Student Teachers as Future Researchers: How do Hungarian and Austrian Initial Teacher Education Systems Address the issue of Teachers as Researchers?
Even though initial teacher education is a rather short period in comparison to the other phases of a teacher’s career, it has a crucial role in shaping student teachers’ career-long activities. Many argue that everyday teaching in a classroom setting is comparable to conducting research, as teachers pursue experimenting with different strategies to teaching and learning, as they reflect on their own as well as their colleagues’ work, and as they make decisions about their future steps based on these experiences. This paper aims to reveal how the concept of teachers as researchers is addressed in initial teacher education programmes by answering two questions: How is the concept of teachers as researchers represented in these programmes? What kind of experiences do student teachers have regarding practice-oriented research? The research has a case study design with a comparative aspect, in which one Hungarian and one Austrian institution offering initial teacher education serve as the two cases. Results show that both universities have integrated research into their initial teacher education programmes, but in different ways and to different extents. An important notion is that although various courses that deal with research and/or research methodology and could contribute to the development of student teachers’ research competences could be identified, the activities of these courses are somewhat restricted to taking place within the university walls (e.g., discussion of research results), detached from practice. The study is expected to contribute to the understanding of structural similarities and differences in initial teacher education systems in the two countries that may foster or hinder the development of student teachers’ development during their school-based teaching practice, with a particular focus on those that are required to conduct practice-oriented research.
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