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WERA Symposia at the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Carine Jonker
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ECER 2018, 3-5 September, Bolzano, Italy


The European Conference on Educational Research this year, took place in Bolzano, Italy. WERA hosted two of the invited symposia. WERA members presented two symposia at ECER 2018. The first symposium was organised by Professor Ingrid Gogolin (WERA President).


Multilingual Classrooms – Global Challenges, Local Solutions


The participants of this discussion were Professor Dr Ingrid Gogolin (Universität Hamburg, Germany), Professor Dr Rita Franceschini (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy),  Dr Surette van Staden (University of Pretoria, South Africa), and  Assistant Professor Dr Joana Duarte (University of Groningen, The Netherlands).

The symposium was conceptualized from an interdisciplinary and transnational perspective. From both, the perspective of educational science and a linguistic point of view, the symposium related to general developmental theories which focus on the conditions of successful learning in general. The contributions to the symposium focus on examples of teaching and learning in multilingual classrooms from four countries: Italy (South Tyrol), South Africa, Germany, and The Netherlands. Common key questions are: What characteristics of the presented cases are suitable to support the successful development of multilingualism among learners? In which aspects are these characteristics transferable to the context of other education systems and their schools?

From left to right: Prof Ingrid Gogolin (WERA President) and symposium leader, Prof Yunus Mustafa Eryaman (WERA President-Elect)



Inclusion and exclusion at the heart of global perspectives on teacher resilience

The second symposium was chaired by Theo Wubbels, from the University of Utrecht. Caroline Mansfield, from the Murdoch University, Qing Gu, from the University of Nottingham, and, Susan Beltman, from Curtin University, all presented the following papers.



Dr. Carmela Aprea, University of Mannheim, Germany
Dr. Viviana Sappa, Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Switzerland

Dr. Elena Boldrini, Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Switzerland

Aprea, Sappa and Boldrini deliberate: ‘Heterogeneity as resource and challenge for resilience of teachers in vocational education and training’. An extensive body of literature has shown a multitude of risk and protective factors that influence teachers’ resilience. Heterogeneity is one of those factors, an issue which is especially prevalent for teachers in vocational and training, mainly because of the following reasons: First, teachers in this area are usually trained as professionals in a specific vocational field. Thus, they very often combine teaching with another job, and consequently experience heterogeneity between differing workplaces, i.e. school and company. Secondly, vocational school students are a quite heterogeneous target group, e.g. with regard to their educational, motivational, cultural and linguistic background. Based on the conceptualization of teacher resilience as multifaceted construct (e.g., Mansfield et al., 2016) and on data from survey and interview studies in Switzerland and Germany, our presentation is focused on the question of how perceived heterogeneity impacts different resilience outcomes (e.g., job satisfaction, work engagement, self-efficacy) of teachers in vocational education and training.



A/Professor Caroline Mansfield, School of Education, Murdoch University

A/Professor Susan Beltman, School of Education, Curtin University

Mansfield and Beltman contemplated: ‘Building teacher resilience: Inclusion through online, personalised and self-directed learning’. Teacher resilience has become an increasingly prominent issue, especially when teachers are working in contexts where there are multiple and complex risk factors and communities experiencing disadvantage. However, teacher professional learning about resilience has typically involved face to face, formal workshop style events or in-services, and talks by experts within a set and fixed time frame. Furthermore, availability and access to such experiences is dependent on school and sector resources and priorities. This presentation described a freely available, online, personalised and self-directed resource that aims to increase users’ awareness of the skills and strategies for enhancing resilience in the teaching profession. Using data gathered via website analytics, user behaviour of over 5,000 users in the online environment will be explored.  Findings and implications for provision of online teacher professional learning especially regarding resilience were discussed.

Professor Susan Beltman, School of Education, Curtin University



Professor Qiong Li; Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University, China

Professor Qing Gu; School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK

Professor Li and professor Gu considered that “Difficulties make you stronger”: Understanding the challenges to teacher resilience in remote rural schools in China.’ This study investigated how Chinese teachers working in socio-economically disadvantaged rural schools draw upon their capacities for resilience to maintain a sense of professional identity, motivation and commitment. Drawing upon Bronfenbrenner’s ecological system theory and in-depth interviews with eight teachers with different years of experience, the study identified a range of personal, relational, organisational and policy influences which are specific to the rural contexts and which challenge teachers’ capacity to be resilient. Ten personal and contextual resources were perceived to be essential in enabling them to sustain their everyday resilience over time. Personal resources, which acted as inner drives or buffers against burnout, included occupational commitment, strong intrinsic motivation, and academic optimism. Trusting relationships in school and various internal and external professional networks were also found to be important contextual resources for rural teachers working in remote areas to overcome challenges and sustain their capacity to committed and resilient.

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