New challenges in teacher education. Online the April 2011 REIFOP issue


The April 2011 REIFOP issue (clicking here)
is entitled "Nuevos desafíos en la formación del profesorado" [New challenges in teacher education]. It presents a wide and assorted view of teacher education in the 21st Century. The analyses and discussions included are of interest to professors, scholars, researchers, trainers, education professionals, teachers and students. This number is particularly relevant for those engaged in the education of prospective and in-service teachers at the levels of kindergarten, elementary, secondary and college education.

The special issue is composed of an editorial and twenty-three articles focused on different aspects of teacher education. The authors represent eight different institutions; among which are seven different universities. Overall, four countries are represented: Spain, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. The authors, from different theoretical (pedagogy, psychology, research methods, didactics, teacher education, etc.) and international perspectives discuss the processes of social, economic, and cultural change experienced in the last decades and the dramatic transformation that this change means for educational systems over the world. Teacher education does not escape from this dynamic situation, facing new challenges and concerns. This special issue both presents those changes in current teacher education as examined in research studies, as well as new national and international educational approaches responding to this reality and already taking place in different educational and social contexts.

Because education is on the move, professionals in the field of education are experiencing a critical situation which we cannot escape or avoid. This REIFOP special issue assumes this responsibility and joins efforts, approaches, intervention proposals, solutions, and sources of support to shed light on practices that are effective and successful for all teachers in different educational situations.

Teachers’ training underlines a number of processes used by teachers to learn, think and understand on their daily practices and, of course, on their teaching. In order to improve educational processes that are in constant change, it is crucial for teachers to commit to acquire new skills and knowledge to optimize everyday practices in classrooms. The contributions included in this special issue address this need and introduce possible answers and alternative practices to address the urgent demand of transforming education for today’s globalized, informational, and multicultural world. Authors with large experience and recognition in the field, both nationally and internationally, present their proposals, answers, and research findings that may be adapted and applied in different socio-educative contexts.

Nowadays there is agreement regarding the need of moving from transmission-reception teaching methods to other ones focused on learning as an inquiry process, promoting student’s participation in the recreation of knowledge. This relates to the need of moving away from the traditional “chalk and talk” and introduce new approaches based on inquiry (Inquiry-Based Science Education, IBSE). Multiple studies and practices confirm the success of these inquiry-based teaching.

The twenty three articles included in this special issue aim to provide a brief but deep overview of the objectives and contents needed to improve teachers’ training. The reflection on those can lead us to act with the responsibility that requires being a teacher in the 21st Century.

Finally, consistent with criteria of research quality in educational sciences, this special issue has an international, interdisciplinary, and practice informative approach. With the publication of research articles, case studies, and empirical discussions, this REIFOP special issue sheds light on important contemporary concerns and challenges in education. At the same time, this issue raises awareness regarding which new research topics in teachers’ training should be addressed in the near future to provide answers to new paradigms of globalized learning, which is generated through access and continuous adaptation of ICT to education, and to teaching and research in particular.

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