Research Agenda for Teacher Education

Zeichner, K. M. (2005). A research agenda for teacher education. In M. Cochran-Smith & K. M. Zeichner (Eds.), Studying teacher education: The report of the AERA panel on research and teacher education (pp. 737-760).

Summary: In this chapter, Zeichner draws upon the other eleven chapters in the book to identify a research agenda for teacher education. He recommends (p. 740):

  • "Clear and consistent definition of terms
  • Full description of data collection and analysis methods and the contexts in which research is conducted
  • Research situated in relation to relevant theoretical frameworks
  • Development of more programs of research
  • More attention to the impact of teacher education on teacher learning and teacher practices
  • Research that connects teacher education to student learning
  • Total portfolio of studies that includes multidisciplinary and multimethodological approaches to studying the complexities of teacher education
  • Development of better measure of teacher preparation in different subjects in addition to mathematics and science and takes the subjects taught into account when examining the effects of teacher education components and programs
  • More systematic analysis of clearly identifiable alternatives in teacher education using matching controls or random trials as separate studies or in conjunction with in-depth case studies
  • More in-depth multiinstitutional case studies of teacher education programs and their components (p. 740)."

The Work of the Panel

Limitations in Our Work and of Research

Elements of a Research Agenda

Research Design and Methodology (Zeichner's Recommendations:)

            Definition of Terms

            Description of Data Collection, Analysis, and Research Contexts

            Connect Research to Theoretical Frameworks

            Develop Research Programs

Connect Teacher Characteristics, Teacher Education, Teacher Learning, and Teacher Practice

Connect Teacher Education to Student Learning

Teacher Education Research is Multidisciplinary and Multimethodological

Conduct Research on the Preparation of Teachers to Teach Different Subjects

Conduct Systematic Analyses of Distinct Alternatives in Teacher Education

Conduct In-Depth Case Studies of Teacher Education Programs

Research Topics

  • "These recommendations when considered from the perspective of research content, suggest that a top priority for teacher education research should be to further our knowledge about the connections between particular aspects of teacher education (e.g., curriculum, instruction, programs, and policies) and teacher learning, teacher practices, and student learning under various conditions and in different contexts (p. 746)." Zeichner then uses these recommendations to create a framework that he describes in detail in his chapter in the SAGE handbook in 2006.
  • Zeichner also identifies research topics for teacher education. They include :

    • Preparing teachers to teach with diverse student populations
    • Teacher educators, teacher education students, graduates, and the context of instruction
    • The curriculum, program of study, and instructional interactions
    • Organizational arrangements within programs
    • Predictive validity of admissions standards
    • Important overlooked topics
  • Zeichner's call for research on teacher educators presents a need for my research.
  • Conduct Research on Preparing Teachers for Cultural Diversity and on Recruiting a More Diverse Teaching Force
  • Conduct Research on Teacher Educators, Teacher Education Students and Graduates, and on the Instructional Context in Teacher Education

    • Resources: Lanier & Little (1986) Research in teacher education. In M. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 527-569). New York: MacMillan; Wisniewski & Ducharme, 1989
    • "More research is needed examining the consequences of who is teaching a particular program component (e.g., a methods course or foundations course), who is using a particular instructional strategy, or who is supervising a student engaged in a field experience in a school. In what ways does it matter if the instructors and supervisors in preservice programs are permanent faculty, academic staff, and adjunct faculty, or doctoral students? What are the characteristics of teacher educators, and how do various demographic and quality indicators associated with teacher educators (e.g., years of teaching experience and type of graduate education) influence the character and quality of instruction in teacher education programs (p. 747)?"
    • "How do particular kinds of professional development opportunities for teacher educators influence the instruction and supervision provided to students (e.g., training and support for field supervisors) (p. 748)."
  • Conduct Research on Teacher Education Curriculum, Instructional Practices, and Organizational Arrangements Within Programs
  • Conduct Research on the Predictive Validity of Admissions Criteria
  • Conduct Research on Other Neglected Topics

Developing an Infrastructure for Research on Teacher Education

  • Resources for Research

    • Teacher education is inadequately funded.
    • Most teacher educators have full teaching loads and conduct research in addition to those loads.
  • The Peer-Review Process
  • The Preparation of Educational Researchers
  • The Organization of Teacher Education Research: Research Partnerships