Conducting research in the field of teacher education: Challenges, pitfalls and important methodologies

Target audience

This specialist course targets all PhD students that have a connection with teacher education research. Both beginning PhD students and more advanced PhD students are welcome to participate. Participating PhD students are expected to be able to write a short summary on their PhD research in English before the course (see homework).

Organizing committee

  • Prof. dr. Ruben Vanderlinde
    Faculty: Psychology & Educational Sciences - Department: Educational Studies
    E-mail: Ruben.Vanderlinde@UGent.be
  • dr. Hanne Tack, hanne.tack@ugent.be (Department of Educational Studies – UGent)
  • Prof. dr. Kari Smith (NTNU, NAFOL – Norway) Institutt for lærerutdanning, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and NAFOL, Norway

Abstract

The three-day specialist course ‘Conducting research in the field of teacher education: Challenges, pitfalls and important methodologies’ focuses on (1) important challenges and pitfalls related to conducting research in the field of teacher education and on (2) important methodologies for the field of teacher education. Based on an evaluation of the current gaps in the field of teacher education research, there will be a focus on themes such as the professional development of teachers and teacher educators. Moreover, innovative research strategies and methodologies – that are rather unique for the field of teacher education research (as for instance social networking analysis and conducting a literature review) - will be presented. Finally, challenges with regard to writing and publishing in the field of teacher education research are covered. In so doing, this specialist course combines public lectures, research seminars, panel debates and networking activities. Unique for this course is its opportunity to meet, network and collaborate with Norwegian PhD students and professors.

Topic and theme

Teacher education is still a relatively new and relatively underdeveloped sub-field of educational research (Zeichner, 1999; Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2006; Lunenberg et al., 2014). To further the field, PhD studies on teacher education are of pivotal importance. With its specific focus on students doing a PhD in the field of teacher education, the specialist course ‘Conducting research in the field of teacher education: Challenges, pitfalls and important themes’, focuses on (1) important research methodologies for the field of teacher education, (2) important challenges and conditions of teacher education research. The specialist course combines public lectures from internationallly well-known speakers in the field of teacher education research (i.e. Prof. dr. Kari Smith, prof. dr. Ann MacPhail, and Prof. dr. Ruben Vanderlinde) with public lectures on promising research methodologies for the field of teacher education (i.e. dr. Laura Thomas and prof. dr. Frederik Mørk Røkenes). To deepen the participating PhD students their expertise and make clear connections to their on-going PhD studies, these public lectures are further complemented with research seminars, reflection sessions and networking opportunities (see programme)

Objectives

This course targets PhD students:
- to develop new theoretical knowledge on the emerging field of research in teacher education;
- to discuss methodological challenges and other pitfalls related to their PhD research;
- to engage in international discussions, both with PhD students in the field, as well as with leading experts in teacher education research;
- to present and disseminate their research findings (science communication to an expert audience);
- to get involved in national and international collaboration;
- to advance insight in the quality of the publication output of PhD students.
These objectives of the specialist course imply that participating doctoral students are required to:
1. Critically reconsider the possible challenges and pitfalls related to teacher education research in general, and to their PhD project in particular;
2. Reflexively position their role as researcher in teacher education in relation to policy and practice and how their research projects can possibly inform/improve both policy and practice.

Format

The programme will combine a series of 5 public lectures, research seminars and requires homework before the course (also see Tentative programme).
Public lectures. Five (guest) lecturers will discuss possible challenges for research, policy, and practice in the context of teacher education. Within these lectures, special attention will be given to possible challenges, pitfalls, and important themes in the emerging field of research on teacher education. The public lecturers are a rich combination of (1) thematical keynotes (see the lectures of prof. dr. Vanderlinde and prof. dr. Kari Smith), (2) methodological lectures (see the lecture of prof. dr. Røkenes and dr. Thomas) and (3) a dissemination and publication lecture (see the lecture of prof. dr. Ann MacPhail).
Research seminars. Based on insights that are introduced during the public lectures, doctoral students are encouraged to present their own current doctoral research projects during the research seminars. In order to stimulate theirreflectivity about their role as researchers in relation to evolving policy and practice, they are enabled to frame their theoretical as well as methodological frame of reference, and to discuss complexities and ambiguities that are emerging during their research process. During the research seminars, the international guest speakers as well as members of the organising scientific committee will give feedback on their work.
Panel debate. A panel debate is organised about assessing a dissertation in teacher education. The panel team include all public lecture speakers as well as the local organising team. The panel leaves room for questions from the participating students.
Homework before the course. Students are required to submit (1) an abstract about their research project (about 500 words), (2) a summary of their research questions and methodology (about 500 words), and (3) challenges/questions related to writing a dissertation/publishing in the field of teacher education.

Lecturers

Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde is a professor at the Department of Educational Studies at Ghent University in Belgium. Prof. dr. Vanderlinde is the coordinator of the research group ‘Teacher Education & Professional Development’, and currently responsible for the Teacher Education programme of Ghent University. He teaches “Educational Innovation” and “Pedagogy of Teaching” at the bachelors and masters of Educational Sciences, and “Teaching Methodology” in the Teacher Education programme at Ghent University. His research interests are in the field of educational innovation, teacher induction, teacher education and training, professional development, and the integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in education.

Prof. dr. Kari Smith (NTNU, Norway) has acted as the Head of Teacher Education programs abroad as well as at the University of Bergen in Norway. From 2015, she is the Head of the Norwegian National Research School in Teacher Education (NAFOL) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). She has been active in the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI), previously as the Coordinator for the Assessment and Evaluation SIG (1) and till August 2015 as the Coordinator for Teaching and Teacher Education SIG 11. She is a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the International Study Association for Teachers and Teaching (ISATT), the International Forum For Teacher Educator Development (InFo-TED) and sits on a number of international editorial boards for journals in teacher education and assessment.

Prof. dr. Frederik Mørk Røkenes works as an associate professor in English Didactics at the Department for Teacher Education (ILU) at NTNU) and conducts research on student teachers’ digital competence in teacher education. He is well known for his PhD course in literature reviews at the University of Bergen. He is also the coordinator for the Kompetanse for Kvalitet English 1 and English 2 Take Credit programme, course instructor and instructional designer of two online courses in English didactics. In addition, he is the course coordinator and instructor of the Master’s course ‘Digital Competence’. Furthermore, he is the leader of the research group New Technologies and Educational Design and always in for collaboration with PhD students, master students and fellow researchers on projects related to digital technologies in education.

Prof. dr. Ann MacPhail works at the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences and was the Head of the Department from August 2012 to August 2017. Prof. dr. MacPhail is Associate Editor for the journal Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education. Ann is also Associate Editor Revista Pedagogica ADAL / ADAL Pedagogy Journal. Dr. MacPhail is also council member of InFo-TED, the International Forum for Teacher Educator Development and publishes widely on this topic in different international peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Laura Thomas obtained her PhD degree in August 2019 by studying the social network of beginning primary school teachers using social network analysis. Her PhD study resulted in five quantitative and mixed methods studies. Methodologically, Dr. Thomas has strong expertise on social network analysis, an analytical strategy which is quite innovative for the field of teacher education research. Currently, dr. Thomas is working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Educational Studies. She works on the ‘Master of Didactics’ project (professionalization of university teachers) on the one hand, and as a researcher for the research group ‘Teacher Education and Professional Development’ on the other hand.

Dates - Venue

(Wed to Fri) 1-3 September 2021 is CANCELLED due to Corona measures.

POSTPONED to March 2022 (exact dates to be announced)

Tentative Programme


  • 10.00 – 10.30 Welcome with coffee
    11.00 – 11.30 Welcome by Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde (UGent, Belgium) and Prof. Dr. Kari Smith (NTNU and NAFOL, Norway)
    11.30 – 12.30 PhD students introduce their PhD project in one sentence – get to know each others’ work
    13.00 – 14.00 Lunch
    14.00 – 15.15 An introductory keynote on conducting research in the field of teacher education – public lecture by Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde, Department of Educational Studies, UGent, Belgium
    15.15 – 15.30 Coffee break
    15.30 – 17.30 Mixed groups of +/-4 PhD students – research seminar in which each of the PhD students presents in about 10 minutes his/her research project
    (Preparation: Two weeks in advance, participants have to submit an abstract about their research project (about 500 words)
    Chairs: Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde, Prof. Dr. Kari Smith, Prof. Dr. Ann MacPhail, Prof. dr. Fredrik Mørk Røkenes, Dr. Hanne Tack, Dr. Laura Thomas)
    17.30 – 19.30 Cultural event
    19.30 – 21.00 Dinner

    • 09.00 – 10.15 Writing and publishing a literature review in teacher education – public lecture by Prof. dr. Frederik Mørk Røkenes, Department of Teacher Education, NTNU, Norway
      10.15 – 10.30 Coffee break
      10.30 – 12.30 Mixed groups of +/- 6 PhD students – research seminar in which each of the PhD students presents in about 10 minutes his/her research questions and methodology.
      (Preparation: Two weeks in advance, students have to submit a summary of their research questions and methodology (about 500 words)
      Chairs: Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde, Prof. Dr. Kari Smith, Prof. Dr. Ann MacPhail, Prof. dr. Fredrik Mørk Røkenes, Dr. Hanne Tack, Dr. Laura Thomas)

      12.30 – 13.30 Lunch & networking event for participating Phd students
      13.30 – 14.45 Social network analysis as a promising methodology in teacher education research – public lecture by Dr. Laura Thomas, Department of Educational Studies, UGent, Belgium
      14.45 – 15.00 Break
      15.00 – 16.15 Publishing in peer-reviewed journals in teacher education – public lecture by Prof. Dr. Ann MacPhail, Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick
      16.15 – 17.30 Reflection exercise led by dr. Hanne Tack Impact of the specialist course on PhD students’ own PhD trajectory
      18.00 – 20.00 Dinner


      • 09.00 – 10.15 Writing and assessing a PhD in teacher education – public lecture by Prof. Dr. Kari Smith, Institutt for lærerutdanning, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway
        10.15 – 10.30 Break
        10.30 – 12.00 Mixed groups of +/- 6 PhD students – research seminar in which each of the PhD students shares challenges related to writing a dissertation in teacher education.
        (Preparation: Two weeks in advance, students have to submit two challenges/questions related to writing a dissertation
        Chairs: Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde, Prof. Dr. Kari Smith, Prof. Dr. Ann MacPhail, Prof. dr. Fredrik Mørk Røkenes, Dr. Hanne Tack, Dr. Laura Thomas)
        12.00 – 13.00 Lunch
        13.00 – 14.00 Panel debate about assessing a dissertation in teacher education(with room for questions from the students)
        Panel members: Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde, Prof. Dr. Kari Smith, Prof. Dr. Ann MacPhail, Prof. dr. Fredrik Mørk Røkenes, Dr. Hanne Tack, Dr. Laura Thomas
        14.00 – 15.00 Conclusion of the specialist course Presented by: one Flemish PhD student, one Norwegian PhD student, Prof. Dr. Ruben Vanderlinde & Prof. Dr. Kari Smith

      Registration

      Follow this link to register: to be announced

      If the course is fully booked, you can ask to be added to the waiting list by sending an email to doctoralschools@ugent.be

      Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

      - submitting the preparation homework 2 weeks before the course
      - 100% attendance during the specialist course
      - active participation (i.e. participating in the discussions after the lectures and active participation in the research seminars)

      Course material

      Slides of the public lectures – tips and tricks sheets based on the research seminars.

      Number of participants

      Maximum 30