Professional learning communities for science teacher educators: Researcherly practices and modelling of these for student teachers

Birgitte Lund Nielsen, Claus Auning

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review

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Paper in symposium about teachers and teacher educators' research literacy:

The paper presents findings from NAFA, a large-scale initiative to improve science teacher education in Denmark, e.g. by organizing professional learning communities (PLCs) for teacher educators. The PLCs work with ‘professional inquiry’ positioned between everyday evaluation of teaching and practitioner research (Boyd & White, 2017). Baseline research, using the four domains of teacher educator knowledge from Mork et al. (2021) has shown a large variance in competences related to science education research, partly due to different institutional possibilities. Different possibilities are also emphasised in international research highlighting the hybrid position as ´teacher educator-researcher´ and referring to teacher educators’ researcherly disposition (Tack & Vanderlinde, 2016). Based on this, the aim of the present research is to examine how teacher educators reflect on the PLC-work in terms of themselves as producers of research improving their practice and contributing to the knowledge base on teacher education, and the possibilities for modelling of researcherly practices for the student teachers. Data is from the first two cycles (2022-24) following an annual rhytm with local work in the PLC and sharing the findings in the national network. The research design is a sequential mixed methods design with a yearly survey and repeated group interviews with teacher educators, and survey data from student teachers.
Findings show that the PLC work for the teacher educators provides an appreciated possibility for engaging in close-to-practice research. A meaningful PLC-organisation locally is important for engagement and value-creation, and the teacher educators emphasize cooperation around developing not only teacher education, but also the knowledge base om subject specific practices in science in schools.
The PLC-work contributes according to the teacher educators to making teacher education more practice relevant. But the (rhetorical) question posed in the symposium was if the PLC-work also contributes to making teacher education more research-based/research-informed?
Based on the data it is concluded, that after 2,5 years with NAFA more science teacher educators are more involved in Science Education R&D and there is a positive development from baseline concerning self-reports about modelling research practices with student teachers. But there is a variance in how large a proportion R&D is as teacher educator and there is still (like concluded in baseline) a variance in possibilities/culture for R&D at the UCs
There is a correlation between experience with Science Education R&D and modelling of research practices for student teacher, hence the "Science Education research-culture at the institutions is crucial for the continual development.
The implications highlighted for practice in NAFA:
* Continue to create opportunities for R&D for the teacher educators with an awareness on the local research cultures
* Support a discussion in the PLCs in NAFA about what modelling of research practices can look like.
Implications for research:
* There is a need to examine further what research literacy for the particular group og science teacher educators might look like. Many DK science teacher educators appreciate a 50/50 division with both research and teaching – but it must be emphasized that teaching is a prominent element in the identity as teacher educator. In the symposium we referred among other things to new research emphasizing a practical approach to understanding teachers' research literacy - this is ultimately bound with teaching practice and not simply a subset of what expert researchers know. These theories might be a starting point to examine also teacher edcuators' research literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date2024
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2024
EventThe Nordic Research Symposium on Science Education: Revisioning STEAM education in times of Climate Change - Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland
Duration: 5 Jun 20247 Jun 2024


ConferenceThe Nordic Research Symposium on Science Education
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