Its purpose is to provide a platform for teacher educators to connect with each other; and share and co-construct knowledge, solutions and responses to the challenges and issues teacher educators experience in their work.
Why teacher educators?
Research undertaken by the European Commission on supporting teacher educators (2013) provides valuable insights into the challenges of teacher educators, finding that 'they are often neglected in policy making' and that they often do not get the 'support and challenge they need'.
Furthermore, since there is often no formal programme for the professional development of teacher educators, they are sometimes left to develop their own professional competencies, knowledge and pedagogy 'on the job' while performing their role as teacher educators. The current situation in teacher educator development may have elements of career progression, but these are not always clear and coherent. The British Council has created an online community in order to attempt to address some of the problems encountered in the professional development of teacher educators.
What is a community of practice?
A community of practice often refers to a virtual community or informal group that comes together to help share or learn knowledge. A clear definition of communities of practice has been provided by Etienne Wenger who is an educational theorist, researcher and author:
'Groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis'
Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002).
According to the theory, communities of practice have an important role to play in informal learning and development. They offer opportunities for members to learn from each other through sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas. Being part of a community helps to create a shared identity and provides a platform for discussing issues and challenges.
Who is the Teacher Educator Community for?
The online community is relevant for teacher educators in all contexts: pre-service, in-service, on-line and face-to-face. The community can contribute to the professional development of teacher trainers, mentors, education consultants or teachers who provide teacher development activities for colleagues on a more informal basis. The Teacher Educator Community uses the British Council’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Framework for teacher educators as a guide to the professional development of all those involved in the education and training of teachers.
Activities available in the online community include:
- exploration of a wide range of relevant professional topics
- mentoring opportunities
- extending professional contacts and international networking
- enriching professional development ideas and activities
- keeping up with the latest developments in teacher education
- access to articles, research papers, live webinars and recordings on teacher education.
The community is evidence of the British Council’s strong commitment to and support for teacher educators and is part of our Teaching for Success approach to professional development, driven by individual needs and with an emphasis on lifelong learning.