Powell, David (2016) "It's not as straightforward as it sounds": An action research study of a team of further education-based teacher educators and their use of modelling during a period of de-regulation and austerity. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Modelling is a core competence for teacher educators. This action research (AR) study examines further education-based teacher educators’ use of modelling and considers what role this may play in how in-service trainees learn how to teach within a university-validated initial teacher education (ITE) programme. The researcher, a university-based teacher educator, adopted a second-person practice approach to collaborate with a team of teacher educators and their trainees in an English further education college (FEC). The research used, as its conceptual and analytical framework, Kemmis et al.’s ecologies of practices and practice architectures. Data collection instruments employed included films of the teacher educators’ classes and stimulated recall interviews (SRIs) based on them; focus groups with the trainees; and “teacher talk” meetings. There are nine main findings /contributions arising from this study. The principal ones were that effective learning to teach starts with “learning to look”; effective modelling is a result of the teacher educators’ and trainees’ “sayings, doing and relatings”, and that the teacher educators involved in the study were modelling generic, core teaching behaviours. Initially the latter were implicitly modelled, though, as the study progressed, there was greater use of explicit modelling. There was evidence that some trainees noticed their teacher educators’ use of implicit modelling, though others did not “see” it until it was pointed out to them during a peer teaching with debrief intervention. Many of the trainees said what was being modelling could be transferred into their own teaching contexts. This suggests that subject specialist mentors need to model the core practices of the trainees’ subject to complement the generic, core practices modelled by the teacher educators. Inductions for the further education-based teacher educators in this study were uneven and overly technical in their focus. An extended and better balanced induction is proposed. Another recommendation is the proposal, building on Taylor’s work, for a new fifth way of learning to teach: trainees acquiring and using the language of learning to teach. One of the actions arising within the study was the development of a viewing frame that teacher educators could use to enable trainees to “see into” the use of modelling within their classes and the evidence suggests it could be used across all three phases of ITE. The study contributes to debates relating to what is known about the classroom practices of further education-based teacher educators and the factors that shape those practices.

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