Navigating teacher education: Mapping the terrain, surveying the landscape

Year: 2012

Author: Mayer, Diane, Kline, Jodie, Walker-Gibbs, Bernadette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


While there are many small-scale, nuanced case studies that speak about the particularities of specific teacher education practices, large scale, systematic, longitudinal studies that can provide rich and comprehensive data about the effectiveness of teacher education are limited (Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2005). The Studying the Effectiveness of Teacher Education (SETE) project is addressing this gap by investigating the effectiveness of teacher education programs in preparing teachers for the variety of school settings in which they begin their careers.This three-year study utilises large-scale surveys and case studies to construct a deeper understanding of early career teachers' experiences. It tracks 2010/2011 teacher education graduates in Queensland and Victoria to investigate the effectiveness of particular characteristics of their teacher education programs in equipping them with the capacity to meet the learning needs of young people in a diverse range of Australian school settings.

This paper will discuss the findings from the mapping exercise and the surveys and the problematics and possibilities of reading across the data sets. Mapping is a first step in this large scale work and yet to date there has been limited work in mapping Initial Teacher Education in Australia. The SETE mapping exercise used publicly available online information to examine initial teacher education programs accredited by the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) and the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT). Preliminary results address, inter alia, the length, content and delivery of programs and critical issues of the development of pedagogical and assessment expertise and preparation to teach in diverse contexts.

This paper will also discuss findings from the first of a series of online surveys completed by teacher education graduates in Queensland and Victoria. Early career teachers' responses are mapped against key characteristics of participants' pre-service programs and framed in relation to the key themes of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, behaviour management, and engagement with school stakeholders and local community.

Cochran-Smith, M., & Zeichner, K. (Eds.). (2005). Studying Teacher Education: The Report of the AERA Panel on Research and Teacher Education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.