What constitutes “professional” and “university” teacher preparation?
Stakes and practices
Conference sponsored by the Council of Directors of the IUFMs of France ((IUFM: Institut Universitaire de Formation de Maîtres, University Institutes of Teacher Preparation).
Hosted by the IUFM du Nord Pas de Calais, May 2-4, 2007, in Arras, France
Professionalization has been steadily developing, since the 1960s [in France], in university settings, but not without tension. Most recently, in the context of the European Union standardization of higher education, the structuring of higher education into three cycles (license, masters, doctorate) has made it necessary for professional masters degree programs [like those in Education] to join up with well-known research groups [University-based]. This means that a formal relationship between research and professional preparation is being affirmed—a relationship that has been, until now, more or less strongly emphasized at various points and in various disciplines.
In 1989, University Institutes of Teacher Preparation were established as autonomous institutes. This indicated support for modifying secondary school teacher preparation (professionalizing it?) and primary school teacher preparation (“universitarizing” it?). The new approach to teacher preparation has been in effect for fifteen years now; a recent law has finalized the current plan to integrate the IUFMs into universities located near each IUFM.
The moment is thus right for reviewing the ideas of “professionalization” and “universitarisation” in general, and examining their application to teacher preparation. This can be accomplished partly by examining variations in the way we name teacher preparation: “professionalizing university preparation,” “university and professional preparation,” or “professional and university preparation,” among others. The conference planners are very interested in knowing how this relationship plays out in other countries, as well.
SPECIFIC AXES OF REFLECTION:
• what do we understand teacher preparation to be?
• in what way does the “university” influence modify, complete, or eliminate certain aspects of teacher preparation historically included? In particular, what is the role of the university’s contribution to the acquisition of competencies, disciplinary knowledge, or desired teaching practices? What tensions exist between preparation for teaching and knowledge acquisition?
• what is done to take into account future teachers’ modes of learning, their reception and understanding of the notions and abilities the teacher preparation program tries to produce, in the different environments that compete in this preparation? What effect on their future students?
• in a professional university preparation, is the core knowledge a general knowledge that future teachers will have to apply on their own to future work settings, or a general knowledge contextualized by its application to professional objects, or simply practice-oriented knowledge developed in a (too brief) preparation? What is the relationship between university courses in content knowledge, professional courses in pedagogy, and the expectations of placement schools?
• in education research, how can we resolve the tension among preparing students to do education research, preparing students through having them read education research, and the need to provide them knowledge, know-how and stable teaching tools?
• what might the role for continuing education be? What is the balance between preparation and continuing work? How does this compare to preparation in other countries?
Proposals are due by November 30, 2006. They should be entered on-line at:
Proposals need to include:
- Last name, first name, status, institution (name and location)
- Summary (max ten lines)
- Text of proposal (max approximately 3.500 characters—about two double-spaced pages, including any bibliography)
Proposers will be notified by the end of January 2007. Accepted proposers will be asked to submit the full text of their presentation by March 16, 2006.
Proposals should be submitted in French if possible, but can be submitted in English if necessary. Presentations in English will be consecutively translated at the conference.
For more information about the conference, consult: