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Partnership in initial teacher education – a study of school-based teacher educators as joint faculty

Despite their significant role, studies indicate that school-based mentor teachers identify as teacher educators to a lesser extent. Therefore, this thesis investigates factors that can help mentor teachers develop their professional identities as
teacher educators.

Johan Kristian Andreasen

Ph.D. candidate

Johan Kristian Andreasen will defend the thesis Partnership in initial teacher education – a study of school-based teacher educators as joint faculty for the PhD degree.

More information about doctoral defence and trial lecture.

Summary of the thesis

The overall purpose of the thesis was to investigate how initial teacher education (ITE) can be developed through a partnership between university and school-based teacher educators. School-based mentor teachers, who play an essential role in the professional development of student teachers, are a vital group in this context. Despite their significant role, studies indicate that school-based mentor teachers identify as teacher educators to a lesser extent. Therefore, this thesis investigates factors that can help mentor teachers develop their professional identities as teacher educators. Furthermore, the thesis examines how ITE can be developed through an extended partnership in which school-based mentor teachers serve as joint faculty at the university level. The thesis is situated within the Professional Digital Competence in ITE (ProDiG) partnership project at the University of Agder in Norway, which was funded by the Ministry of Education and ran from 2018 to 2021. A key development measure in this partnership project was the appointment of 13 school-based mentor teachers from ITE partner schools as joint faculty at the university. These school-based teacher educators were dedicated to collaborating with ITE faculty on curriculum development, lesson planning, co-teaching and assessment.

The thesis consists of three separate research articles where data was collected through surveys to school-based mentor teachers and teacher students, as well as interviews with school-based mentor teachers engaged as joint faculty. The results of the thesis provide us with new insights into the processes that are essential for school-based mentor teachers to develop their professional identity as teacher educators (article 1). Furthermore, the thesis demonstrates how the quality of teacher education programs can be improved through an extended partnership where practicing teachers are engaged as joint faculty (articles 2 and 3).

The thesis promotes new ways of cooperation between university-based and school-based teacher educators. It questions the traditional roles and responsibilities that often result in a hierarchical division between academic and practice-oriented forms of knowledge. Learning and professional development in teacher education thus occur within a partnership where actors with different yet equal expertise engage in a mutually committed collaboration.