Teacher professionalism? Developed in online settings

Year: 2012

Author: Högberg, Sören

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


The base of teacher professionalism can be understood as a moral issue. In pedagogical situations teachers have to take a vast number of intentional and contextual questions into consideration. How teachers act can be described as a matter of pedagogical tact. Being sensitive to the situation without losing the aim of the syllabus has to do with teachers' ability to keep attention on pupils' being and their becoming at the same time. The possibility to develop such a competence is related to reflection. The question is: is it possible for teacher students to develop pedagogical tact in net-based education?

Teacher professionalism can be understood as the excellence of teaching. This pragmatic standpoint demands trust in teachers' ability to act according to what is experienced as important in pedagogical situations. This point of departure imply that teaching is a moral issue and that teachers need a legitimacy from society to take a professional responsibility in order to do their work. Hence, questions on net-based teacher education are in this context anchored in educational philosophy in general and moral dimensions on teaching in particular.

Teacher students at Dalarna University use Adobe Connect for synchronous oral communication. They enter a virtual room as a group at a certain hour specified by the schedule of the current course taken. University teachers have access to extra facilities compared to students such as the possibility to record the seminars taking place online. By doing this and distributing the recordings, the researcher has a unique opportunity to analyze communication without interfering when collecting data. The recordings are followed up by interviews online or in real life after students have graduated and started their work as teachers.

A modified conversation and content analysis is used. Recorded seminars are analyzed according to their content and passages are chosen where moral dimensions on teachers work are focused. Transcripts are analyzed in relation to turn-constructional units and turn-transition relevance places. Finally patterns of communication are related to content and level of reflection and interpreted in relation to teacher professionalism. Triangulation is made by interviews that are analyzed regarding informants apprehensions on possibilities to develop a professional responsibility in online settings.