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EC Education and Training Cluster 'Teachers and Trainers' PLA

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EC Education and Training Cluster 'Teachers and Trainers' PLA Powered By Docstoc
					                             EC: Education and Training
                            Cluster ‘Teachers and Trainers’
                            PLA, Iceland, 21–24 June 2010
                            Teacher Educators – ICELAND

Questions for homework June 2010
1. Who are considered to be Teacher Educators in your country?
   To what extent are they a homogenous group?
   The short answer is that teacher educator is far from being a transparent concept in Iceland
   (the word does not even exist in the Icelandic language). It is very much a question of
   identity whether one considers one self to be teacher educator.
  All teachers at the Faculty of Teacher Education at University of Iceland as well as in four
  smaller universities that provide teacher education in the country are considered to be
  teacher educators regardless of their background. The subject teachers those who teach e.g.
  Mathematics, Icelandic, English or the Arts in other Schools or faculties at the Universities
  are normally not considered to be teacher educators and do probably not see themselves as
  such. However, a great number of their students eventually become teachers. The subject
  teachers’ professional identity is that of a university professional who sees him/her self
  first and foremost as a researcher within his/her field.
  At the Faculties of Education in addition to lecturers and professors there are ‘adjunct
  teachers’ that have been recruited as part time teachers from schools to strengthen the
  relationships between university and the field.
  Last but not least the mentors in the partnerships schools should be acknowledged as
  teacher educators. This applies to public teachers in pre-schools, primary schools, upper
  secondary schools and vocational education.
  As can be seen from the above teacher educators are by no means a homogeneous group
  not even within the Faculties of Education. Teacher Educators have different educational
  background: doctoral degrees, master’s degrees and some have a long experience working
  in schools whereas others have no experience from schools. Some are originally educated
  as teachers whereas others have had no such training and are not required to.

2. Is there a policy on Teacher Educators?
   If not, how does it work?
   Currently teacher education in Iceland is in a transition phase. All teacher education has
   taken place at Bachelor level or as one year Certification course following Bachelor
   degree. In June 2008 new legislation issues that from 2011 teacher education is a five year
   university study (Bologna 1st & 2nd cycle) for pre-schools, primary schools and secondary
   school teachers. This puts new demands on teacher education institutions and teacher
   educators and opens up the issue of reconstruction the content and structure of teacher
   education.
  There is an increasing weight within the Universities on that a doctoral degree should be
  required to teach at universities in Iceland regardless of School or Faculty. There are no
  extra requirements or a qualification policy for teacher educators not even the teachers
  within the Faculty of Teacher Education who are normally considered to be TE. There are
  no formal requirements for mentors in schools other than teacher qualification and no
  official policy on how mentors should be recruited.

3. To what extent are initial Teacher Education, continuous TE and continuing
   professional development seen as a coherent whole or totally separated undertakings?
   Initial teacher Education, and continuous TE are two separate undertakings.
   Continuous TE for primary and lower-secondary schools (grunnskoli) is organised by the
   municipalities sometimes in cooperation with the schools of Education. Many teachers at
   the Faculties of Education are heavily involved in CTE. Continuous TE for upper-
   secondary teachers is financed by the state and organized in cooperation with Teachers’
   Union. For a number of years teachers have been returning to universities to obtain a
   master degree either in the subject MA or in pedagogic fields M.Ed.
  First steps are being taken on behalf of the University of Iceland to narrow this gap and
  offer CT in closer cooperation with the Teacher Union and the public schools.

4. How are the different kinds of Teacher Educator referred to in
   policy documents about teacher education or the education system?
   Teacher educators do not hold special titles in policy documents. They are all university
   teachers except the teachers/mentors in schools. Teacher educators are university lectures,
   senior lecturers, professors and adjuncts and in schools there are mentors.

5. What are the competencies that Teacher Educators need?
   This is an important question with no simple answers, a question which should be at the
   centre of discussion at the PLA seminar.
  It seems that there should be a consensus amongst policy makers that Teacher Educators
  should besides academic qualification in their subject area have acquired some knowledge
  and understandings of Education theory, Pedagogies and schools. For example preferred
  competences should be related to Curriculum theory, pedagogic content knowledge, some
  teacher training is ideal and some skills in research methods in educational context.
  Who ensures that Teacher Educators acquire these?
  We have no standard competencies for teacher TE other than standard requirements for
  university teachers. (Actually Teachers Certificate was required in the faculty of the
  Iceland College of Education until the 1990s.)
  When applying for a university post applicants to go through a rigorous evaluation
  procedure primarily focusing on research skills. When applying for a post at Schools of
  Education applicants undergo the same procedure as in other Schools or Faculties.
  How homogeneous do they need to be?
  It is feasible to set some national or even international (e.g. European ) guidelines for
  teacher educators. But it is equally necessary to secure some flexibility considering the
  varieties within educational settings, system and schools. In international context it is
  important to take into consideration variations in educational histories and systems as well
  as cultural context. The bottom line is that education; especially teacher education; relates
  closely to cultural trajectories.

				
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