Announcement for the conference “International Perspectives on School Quality and Teacher Education” at the School of Education of the University of Salzburg

Interviews in England and Austria
09/10/2018
Start of the SQTE-Fellowship in Oxford
22/02/2019

Announcement for the conference “International Perspectives on School Quality and Teacher Education” at the School of Education of the University of Salzburg

As part of the SQTE project, an international conference will take place on 26- 27 March 2019, hosted by the University of Salzburg and attended by leading academics from the fields of school effectiveness and teacher training research.

Here is the text for the first announcement:

International perspectives on school quality and teacher education
Conference at the University of Salzburg, School of Education, 26.-27.03.2019 Conference Description

This conference will bring together leading international researchers from the fields of School Effectiveness and Improvement Research and Teacher Education Research to discuss the overarching question of how we can link these different research strands in order to contribute productively to school quality and teacher education quality in a specific country. The conference is part of an ongoing research project conducted by the University of Salzburg in cooperation with the University of Oxford.

In educational research, school quality is discussed mainly within the theoretical frameworks of:

(1) School or Educational Effectiveness Research (SER/EER), a discipline that seeks to understand the key factors and their interactions that lead to more or less effective classrooms, schools and education systems; and
(2) School improvement research (SIR) in which school improvement is understood as a distinct approach to educational change that enhances student outcomes, as well as strengthening schools’ capacity for managing change.

As the protagonists who actually have to realise school quality in practice, it is teachers and head teachers who are the key drivers of school improvement. The quality of teaching and learning and of professional leadership are the key determinants since the process of improvement relates not just to the teaching competence of classroom practitioners but also to the nature of the school climate and the leadership practices that promote and sustain them.Teacher Education Research is concerned with the development of teachers’ identities, competences and dispositions. It focuses not only on the content of teacher education curricula but also on the nature of the process of learning to teach and its implications for the way in which those curricula are structured and sequenced –both within initial teacher education (ITE) and in relation to teachers’ continued professional learning (CPD). Just as Teacher Education Research considers the needs of teachers themselves, so it also explores the kinds of dispositions, knowledge and skills needed by all those engaged in teacher education –school-based mentors and coaches as well as university-based tutors and external experts –if they are to achieve the improvements to which they aspire. Teacher Education Research has a vital role to play in informing educational policy and ensuring that both ITE and CPD (including the professional formation of head teachers) are research-informed.

In this context, the research questions addressed at the international conference are the following:

  1. How can research in the area of School Effectiveness and Improvement Research and research on school quality inform teacher education and head teacher training?
  2. What dimensions of school quality do current teacher education and head teacher training programmeseffectively address; and are there particular dimensions of school quality that tend to be overlooked or inadequately considered?
  3. What should teacher education and head teacher training look like if is to be able to make the maximum possible contribution to school quality?

The aim of this conference is to bring together researchers from both fields to promote a productive exchange of recent findingsand to stimulate cooperation. Stakeholders from policy and practice within the Austrian Education System are also invited to join the discussion to reflect on the implications of the shared research insights for their work.