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Teaching professionals: Identity, competence and becoming (PLIKT)

About the research unit

The research unit focuses the teaching profession, teacher training and teacher practice in relation to the fields of pedagogy, didactics, educational science, sociology and psychology.

The aim is to highlight relevant aspects of teacher training with a view to qualifying the development of teachers as educational professionals. As such, research on learning and educational quality lies at the core of the research unit, contributing research-based knowledge that supports learning among teachers and student teachers and the quality and relevance of the training offered at university colleges.

The research unit will furthermore strive to build stronger research partnerships with university colleges and existing Nordic and international research networks in order to generate new knowledge about the teaching profession that can qualify the learning and practice of student teachers, both during their training and in the workplace.

We are particularly interested in examining teaching professionals’ identity, competences and process of becoming as situated within a field comprising professional, societal, educational and personal concerns. This includes an interest in how student teachers learn, develop and become during their training at a university college and in social, cultural and educational practice in schools and other contexts.

We furthermore intend to develop a shared conceptual vocabulary within the unit for discussing the various issues related to teachers’ professionalism and professionalisation (professionalism, professional identity, professional competence etc.). The unit explores a wide array of research areas in the study of teaching professionals, including:

  • Teaching and learning environments in teacher training
  • Continuities and transitions between teacher training and teaching practice in schools
  • Professional communities of learning in schools and in teacher training
  • Nordic and international comparative studies of teacher training
  • Reflection in teacher training practices
  • Professional identity in professional training and professional work
  • Further and continuing education for teaching professionals
  • Informal learning and socialisation processes in schools and in teacher training
  • Recruitment, motivation and engagement among teachers and student teachers
  • The forms of knowledge and expertise that constitute professionalism among teachers
  • Societal and sociological meanings of the teaching profession
  • Learning and the management and organisation of teacher training and teaching
  • Key educational concepts (such as transfer, relational competence, classroom management and professional judgement) and their impact on professional practice and professional competences

The research conducted within the unit includes empirical research, such as ethnographic fieldwork and action research in different institutional contexts; evidence-based research; studies of the impact on motivation and outcomes of different measures implemented in schools and in teacher training; comparative studies; surveys of teaching practice; and literature reviews within the unit’s field of research.

The research unit was established spring 2016 with members from interdisciplinary backgrounds in fields such as educational sociology, general education, educational science and educational psychology. As a result, the unit employs a variety of methodological and disciplinary approaches to the study of teachers’ professionalism.