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ERIC Number: EJ1088683
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Responding to the Challenge of Providing Stronger Research Base for Teacher Education: Research Discourses in the Norwegian National Research School for Teacher Education
Østern, Anna-Lena
Educational Research, v58 n1 p73-90 2016
Background and purpose: The purpose of this article is to shed light on how the research projects of 140 PhD candidates in the National Research School for Teacher Education in Norway (NAFOL) respond to the challenges faced by Norwegian teacher education regarding the demand for higher competence and a stronger research base. The concept of NAFOL is of interest from an international perspective because of its focus on facilitating teacher educators to achieve a PhD. Since 2001, Norwegian educational policy has had a strong focus on strengthening teacher education and making it more research-based than before. From 2017, all new teachers in Norway are expected to take a master's degree. In order to accomplish this, there is a need for many new supervisors with a PhD in teacher education institutions. NAFOL is a unique project: a consortium of 23 participating network institutions within teacher education. The research school includes 140 research fellows, all of whom wish to achieve a PhD suitable for work in teacher education. The research school is funded by the Norwegian Research Council, originally for a project period from 2010 to 2016. The research school has had a positive external midway evaluation, and the project period has been extended with four cohorts of students to the end of 2021. However, this study is the first one looking into the research projects of this young generation of teacher education researchers. The research question posed in this article is: how do the research projects of the NAFOL PhD candidates contribute to the research base in teacher education? Main argument: The main argument in this article is that the potential impact of this research school is dependent on the quality of the large number of PhD projects connected to teacher education and education in general developed within the research school. The quality is likely to be good because, among other reasons, these projects are scrutinised by the research school community. The challenges these research projects face, located as they are between solidarity regarding grants from the funds financing the PhD candidates, solidarity with the aims of education, and the wish to contribute to innovation, might prove to be able to be met. These research projects have the potential to create innovation in teacher education research through 'border crossing' between different educational discourses, as well as through creating new knowledge in meta-studies based on the results from several projects. Sources of evidence and method: In this article, project abstracts from 140 PhD candidates participating in NAFOL are analysed in terms of their theme and problem formulation. The analysis is inspired by discourse analytical thinking -- namely that in a certain situation, several conditions for action exist. In this study, these conditions for action are made apparent in the choice of theme and problem formulation in the research projects. The content analysis is focused on 'signal words', because these words might signal positioning in different educational discourses. Results: In the study, three main discourses can be seen as influencing the choice of topic and the problem formulation in the projects: a goal-oriented educational discourse, a 'Bildung' (i.e. character formation, or personal growth -- 'danning' in Norwegian) and democracy discourse, and a critical knowledge-producing discourse. These discourses are constituted when the PhD candidates start their research projects but the conditions for action are ever-changing and, hence, the findings in this study cannot, of course, be considered as 'final'. The development of these discourses within the research community of NAFOL is one way of scrutinising the research projects in order to make a contribution to qualified teacher education research. Conclusion: 'Border crossing' between discourses in research projects concerned with what might be, and what can make a difference in a knowledge society could be a key way of enhancing the future for a young generation of researchers in teacher education. The research projects carried out by the PhD candidates in NAFOL have the potential to develop both new knowledge and new discourses of importance for Norwegian teacher education, as well as for a broader international context regarding professional development in teacher education and education in general. The view of the teacher education profession--and on what a teacher educator can be--could become more fully informed than before the candidates' participation in the research school.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Norway
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A