Teacher Educators as Researchers: the Dutch case

Helma Oolbekkink, J. Dengerink, M.L. Lunenberg, Paulien Meijer

Research output: Contribution to ConferenceAbstractAcademic


Objectives: In Dutch teacher education, the development of researcherly dispositions of teacher educators (and student teachers) is increasingly valued, but specific insights in these dispositions and in critical aspects that support teacher educators’ professional development regarding research are still missing. The aim of this study is to offer these insights in relation to possible affordances which encourage teacher educators to further develop researcherly dispositions and to use research in their practices. Perspectives: Tack et al. (2014) define researcherly disposition as the tendency to engage in research, an inclination towards research (affective aspect), an ability to engage in research (cognitive aspect), and a sensitivity for research opportunities (behavioral aspect). Contextual factors as clear institutional expectations, a shared institutional research culture, availability of time and a perspective on rewards are considered essential to support teacher educator development in their role as researcher (Lunenberg et al., 2014). Methods: In this study we used a mixed methods approach. In order to gain a broad understanding of teacher educators’ dispositions towards research, we used a structured questionnaire. Respondents were 350 Dutch primary and secondary education teacher educators. Items based on TERDS (Tack & Vanderlinde, 2016) were clustered. Analyses were performed using descriptive statistics (ANOVA). In order to gain an in-depth understanding of teacher educator’s researcherly disposition and relevant affordances, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 11 teacher educators. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Inductive analyses were performed using Atlas-ti.Results Results: of the questionnaire data show that Dutch teacher educators lag behind their colleagues in other countries in researchly dispositions especially regarding the affective and behavioral aspects. But take into account the selective sample, esp.in other countries. Within the Netherlands differences in all aspects of researcherly dispositions are related to prior education of teacher educators, especially having a PhD. Also teacher educators who not only work in initial teacher education, but also in continuous professional development (CPD) activities, have stronger researchly dispositions. Teacher educators who qualify themselves mainly as a teacher, as opposed to an academic or a teacher educator, are scoring lower regarding researchly dispositions. Differences in cognitive and behavioral aspects of researcherly dispositions are also related to working in a research university or in a college (university of applied sciences). Teacher educators for primary education (in NL in colleges) score relatively high on the affective aspect, and teacher educators in research universities relatively high on the cognitive aspect. Both groups are also scoring relatively high on the behavioral aspect, referring to a type 3 or 4 researching teacher educator. Which may lead to a conclusion that there may be two strands which lead to actually conducting research, a cognitive strand and an affective strand. But further research is needed about the type of research they are conducting.Results of the interviews indicated that most teacher educators are overall positive about research in relation to their practice as a teacher educator (affective dimension). Most of them have report the ability to use research in their practice as teacher educators (cognitive ability). However, teacher educators vary in the extent to which they use and are sensitive to research in their practice and are actually conducting research (behavioral aspect). Teacher educators who carry out research do not study their own practice as teacher educators. The context in which teacher educators work plays an important role in the behavioral aspect of teacher educators researcherly disposition. In research universities, teacher educators with a PhD are expected to participate in existing research projects. Teacher educators without a Ph.D. feel the pressure to obtain it. These university-based teacher educators are more interested in studying their own practice, but feel institutional indifference towards such an approach. Universities of applied science value inquiry as a stance, but most teacher educators who are supervising student research have no experience in practitioner research themselves. Scientific significance: This study contributes to our understanding of Dutch teacher educators’ researcherly disposition in relation to affordances. References Lunenberg, M., Dengerink, J., & Korthagen, F. (2014). The professional teacher educator: Roles, behaviour, and professional development of teacher educators. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Tack, H. & Vanderlinde, R. (2014). Teacher educators’ professional development: Towards a typology of teacher educators’ researcherly disposition. British Journal of Educational Studies, 62(3), 297-315. Tack, H. & Vanderlinde, R. (2016). Measuring Teacher Educators’ Researcherly Disposition: Item Development and Scale Construction. Vocations and Learning, 9(1), 43-62. DOI 10.1007/s12186-016-9148-5
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2018
EventAERA Conference 2018 - New York, United States
Duration: 13 Apr 201916 Apr 2019


ConferenceAERA Conference 2018
CountryUnited States
CityNew York


  • teacher educator
  • researcher

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