Special issue of teacher education
Responsibility, Challenge and Support in Teachers' Life-long Professional Development
Educational policies in the past 20 years have focused on improving the quality of education through improving the quality of teaching. Research evidence shows that to achieve this goal, initial teacher education, teacher induction and in-service teacher education should form a continuous, coordinated process, providing an ideal context for teachers’ life-long professional development.
Life-long development is a must for the profession, if we consider the enormous challenges schools and teachers are facing today: with decentralization, the autonomy of schools is increasing, which means that teachers are being made to take more and more responsibility for the content, the organization, the monitoring and the evaluation of the learning process going on in their classrooms. Moreover, teachers are expected to contribute to the process of curriculum reform and educational innovation, and, by continuously monitoring and evaluating their own performances, they are expected to recognize and then address their professional development needs. These are all huge challenges the teaching profession has never had to confront before.
However, facing challenges without getting sufficient support never result in learning, growth and success. Teachers, and consequently schools, cannot be expected to cope with the new demands unless there is a support system which provides the knowledge, tools and methods to facilitate teachers’ reflection on their practice so that they can question their routines, recognize their professional development needs and challenge their own teaching philosophies. Establishing a teacher-centered support system which aims to nurture teacher autonomy and professionalism is crucial for success, since it is only autonomous professionals committed to continuous development who can meet the expectations society sets for schools today.
Responsibility for meeting challenges is thus shared between teachers themselves and those who support them, initial and in-service teacher educators, mentors, advisors, etc, and both partners should be held accountable for the outcomes of their joint efforts. This necessitates setting up and operating an appropriate system of teacher assessment and appraisal so that all stakeholders have a sense of direction in their work, and in order that educational authorities may establish a proper career ladder for teachers with incentives attached to the stages of their life-long professional development.
Thus, in line with the conference themes, the main research areas / questions addressed by the conference will be — among others — the following:
  • What opportunities are there for teachers’ life-long professional development? What factors impose limits on teachers’ life-long professional growth? What factors promote their professional growth?
  • What kind of programs/projects can help teachers to take responsibility for their professional development?
  • What major challenges are/ should be faced by teachers in Europe today? Which teacher competencies should be developed / improved to help them to adapt to these new situations?
  • What kind of tools, methods, procedures, program design features can make initial teacher education a fruitful learning experience for trainees?
  • What is the special contribution of initial teacher education (ITE), teacher induction and continuous professional development (CPD) to the development of teachers’ professional competencies respectively?
  • What factors make ITE, teacher induction and CPD effective?
  • What are the main stages of teachers’ professional growth?
  • How are professional standards, teacher assessment and teacher appraisal related to teachers’ advancement in their career?
  • What factors lead to teacher burn-out and how could it be avoided?
  • What is a mentor’s role? What criteria should be applied when selecting teachers’ for a mentoring role? What kind of training do mentors need?
  • How does a mentee’s career stage affect the mentor’s role?
  • What is the role of the school as a learning community in teachers’ professional development?
  • How does the reality of public school life affect teacher development? How does it affect teachers’ ability to take responsibility for their own professional growth?
  • What is the role of ITE-school partnership in teachers’ professional development?
  • What role(s) could/should ICT play in teacher development? How could ICT be exploited to facilitate teacher development?
  • What kind of research could best serve teacher development?
The conference will also offer room for papers that are related to the themes of the Research and Development Centers that are active within ATEE and will provide room for business meetings of these RDCs. For more information in this respect see the list of RDCs on this website