In This Article Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Issues of Integrity and Trustworthiness
  • Alternative Lenses in Self-Study
  • Teacher Educators’ Knowledge of Practice

Education Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices
by
Amanda Berry, Mary Lynn Hamilton
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 July 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0089

Introduction

This article provides an overview and discussion of self-study of teacher education practices. Self-study is a genre of research concerned with examining the role of the educator within professional practice settings. In teacher education, self-study is used as a form of practitioner research by higher education faculty to study their teaching and their students’ learning. Self-study functions as a means of better understanding the complex nature of teaching and learning and of stimulating educational change. In self-study, researchers focus on the nature and development of personal, practical knowledge through examining, in situ, their own learning beliefs, practices, processes, contexts, and relationships. Outcomes of self-study research focus both on the personal, in terms of improved self-understanding and enhanced understanding of teaching and learning processes, and the public, in terms of the production and advancement of formal, collective knowledge about teaching and teacher education practices, programs, and contexts that form an important part of the research literature on teacher education. Both personal and public purposes are concerned with the reform of teaching and teacher education that works from a social change and social justice perspective. The sources included in this article present works that have significantly influenced the research and practice of self-study in teacher education, comprehensive examinations of major issues in the field, and works that are breaking new ground. A variety of meanings has been associated with the term “self-study,” including self-directed learning, psychological studies of the growth of individuals, and institutional self-evaluations. These definitions are concerned with understandings of “self” that are different from self-study of teacher education practices and are not included in this article. Also, while self-studies are conducted in contexts outside teacher education by academics in other faculties of higher education, by teachers in schools, and by administrators, these contexts are not covered in this article.

General Overviews

Self-study of teacher education practices as an explicit research genre is a relatively recent entry in the field of educational research. Loughran 2004 provides a comprehensive overview of the history and development of self-study and describes distinguishing aspects that have been important in defining the field. While the teacher education professoriate has been a long-standing subject of research attention in the teacher education literature, such research was conducted mostly by academics who did not have direct involvement in teaching teachers. A thought-provoking examination of some of the issues confronting the teacher education professoriate as teachers and researchers can be found in Knowles and Cole 1996. The emergence of self-study as a field of research is congruent with changing assumptions about research and practice in education and growing research attention to the role of experience in the process of learning. Russell 2004 provides an overview of the development of self-study in teacher education research and practice, positioning self-study within notions of reflection and building on traditions of action research and teacher as researcher. Self-study of teacher education practices emerged as an organized field of research in the 1990s and was formalized with the founding of the Self-Study in Teaching and Teacher Education Practices Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association in 1993. In 1992, at the annual meeting in San Francisco, a group of beginning teacher education academics conducted a symposium that raised concerns about how to better understand their teaching and its influence on student learning within the demands of their roles as beginning academics. This symposium was later published as a special issue of Teacher Education Quarterly (Pinnegar and Russell 1995). Self-study has acquired a scholarly and organizational presence in the international teacher education community and is recognized as a bona fide process and topic of interest and focus in teacher education practice and research (Borko, et al. 2007; Zeichner 1999). Further important events in the formalization and recognition of self-study research include the publication of an International handbook (Loughran, et al. 2004) and the production of a peer reviewed scholarly journal, Studying Teacher Education.

  • Borko, Hilda, Dan Liston, and Jennifer Whitcomb. 2007. Genres of empirical research in teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education 58.1: 3–11.

    DOI: 10.1177/0022487106296220E-mail Citation »

    This editorial identifies and discusses four genres as central in empirical research in teacher education. Self-study is discussed, including the tensions inherent for self-study researchers in appropriately addressing the different audiences for their work and in paying attention to issues of quality and trustworthiness.

  • Knowles, Gary, and Ardra Cole. 1996. Special issue: Beginning professors and teacher education reform. Teacher Education Quarterly 23.3.

    E-mail Citation »

    Examines reform in preservice education, addressing its nature and place within broader educational reform, and discusses schools of education and their relationship to the reform agenda, teachers and their work, and beginning professors’ role in pre-service reform. Written by recognized self-study academics.

  • Loughran, John. 2004. A history and context of self-study of teaching and teacher education practices. In International handbook of self-study of teaching and teacher education practices. Edited by John Loughran, Mary Lynn Hamilton, Vicki Kubler LaBoskey, and Tom Russell, 943–978. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6545-3E-mail Citation »

    The first chapter of the International Handbook of Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices provides a comprehensive examination of the history and development of self-study. Factors that led to the development of self-study and distinguishing aspects of the work are described.

  • Loughran, John, Mary Lynn Hamilton, Vicki Kubler LaBoskey, and Tom Russell. 2004. International handbook of self-study of teaching and teacher education practices. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6545-3E-mail Citation »

    Two-volume handbook by international experts in self-study. Offers an encyclopedic review of the field of self-study. Examines in detail self-study in a range of teaching and teacher education contexts and outlines a full description of the nature and development of self-study.

  • Pinnegar, Stefinee, and Tom Russell. 1995. Special issue: Self-study and living educational theory: Becoming a professor of teacher education. Teacher Education Quarterly 22.3.

    E-mail Citation »

    Within this special edition, edited by Pinnegar and Russell, beginning teacher educators, Guilfoyle, Hamilton, Pinnegar, Placier, and experienced teacher educator, Russell, each explore their teaching and academic roles and how their experiences of these roles influence their practice. Notable educational scholars, Fred Korthagen and Jack Whitehead, provide critical analysis of the works. These articles are considered foundational works of self-study research.

  • Russell, Tom. 2004. Tracing the development of self-study in teacher education research and practice. In International handbook of self-study of teaching and teacher education practices. Edited by John Loughran, Mary Lynn Hamilton, Vicki Kubler LaBoskey, and Tom Russell, 1191–1210. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6545-3E-mail Citation »

    Russell presents an argument that the evolution and development of teacher education itself have made self-study both necessary and inevitable. The chapter places self-study within the context of important shifts in perspective within teaching and teacher education research and practice.

  • Studying Teacher Education.

    E-mail Citation »

    Dedicated, internationally refereed journal for publication of self-study research. Features articles produced by educators working in a range of contexts, using self-study methodologies. Highly readable, with full articles available online.

  • Zeichner, Ken. 1999. The new scholarship in teacher education. Educational Researcher 28.9: 4–15.

    DOI: 10.3102/0013189X028009004E-mail Citation »

    Self-study research is identified as a genre within the “new scholarship” in teacher education. Self-study is identified as making an important contribution in communicating the complexity of teaching practice and as a model for new teachers for critical inquiry into their practice.

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