscher-Archan (ibw), Silvia Weiß (ibw) in co-operation with the ZOOM partnership (www.zoom-eqf.eu) October 2009

 

 

Klafki, W. (2002). Characteristics of critical-constructive didaktik. In Gundem, B.B. & Hopmann, S. (2002). Didaktik and/or Curriculum, New York: Peter Lang

Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Ballentine Books.

Lortie, D.C. (1975). Schoolteacher. University of Chicago Press

Shulman, L. (1987). Knowledge and Teaching. Harvard Educational Review nr. 57 1-22

Strategy and entrepreneurship: Outlines of an untold story: Saras D. Sarasvarthy, S. Venkataraman in Strategic Handbook ed. Hitt et.al. 2000

Dewey, J. (1997). Democracy and Education. New York :The Free Press.

Putting Educational Research to Use Through Knowledge Transformation: Keynote Lecture to the Further Education Research Network Conference, Coventry, 12 December 2000


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 [LAL2]Ifølge Mirriam-Webster: Ental: curriculum, flertal: curricula, hvorimod curricular: noget, der har med curriculum at gøre. Har prøvet at rette i overensstemmelse med min læsning af indholdet