Teacher change in relation to professional development in entrepreneurial learning
Compulsory school teachers’ perceptions and change in relation to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in entrepreneurial learning are investigated in this thesis. The teacher level focus is based on evidence pointing to the teacher’s strong impact on student interest and learning and the teacher as the single most influential actor on the implemented curriculum. All the distinct studies included are framed in a qualitative research approach, however from different perspectives.
Entrepreneurial learning can be rewarding, for students as well as for the teachers, and has been suggested as one possible way to increase student interest in science and technology. Teachers may need inspiration and support to provide entrepreneurial learning environments for their students. This support can be provided by CPD.
Collaboration with the surrounding world in the teaching practice is one of the components which may be included in entrepreneurial learning. The findings from this thesis show that teachers perceive requirements and barriers for integrating collaborations. The directions which are indicated to be of most concern; i.e. the main categories of requirements, are school management, the teacher’s personal character traits and disposition, colleagues and time. The teachers’ statements provide detailed information on what types of issues the teachers perceive as important to have addressed. These findings correspond with factors that other teachers seem to perceive as critical for teacher change and growth in relation to CPD in entrepreneurial learning. The categories of requirements illustrate strong interdependencies, as do the critical factors.
Narratives on five different science and/or technology teachers’ individual paths of growth, from a longitudinal study, illustrate that teachers respond differently to external factors from their professional context. The individual responses may be explained by personally related factors. Teachers’ perceptions, including the one of the CPD message (entrepreneurial learning in this thesis), are personally related factors which seem to have influence on the degree of teacher growth. Additionally the findings indicate that a high degree of collegial coherence in the teacher team may compensate for lack of school management support on an organizational level. However, moral support from the school management does not seem to compensate for lack of collegial coherence when organizational support is not provided.
Findings from this thesis additionally illustrate the added variation and diversity in quality of outcome; i.e. different outcome types, from exploring two courses with different foci in relation to science and technology teachers’ professional knowledge. The course which focused on general teaching strategies inspired by entrepreneurial learning generated outcomes on a general level, whereas the course which focused on specific content knowledge in space science and technology in an authentic learning environment on a rocket range, rendered outcomes which were more specifically related to content knowledge. Thus, transfer of teaching strategies, from a self-experienced learning in an authentic setting, to the teacher’s own practice does not automatically occur, even though the experience results in strong affective as well as motivational and attitude outcomes. The results further indicate that CPD, which aims at value congruence in relation to the teaching practice as well as to the authentic science and technology practice, may have stronger impact on a science and technology teacher’s growth and teaching practice.
The results from the investigation of the two courses with different foci, point to the importance of specifying what the CPD is effective at in evaluations of CPD effectiveness. Furthermore, the longitudinal study on teacher change and growth indicate that the outcome from evaluations of CPD effectiveness may vary with the point of time after CPD at which the measurement is conducted.
The detailed replies from the qualitative research approach provide information on issues related to changes in teaching practice to include (more) entrepreneurial learning components. The general character of the categories of requirements and the critical factors for teacher change and growth indicate that the findings are valuable also on a more general level. The issues may guide future CPD efforts and future research on CPD.
The thesis additionally includes an overview of entrepreneurial learning and authentic learning. The overview may help in efforts aiming at understanding entrepreneurial learning from a broad perspective, which would be the perspective which is most relevant in relation to the national curriculum in Sweden, Lgr11. The overview also points to strong resemblance between the two concepts, as well as with other related concepts. This resemblance may be one reason for the common perception among teachers, that a concept which is introduced into the field of education is not new at all.
ISBN Printed edition: 987-91-628-8866-4
ISBN Digital edition: 987-91-628-8867-1
Sagar, H., Pendrill, A-M. & Wallin, A. (2012). Teachers’ Perceived Requirements for Collaborating with the Surrounding World. NorDiNa, 8(3), 227-243.
Sagar, H. & Mehli, H. (2013). Expanding Teachers’ Competences in Authentic and Entrepreneurial Teaching Issues in Science and Technology - an Investigation of two Approaches. NorDiNa, 9(2), 171-186.
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