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Research on Teacher Education: theoretical frameworks from psychology (Karl Wall)

Psychological ideas found a home for themselves in British society in 1901 with the founding of the Psychological Society - now called the British Psychological Society. Central to the activities of this society was the promotion of the role that psychological thought and practice could play in educational matters. The ‘Psychology of Education Section’ of the Society was one of the first to be formed as was the Division of Educational and Child Psychology.  More recently the Division for Teachers and Researchers in Psychology has also been established.

Educational research, broadly defined, often draws on the field of psychology and its various sub-disciplines. Although specific examples can be found in the TEG Bibliography (in relation to cognitive psychology for example), psychological ideas are seldom apparent in teacher educational research in a form that psychologists would recognize as being from a distinct social, cognitive, developmental or other psychological perspective.

For the most part, psychological ideas are evident in teacher education research as conceptual, construct, theoretical or practical ideas that have been imported into a particular research activity to theorize or analyze the research in question. At a practical level the research methodologies used in teacher education research often draw on psychological insights in for example, the development of effective questionnaire items, interviews schedules and observational instruments. Teacher education research in the TEG sense is no different to this.

One way of identifying how psychological ideas have been used to inform educational research - and teacher education research in particular - is run a free word search using the prefix ‘psycho’. A range of examples can be found, which use this prefix in some way and illustrate the diverse ways in which psychological  ideas, at some level and in some form, have been used in teacher education research as teacher educator researchers take ownership of and make use of the ideas being applied. They include: the use of psychoanalytic approaches in research on training strategies; psychological perspectives on identity, gender and professionalism; the use of psycho-cultural approaches; the social and cognitive aspects of reflection; of concerns and priorities and their role in the education of professionals; examining the effects of discipline fragmentation in further education and vocational training research through the lens of who undertakes that research and the perspectives they apply and the broader issues of the trabsferability of learning from one context to another.

Another approach is to use words that would be familiar to most psychologists such as ‘motivation’ (15 items), ‘identity’ (45 items), groups (25 items), behaviour (16 items) and situated learning (3 items) all of which will return different numbers of items. In all cases psychological perspectives in one form or another are explicit or implicit in the research in question. For the non-psychologist seeking to use psychological perspectives in their work, however, consistency and coherence between different constructs and theorisations is key as is their use in a rigorous, contextually meaningful and evidenced way.

To start thinking about how psychology might inform a particular piece of teacher education research, prospective researchers can seek the advice of Psychologists in their own institutions or nationally, via the British Psychological Society. Another source of contacts and a database of psychological instruments and research evidenced questionnaires can be found at the UK HEA Psychology Network as well as other peer-reviewed national and international web-based resources. There are also a number of contemporary introductory texts that can act as a starting point in mustering psychological ideas in relation to teacher education research.

 

Notes and references

..cognitive pyschology

Philpott, C. (2006) Transfer of learning between higher education institution and school-based components of PGCE courses of initial teacher education, Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 58 (3) pp 283-302.

…examples of the prefix ‘psycho’ drawn from the TEG bibliography
Brown, T. (2006) Negotiating psychological disturbance in pre-service teacher education, Teaching and Teacher Education, 22 (6) pp 675-689.

Crossouard, B. and Pryor, J. (2008) Becoming researchers: a sociocultural perspective on assessment, learning and the construction of identity in a professional doctorate, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 16 (3) pp 221-237..

Drudy, S. (2006) Gender differences in entrance patterns and awards in initial teacher education, Irish Educational Studies, 25 (3) pp 259-273.

Edwards, A. (2001) Researching pedagogy: a sociocultural agenda, Pedagogy, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 9 (2) pp 161 – 186

Edwards, A. and D'arcy, C. (2004) Relational agency and disposition in sociocultural accounts of learning to teach, Educational Review, 56 (2) pp 147-155.

Hamilton, D. (2002) 'Noisy, Fallible And Biased Though It Be' (On The Vagaries Of Educational Research), British Journal of Educational Studies, 50 (1) pp 144-164.

Hanley, U. (2007) Fantasies of teaching: handling the paradoxes inherent in models of practice, British Educational Research Journal, 33 (2) pp 253-271.

Hey, V. and Bradford, S. (2004) The return of the repressed?: the gender politics of emergent forms of professionalism in education, Journal of Education Policy, 19 (6) pp 691 - 713.

Leitch, R. and Day, C. (2001) Reflective Processes in Action: mapping personal and professional contexts for learning and change, Journal of In-Service Education, 27 (2) pp 237 – 260

Philpott, C. (2006) Transfer of learning between higher education institution and school-based components of PGCE courses of initial teacher education, Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 58 (3) pp 283-302.

Smith, J. D. N. (2005) Understanding the beliefs, concerns and priorities of trainee teachers: a multi-disciplinary approach, Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 13 (2) pp 205 - 219.

using psychoanalytical approaches
Brown, T. (2006) Negotiating psychological disturbance in pre-service teacher education, Teaching and Teacher Education, 22 (6) pp 675-689.
- psychoanalytic theory
Hanley, U. (2007) Fantasies of teaching: handling the paradoxes inherent in models of practice, British Educational Research Journal, 33 (2) pp 253-271.
-Employing psychoanalytic theory… to examine… ways … teachers and trainees are faced with the paradox of fulfilling … contrasting fantasies [constructions of teachers and teachings]

…identity, gender and professionalism

Crossouard, B. and Pryor, J. (2008) Becoming researchers: a sociocultural perspective on assessment, learning and the construction of identity in a professional doctorate, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 16 (3) pp 221-237.
-conceptualisation within psychological … frameworks, formative assessment

Drudy, S. (2006) Gender differences in entrance patterns and awards in initial teacher education, Irish Educational Studies, 25 (3) pp 259-273.
-feminisation of teaching … process …, psychological

Hey, V. and Bradford, S. (2004) The return of the repressed?: the gender politics of emergent forms of professionalism in education, Journal of Education Policy, 19 (6) pp 691 - 713.
-Three distinct discourses frame this paper: 'new public managerialism', new modes of governmentality, and new masculinities and femininities…thought as a central psychosocial feature of the 'domaining effect' of audit.

…psycho-social approaches

Edwards, A. (2001) Researching pedagogy: a sociocultural agenda, Pedagogy, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 9 (2) pp 161 – 186
-understandings of pedagogy … grounded in the hermeneutic psychology … Vygotskian theory

Edwards, A. and D'arcy, C. (2004) Relational agency and disposition in sociocultural accounts of learning to teach, Educational Review, 56 (2) pp 147-155.
-student teachers as they learn about learning… social practices of settings …dispositions for collaborative engagement… examined using the conceptual tools …sociocultural psychology

… the social and cognitive aspects of reflection; of concerns and priorities and their role in the education of professionals

Leitch, R. and Day, C. (2001) Reflective Processes in Action: mapping personal and professional contexts for learning and change, Journal of In-Service Education, 27 (2) pp 237 – 260
- This article … in-depth, empirical investigation … purposes … processes of reflection, … positively and negatively to the effectiveness of teachers, nurses and psychologists learning.

Smith, J. D. N. (2005) Understanding the beliefs, concerns and priorities of trainee teachers: a multi-disciplinary approach, Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 13 (2) pp 205 - 219.
-Drawing on… literature, a multi-disciplinary approach… developed… examine …beliefs, concerns… priorities of trainee teachers' thinking from social, cultural, physiological and psychological perspectives.

… discipline fragmentation

Hamilton, D. (2002) 'Noisy, Fallible And Biased Though It Be' (On The Vagaries Of Educational Research), British Journal of Educational Studies, 50 (1) pp 144-164.
- …study of further education and vocational training is characterised by disciplinary fragmentation, … activity taking place in departments of psychology…emergence of… integrative concepts such as lifelong learning

…transferability of learning

Philpott, C. (2006) Transfer of learning between higher education institution and school-based components of PGCE courses of initial teacher education, Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 58 (3) pp 283-302.
-Studies of learning transfer within the paradigm of cognitive psychology … transfer of learning from one task to another occurs rarely [in relation to PGCE courses].

For matters psychological in the UK:

http://www.bps.org.uk/   The British Psychological Society (the BPS)

http://www.bps.org.uk/education/education_home.cfm  The Psychology of Education Section of the BPS

http://www.bps.org.uk/decp/decp_home.cfm  The Division of Educational and Child Psychology of the BPS

http://www.bps.org.uk/dtrp/dtrp_home.cfm  The Division for Teachers and Researchers in Psychology of the BPS

The UK HEA Psychology Network which also has a searchable database of psychological instruments. http://www.psychology.heacademy.ac.uk/ 

The Intute Site which has materials reviewed by a team of professional psychologists  based in a range of UK universities http://www.intute.ac.uk/psychology/ 

The International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) has links to the national Psychological science bodies of many countries as well as a variety of databases and resources. It can be found at: http://www.iupsys.net/

Some introductory texts looking at Psychology in relation to Education

Daniels, H. (Editor), Edwards, A. (Editor) (2003) The Routledge Falmer Reader in Psychology of Education (Readers in Education). London: Routledge.

Littleton, K. (Editor), Wood, C. (Editor) and  Kliene Staarman, J. (Editor) (2010) International Handbook of Psychology in Education. London: Emerald Group Publishing

Long, M. (2000) The Psychology of Education. London: Routledge.

Norwich, B. (2000) Education and Psychology in Interaction: Working with Uncertainty in Interconnected Fields (Routledge Research in Education). London: Routledge.

Walkup,V., Hughes, M. and WoolFolk, A. E. (Editor) (2007) Psychology in Education. London: Longmans Publisher.

From an explicitly research preparatory perspective:

Mertens, D, M. (2009) Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology: Integrating Diversity with Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods. London: Sage.

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to reference this page: Teacher Education Group (2009) The Teacher Education Bibliography. London: TLRP. Online at http://www.tlrp.org/capacity/rm/wt/teg (accessed )

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