University of Bath

Conceptualisations of pedagogical contexts and development of appropriate pedagogies

The project aims to support student teachers with their professional development, improve teaching quality and inform revision of education courses in Brazil.

This project is conducted within the Programa Institucional de Bolsa de Iniciação à Docência (PIBID), a national programme in Brazil to promote teacher recruitment and encourage undergraduate students to pursue a career in teaching.

The project investigated the pedagogical experiences of pre-service Portuguese teachers working in state schools located in peripheral urban areas in São Paulo. Specifically, it examined the ways these student teachers conceptualised their practicum contexts and how this informed their development of contextually appropriate pedagogies. The aim was to support student teachers with their professional development, improve the quality of teaching in these contexts, and inform the revision of teacher education programmes in Brazil.

Research questions

  1. How do pre-service Portuguese teachers conceptualise their pedagogical contexts?
  2. How does this conceptualisation impact on their pedagogical decision making?
  3. What contextual and cognitive factors facilitate or hinder the development of contextually appropriate pedagogical knowledge?

Project team

Research design

The study was exploratory-interpretive in nature and followed a multi-site, multiple-case design. Four cases of individual pre-service teachers were conducted in three different state schools.

The project involved a multimodal approach to data collection, including, where appropriate, an ecological use of methods which were already adopted as part of the PIBID programme.

The final data set was gathered using:

  • an autobiographical account (adopting a self-reflection tool called ‘The Tree of Life’)
  • a photo-driven interview (based on pictures of the context taken by the participants)
  • a teaching experience recall interview with each of the participants

Expected outcomes

Although the case study model precludes generalisation, it is anticipated that the cross-case analysis will yield insights that should lead to transferability of the findings to other practitioners and contexts within and beyond the school settings studied.

The project is expected to:

  • support the professional development of pre-service Portuguese teachers
  • inform the revision of practicum-based teacher education programmes (those involved in the PIBID scheme)
  • support the development of appropriate Portuguese pedagogies for state sector schools
  • improve teaching staff recruitment, retention, and motivation in state sector schools
  • inform policy making so that it is more responsive to the educational and professional needs of state sector practitioners and schools
  • advance our theoretical understanding of pre-service teachers' cognitive development and initial teaching engagement
  • open up avenues for further research into the areas of pre-service language teacher education, language teacher cognition, first-language teaching, teaching and learning in difficulties circumstances, critical pedagogies, and context appropriate methodologies

Identification of participants and research contexts

1 JUL 2015  to  31 AUG 2015

A group of 30 potential student-teacher participants and six in-service teacher collaborators were identified and invited to participate in our project. We also visited six state schools in São Paulo which had agreements with the Faculty of Education in the University of São Paulo and which were involved in the PIBID programme.

Participant induction, data collection and preliminary analysis

1 SEP 2015  to  29 FEB 2016

Four cases of individual pre-service teachers were conducted in three different state schools. During this period the participants were inducted into the project, their written consent was obtained, relevant documents were collected, and all interviews were conducted and fully transcribed.

This stage also involved the visit of Dr Sanchez to University of São Paulo to participate in dissemination events, knowledge exchange activities, the preliminary analysis of documents and interview data. The organisation of the visit of Dr Rodrigues and Dr de Pietri to the University of Bath in 2016 also took place.

Data analysis and dissemination of findings

1 MAR 2016  to  30 JUN 2016

Data analysis was conducted within and across the cases. Dr Rodrigues and Dr de Pietri visited the University of Bath during May and June to participate in knowledge exchange activities, complete the data analysis, and develop a plan for disseminating the findings via written publications, seminar and conference presentations, and the organisation of professional development and public engagement events.

Dissemination of findings

1 JUL 2016  to  31 JUL 2017

This stage will involve the dissemination of findings via written publications, presentations in national and international research seminars and conferences, and professional development and public engagement events in São Paulo and Bath.