Teacher Perceptions of Competence: does English Teacher Education mirror a broader European perspective?

F. Hallett, G. Hallett

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This study is located within the context of the English education system but seeks to examine parallels with pan – European approaches to teacher education. The paper resides in the work of two universities in the North-West of England, both of which is involved in initial and post graduate teacher education. The aim of the study is to capture the perceptions of two groups of students in each University, drawn equally from prospective and serving teachers. The focus of the research derives from a suggested polarization of approach in the nature and practice of teacher education. Erixon-Arreman (2005) charts this continuum, describing the political differences between approaches that aim to make teacher education a research-based field, and approaches that aim to raise the professionalism of teacher education by government-led measures . The research does not seek to challenge these political differences; rather it seeks to investigate the congruence or otherwise in the perceptions of the respondents, between government designed competencies, and a broader definition of competence developed through experientially moderated practice. It is suggested that these perceptions might over-ride the suggested continuum, in that competence measured through defined standards in initial teacher training becomes subsumed by a competency in the experienced practitioner that more closely resembles ‘the ability of a person to fulfill a role effectively’ (Hager & Butler, 1996: 369); that is, as Erixon–Arreman, 2005) suggests, a move from the instrumental approach espoused by the UK Government to the more research based model that holds sway in much of the rest of Europe. We would also argue that it is difficult to encompass the entire range of demands that make up the complicated role described by Hager and Butler (ibid) and to enshrine them in a narrow set of competencies or ‘Standards.’ It is suggested that the perceptions of respondents, even at the initial teacher training stage, reflect an internal dichotomy, embracing teacher training as required by the competence led modality, but also demonstrating an increasing acceptance and awareness of the broader aspects implicit in teacher education. As King (2004) asserts, it can be suggested that teacher education ‘implies added critical reflection, the ability to use research to improve practice and a desire to link practice with theory’ (2004:197). The imminent introduction of a Masters in Teaching and Learning in England, which is seen as likely to embody the standards agenda, suggests an alternative perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventEuropean Educational Research Association (EERA) European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) - Vienna University, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 26 Sept 200930 Sept 2009


ConferenceEuropean Educational Research Association (EERA) European Conference on Educational Research (ECER)


Dive into the research topics of 'Teacher Perceptions of Competence: does English Teacher Education mirror a broader European perspective?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this