Developing teaching innovation as a core element in initial university teacher training

María José Pérez, Sonia Oliver

Research output: Chapter in BookChapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

© 2017 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Our belief in initial teacher training as a key element in the quality of the teaching - learning process at university, as a resource to construct a teaching identity and as a tool for professional development and continued improvement, prompted us to explore all the scientific and practical contributions available. With this goal in mind, we critically revised the literature and experience that Spanish and international universities have developed so far with a view to proposing new training programs that contemplate the characteristics of the teaching staff, their students, and institutes as well as the many challenges to be faced. In other words, considering that university teacher training is legitimized at the point when it embraces a culture of change and professional development 1 as stated by Imbernón, the notion of indoctrination must be abandoned, therefore, pushing transformation forward to play a more central role in training 2 according to this author. The purpose of training should be, then, to help teachers integrate improvements in their teaching and developing a culture of change and innovation in education following Fullan 3 and Lago and Onrubia 4 's views. Guided by these approaches, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia developed the Higher Education Teacher Training and Innovation Programme. With a view towards rigorous educational research, the objectives of this program were to integrate teaching innovation processes as part of professional teacher training in the early teacher training program. Also, to facilitate the fostering of innovation as an inherent part of teaching the practice and to develop a Teaching Innovation Project, both supported institutionally and involving other teachers by contemplating the various stages of innovation: a) design, b) development, and c) evaluation. The conclusions that may be drawn from the research are of considerable interest in the designing of future training activities. Namely, considering educational innovation as a core element as well as a learning objective in itself as these training activities will support the development of educators and foster the continuous improvement required for the exercise of the profession today. To conclude, the innovation undertaken directly impacted students, fellow teachers, and the institution as well. We observed that student and teacher satisfaction and learning are directly related to the teacher training and, at the same time, are key for teachers to maintain their commitment to teaching innovation. In this sense, the main elements of resistance were: a reluctant teaching context, or one lacking in innovative, or with little autonomy for decision-making. To our view, innovation is acquired in a progressive fashion, with it being less prominent at the beginning of the training period compared to the end. Furthermore, one of the goals of training should be the creation of synergies and the construction of common projects of considerable magnitude involving teachers not initially taking part in the training.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch on University Teaching and Faculty Development: International Perspectives
Pages101-120
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Initial training
  • Innovation in education
  • University lecturers/teachers

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