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The research environment Research on Education and Learning within the School of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences brings together those researchers and PhD students at Halmstad University with specific interest in issues connected to school and teacher education. The environment consists of 15 researchers holding doctorates (of which two are professors) and 2 active PhD students. The research environment aims to conduct innovative research projects and make a significant contribution to knowledge about educational opportunities and outcomes for children, young people and adults from diverse backgrounds and circumstances. The research is centered around different theoretical perspectives and the knowledge base of practitioners. The research environment is led by Professor Pernilla Nilsson.
Research has shown that the status of school and its ability to attract children and adolescents is continuously diminished. Learning, to a gradually increasing extent, is going on in non-institutional settings, in particular because of the growth of digital media, and the authority that formerly was automatically accorded officials in school nowadays has to be created on a more personal base. These circumstances might be due to the ongoing modernization of society and is something to which the school undoubtedly has to pay attention. Issues related to school organization, teaching and learning in schools, teacher education and in non-institutional settings constitute an overarching research area for the research environment of teacher education. The questions that therefore arise are, “How do schools stand out as an arena for identity development and learning in relation to societal development and how can a school that is following the process of societal modernization be constructed? How is learning captured, developed and communicated in schools, teacher education and in non-institutional settings?”
The research of teacher education includes two tracks. On the one hand it is subject didactical research (e.g., science and math education) and on the other hand, research that is more general since it is not connected to a specific school subject. The latter case concerns questions about relations between the different actors in schools, power aspects, identity, gender, assessment, leadership, teaching as a profession, mentoring and supervision, school cultures and questions related to global migration. The contextual focus of the research is both school and teacher education with an expectation that it will relate to concrete activities largely connected to school practice. There has also been an ambition to involve teachers as co-researchers.
With the above overarching aspects established, there are three sub groups within the research environment of teacher education, each of which focuses on more specific research themes relating to the profile of the respective sub group.
Within this theme issues that relate to aesthetic (arts) expression among children and adolescents in the school context is the major focus.
Within this theme the communicative processes of teaching and learning are studied. Research concerns aspects that comprise the professional knowledge base of teachers and how this might influence the nature of teaching and learning in schools as well as in teacher education.
The focus within this theme is student teachers’ socialization into the teaching profession and the development of teachers’ competence. Research concerns, in particular, teacher education practices, professional learning of teachers and teacher identity. Related work deals with school and organisational leadership.