Prof. Leena Krokfors from the University of Helsinki will visit UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School in spring 2009 and co-teach the class Perspectives on Teacher Education and Professional Development. Finland’s students have scored at the top of the world on international achievement comparisons. Their teacher education system is extensive and comprehensive (5 year programs) and in very high demand among university students (700 applicants for 100 spots). This is the first course in a series of events that will become part of a new international partnership between the University of Helsinki and UC Santa Barbara that is focused on research and practice in teacher education.
The course will be co-taught by Dr. Tine Sloan, Director of the Teacher Education Program at the Gevirtz School. “This unique opportunity to study with a premier international researcher and teacher educator will not only inform our own teacher preparation at UCSB, but further our development of doctoral studies aimed at strengthening the teacher education component of a research doctorate,” Sloan says. “Many doctoral students from research institutions all over the world end up in Teacher Education with little experience working in or studying the field – and this is true in Finland as well. Professor Krokfors and I are using this course as a first step in developing an international program – a critical component to this work and particularly critical for professors involved in teacher education reform. The program itself should offer exciting experiences for UCSB and University of Helsinki students and faculty.”
Leena Krokfors runs the Center for Research on Teaching (CRT), which is part of the Department of Applied Sciences of Education at the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, University of Helsinki. CRT aims at studying the teaching-studying-learning (TSL) processes and its mission is to explore the relationship between different parts of this process and to build optimal conditions for good teaching and learning in general. In order to fulfill this task CRT is dedicated to improving the pedagogical and instructional processes in schools, the teacher education curriculum and study programs of teacher education.
Krokfors is also a leader or a co-leader of seven research projects and a chair or a member of several boards or steering committees of national and international research projects. She is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Reflective Practice and a referee in several international research journals, such as Journal of Education and Teaching and TRAMES Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences. She is currently editor in chief of Didakta Varia, a Journal of Teacher Education published by Department of Applied Sciences of Education and an associate member in the scientific committee of International Study Association of Teachers and Teaching (ISATT). Krokfors is an active member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Finnish Educational Research Association (FERA) and European Teacher Education Network (ETEN).
At a time when “teacher quality” has become paramount to debates on school success, public scrutiny of teacher education is fueling major cries for reform. The course Teacher Education and Professional Development serves as an introduction to the work and research of teacher education, a field that is currently receiving unprecedented public and political attention. It starts by making sense of the histories and policies that are shaping the field in an effort to understand the current cries for reforms, and the challenges to these reform efforts. It explores the pathways to certification in the U.S. and abroad (e.g., Teach for America, “traditional” certification, Professional Development Schools, etc.), and does so through the lens of what makes a quality program. It examines what new teachers need to know and be able to do, while studying how teacher education practice may or may not facilitate quality teacher knowledge and effective teaching practice. Students will have a unique opportunity to study U.S. and Finish programs and inform aspects of UCSB’s Teacher Education Program.
[Tine Sloan and Leena Krokfors are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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