Developing a collaborative model in teacher education – An overview of a teacher professional development project
The article discusses the development of an educational model intended to support teachers’ professional development in science education. In this research and development project, LumaLähetit, pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and teacher educators formed teams to collaboratively plan teaching and produce material for inquiry-based and integrative science instruction in primary schools. The results are based on three design cycles of the model. Thus far, ten schools, 24 in-service teachers, 30 pre-service teachers, and 560 pupils have participated. The results, which are based on the qualitative content analysis of participants’ open answers to a questionnaire, indicate that the developed collaborative model for science education supported preservice teachers and in-service teachers’ professional development in many ways. Several processes mediating the embodiment of the designed model were identified, especially during the second or third design cycles. Participants reflected on theory and practice. They experienced increased knowledge about inquiry and integrative approaches, collaborated in teams to some extent, and found this to be supportive during the project. Also, pre-service teachers appreciated the opportunity to teach in the schools. In general, careful goal setting, collaboration between the participants, and guidance by teacher educators during the initiation of the project were found to be crucial to the further success of the project. The results highlight a need for further research in order to better meet to the challenges of team teaching, inquiry-based instruction, and integrative teaching. The designed model was developed between the cycles and must be further developed in the future, especially in terms of supporting collaboration and clarifying theoretical concepts during the project.