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Research corner

`Research Based Teacher Education' by Munthe, E and Rogne, M

Teaching and Teacher Education, 46:17-24, February 2015 (Elsevier)

Teachers are constantly trying to ensure that pupils are not passive learners - but how active are they in developing their pedagogy?

Conducting their own research, the authors of this paper argue, is an effective way for teachers to develop the "necessary skills for a complex workplace". It is important for teacher training to produce professionals who are "innovators and researchers in education", with the flexibility to adjust to change over the course of their career.

The power of research, the authors continue, does not necessarily lie in the discovery of new or groundbreaking ideas, but in the development of an enquiring attitude and an appreciation of academic study.

The paper focuses on initial teacher education (ITE) in Norway, where educational reforms emphasising the importance of research were introduced in 2010. Researchers studied written reports from 19 higher education institutions that offered teacher training, and interviewed the staff and students of six of them. They found that the priorities of the ITE leaders were a key factor in how much significance was attached to undergraduate research.

The academics are clear about the potential benefits of research in teacher training. They conclude that the priority in ITE must always be "to qualify teachers who can learn systematically, who can identify relevant literature and be critical of new research, who can use inquiry methods, and can develop knowledge necessary to improve teaching and learning".

Alex Tyndall

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