Knowledge of Educational Theory and the Development of Professional Competencies in Teacher Training
Debates on how teacher training might be improved often focus on the balance between theory and practice. Critics frequently argue that university training programmes lack practical relevance. The BILWISS project takes this discussion as its point of departure, while adopting a divergent theoretical perspective. Drawing on psychological theories of learning, the researchers posit that the academic knowledge acquired by trainees at university is fundamental to the subsequent development of their competencies. BILWISS will explore this assumption base on the actual curricula of Education Studies programmes. The project's underlying hypothesis is that Education Studies provides trainees with the conceptual framework that teachers require to adequately interpret and reflect on events in the classroom and at school, and to use these experiences to develop their competencies. To test this hypothesis a measuring instrument has been developed which allows researchers to directly and explicitly gauge the conceptual knowledge of trainees, and their ability to apply theory to specific situations.
The insight that researchers expect to gain through this study will have implications for the first phase of the teacher training programme.
Futher information on this study is available on the website hosted by Frankfurt University.
The study is confined to the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, as the on-going education reform process in this state promises to provide a wide range of training experiences among the participating trainees and, presumably, a high degreee of variability in their knowledge of educational science and research (a key criterion of the study).
Initially all 3,777 trainee teachers scheduled to begin practical training at primary as well as lower and upper non-vocational secondary schools in early 2011 were to participate in the study. Trainees were surveyed at the commencement of their practical training in order to gather descriptive data on the distribution of various conceptual aspects across the sample following the completion of their university studies.
The prognostic validity - i. e., the actual relevance of this conceptual knowledge - will be assessed by means of a longitudinal study which will track the trainees' professional development throughout their practical training and up until career entry. This longitudinal study will be conducted with a sub-sample of 900 trainee teachers drawn from the principle survey, which will be supplemented by smaller validation studies with other samples.
The study is a joint project involving the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Prof. Dr. Jügen Baumert), Frankfurt University (Prof. Dr. Mareike Kunter; Project Coordinator), the University of Duisburg-Essen (Prof. Dr. Detlev Leutner) and the University of Münster (Prof. Dr. Ewald Terhart).
Tasks of the IEA DPC in conducting the study
Maren Meyer-Everdt & Jan Torben Mahlmann
IEA Data Processing and Research Center
Phone: +49 40 48500 606/639
Fax: +49 40 48500 501