Gaining specific know-how in teacher education
Standort Strebersdorf University College of Teacher Education Vienna/Krems Vienna, Austria
Dealing with heterogeneity (learning abilities, cultural background, gender etc.) requires from teachers in compulsory schools a number of specific qualifications. In order to realise in a pedagogical fruitful way the potential of pupils as well as to overcome difficulties in communication and integration they need knowledge about certain obstacles in the process of learning (i.e. difficulties in learning and communicating) and about pedagogical and pragmatic options (i.e. teaching techniques).
The paper will present a three-year research project (start 2008) which aims to analyse how students of a University College of Teacher Training cope with the challenges of their teaching practice. We assume that only by means of a special training in the perception and understanding of particularities one is able to act pedagogically in such a way to do justice to the demands of individual pupils. We understand thereby the dealing with heterogeneity as a cross-section task, which means it is seen as a basic competence in the profession which therefore cannot be limited to specific fields of teaching. For that reason we address the question at what point heterogeneity becomes a crucial factor in teaching. The focus is therefore on the process by which specific differences become relevant in the concrete teaching situation.
The study thus focuses on two main topics:
1) the ability of students to identify certain differences as relevant to a teaching/learning situation,
2) the ability of making on-the-spot-decisions in concrete ?diversity situations? which require instantaneous action.
The qualitatively oriented research project combines a number of methods which analyse and describe the perceptive, the interpretative and the practical skills which enable students to perceive and to professionally react to the relevant differences of the pupils. The results of the picture and text vignettes (perceptive and interpretative skills) as well as the cognitive test (knowledge of the topic of heterogeneity) of the introductory phase (beginner students) will be presented at the conference. As the data collection will not be ready before the end of the course there can be no results yet concerning the longitudinal analysis (comparison with these students at the end of their studies).