Hvordan oppdras oppdragerne?: En sammenlignende studie av en lærerutdanning for steinerskolene og en offentlig lærerutdanning.
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How to teach the teachers? This thesis explores how two institutions educate teachers – in terms of the knowledge and practices that are emphasized and transmitted – by focusing on three questions. 1) What kind of internal and external constraints shape knowledge and practices within the two educational institutions, and how do teacher educators relate to these constraints? 2) What is the relationship between the different kinds of knowledge and practices that are emphasized and transmitted in pedagogy, in mathematics and in the students’ classroom practice? 3) How do the teacher educators handle the tension between transmission of a tradition and the individual freedom of those trained?
Previous sociological research on teacher education has to a limited extent focused on the content in teacher education, and in particular how teacher educators disseminate key knowledge and practices to their students. This study examines this dissemination in pedagogy, in mathematics and in the students’ classroom practice. Based on observations of lectures, as well as qualitative interviews with teacher educators, I compare a public teacher education (HIO) and a Waldorf teacher education (RSH). By focusing on two different types of educational institutions with different views on knowledge, content and form, I aim to shed light on conditions that might otherwise be taken for granted within each of the two.
Three different analytical tools are used in a sensitizing way: Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s institutional theory (2011), Basil Bernstein's concept of classification and framing (2003), and theories of teaching models. In light of Bernstein's concepts, the contrast between the two institutions can be characterized as a contrast between external and internal framing. In the lectures in pedagogy, in mathematics and in the students’ classroom practice, I show that RSH has a strong internal framing which is placed on students both in terms of subject content, learning theory, didactics and methods. Their education ideals are described as similar to those of a classical musician: you must have an internalized standard repertoire before you can improvise. In contrast to RSH, the ideal at HiO is that students should be able to choose freely among different educational theories and methods. Reminiscent of the ideals of academia, critical reflection regarding choice of theories and methods is emphasized throughout the education. HiO provides students the freedom to choose among learning theories and methods (weak internal framing), but are subject to strong political control (strong external framing). RSH can be described conversely. While they are freer in terms of outside political control (weak external framing), the education provides much stricter guidelines to follow (strong internal framing).
A common finding in both institutions is that the classification between subjects – in terms of the boundaries that are drawn between different kinds of knowledge – is relatively weak. According to Bernstein, such weak classification creates a need for an overarching idea which serves to guide what kinds of knowledge that should be included. I argue that ideas from reform pedagogy – characterized by a negative attitude towards instrumental learning, and a positive attitude towards the active, critical, knowledge-seeking pupil – serves as this overarching guiding idea in both institutions.
However, these attitudes are manifested very differently within the two educations, both in terms of how this tradition is transmitted to students, and how this attitude is rooted in the institutions. The teacher educators at HiO communicate an anti-instrumentalist and anti-authoritarian perspective on the relationship between themselves and their students: The students can choose the perspectives on learning they like as long as they remain critical and reflexive. An unintended consequence of this academic or scientific critical attitude is vagueness and lack of clarity in relation to the specific work the aspiring teachers should do at the classroom level. HiO's challenge is thus that other actors on other levels may limit the very scope of freedom which the school tries to create for its students, and the teacher educators have little control over what view on learning the students apply when teaching pupils in elementary schools. At RSH the relationship is the opposite. The teacher educators have strong control over what kind of educational theory, didactics and methods the students will learn. They can therefore ensure, to a larger extent, that the teacher-pupil relationship is in line with view of learning where the pupil's active participation in gaining knowledge is emphasized. Their challenge, however, is the tension between tradition and innovation: that between the desire to preserve the school's character and the fear of sticking to old patterns. On one hand is the desire to promote a contemporary up to date pedagogy, on the other is the fear of no longer representing a clear alternative to the public schools.
In Berger and Luckmann’s terminology, HiO has institutionalized the individual freedom of its students to the extent that they provide very little of the fixed “background” which serves to relieve people from detailed everyday decision-making. This institutionalized individual freedom creates a kind of void that is open to others to fill with content. Through strong traditions in terms of didactics and views of learning, such an institutional background is not missing at RSH. Through “relieving” students in these areas provides freedom – a “foreground.” Instead their challenge is coming to terms with renewal through critical reflexion upon this background.