Welcome to the project website of our research team!
We are a small research team from the University of Teacher Education in Bern, Switzerland, engaging in research on teacher development and careers.
Teachers’ professional education as a research focus
Given the growing professional mobility in an ever-changing educational landscape, it is no surprise that teacher education and careers are changing as well. While lifting teacher education from secondary to the tertiary education level at the beginning of the new millennium, Swiss universities for teacher education have simultaneously started to introduce alternative admissions and special study programmes for second career teachers. In the Swiss capital, the University of Teacher Education PHBern offers a preparatory course and entrance exam for professionals without a higher school certificate who want to become teachers. As a result, approximately 20-25% of students at PHBern have had previous careers.
But what are the (biographical) characteristics, qualifications and experiences that students with different backgrounds bring into teacher education and the teaching profession? What are the benefits, challenges and developmental prospects for prospective and active teachers with different backgrounds? Why do some prosper in this field, while others drop out? What are the preconditions that help them become and stay successful teachers? While these questions are important for the recruitment, training and further education of successful teachers, we don’t yet have much systematic knowledge in this regard. This is why we are addressing these issues in our research projects.
On this website, we provide information about two research projects dealing with teacher careers:
- BaL I, 2013 - 2016: A first project with the title BaL I (Berufsleute als Lehrpersonen I / Professionals as teachers I: Second career teachers’ resources, retention and attrition; with Prof. Dr. Ueli Hostettler) focussed on career switchers’ professional well-being and field of occupation 7-10 after receiving their diploma. We found that career switchers were as loyal to teaching as first career teachers, with approx. 70% still working as active teachers in both groups. Teacher well-being, self-assessment of skills and attrition reasons differed quite distinctly between first and second career teachers, leading to the question what resources and skills career switchers bring into the profession and whether these might influence professional development during teacher education and eventual career decisions. This was the basis for a new project, focussing on teacher education students:
- BaL II, 2017 - 2020: Our second project BaL II (Berufsleute als Lehrpersonen II/ Professionals as teachers II: Prospective teachers’ professional development in the context of their educational and professional biographies) follows two cohorts of teacher education students from study entry to their final degree, examining their entry characteristics, their challenges and coping resources, well-being, academic performance, and potential drop-out from the study programme.
Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions. You will find our contact details on our team website.