Here’s our second SIG Day speaker post of the week. This time we hear from Marina Bendtsen, whose session on 13 April is Exploring the insider perspective – teachers’ evolving views of teacher learning.

Marina’s blog post

I have always been driven by a desire to learn new things and to use the knowledge and skills that I have, to help and inspire people around me. I feel fortunate to have such a job that allows me to do just that, every day. I have been working as a teacher and teacher educator since the late 1990s. My main employer over the years has been Abo Akademi University, the only exclusively Swedish-medium university in bilingual Finland. The university has three campuses in three different towns along the west coast of Finland. The Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies, where I work, is located in Vaasa. Over the years I have taught a wide variety of courses, from language courses, courses in English literature and culture, to methodology courses. I am also involved in supervision during teaching practice periods, at the teacher training school that is linked to our university.

When it comes to research, my particular area of interest is teacher learning and professional development, especially early professional learning. Research on professional development has shown that the period from initial teacher education into the first few years in the profession is a particularly critical and influential developmental stage ( Kagan, 1992; OECD, 2005; Wideen et al., 1998) and it is today widely recognized that different forms of support is needed during this phase.

In my talk, I will present and discuss some of the findings from a qualitative, longitudinal study focusing teachers’ evolving views of teacher learning. Since our perceptions of what and how we learn have been seen to influence what we actually learn in a given situation, it is important that attempts to provide support for teachers’ professional development are based on an understanding of the learners’ perspective.

In the study, I have followed a cohort of prospective language teacher (n=20) as they progress through teacher education and into the workplace. The data is in the form of narrative essays and interviews and has been gathered in three different phases: 1) when the participants were student teachers), 2) after the participants had completed teacher education, and 3) after they had worked 1-2 years as teachers.

The presentation provides insight into the variety of views expressed by the teachers, regarding what learning opportunities are recognized and valued.  I will also illustrate how the views evolve over time and discuss specific patterns of views connected to the different phases and the different learning contexts (teacher education and workplace learning). Finally, I will point to specific areas of concern highlighted by the findings and consider some implications for how to support teachers’ professional development during early professional learning.


Kagan, D. M. (1992b). Professional Growth Among Preservice and Beginning Teachers. Review of Educational Research, 62(2). 129-169.

OECD. (2005). Teachers matter. Attracting , developing and retaining effective teachers. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from:

Wideen, M., Mayer-Smith, J., & Moon, B. (1998). A critical analysis of the research on learning to teach: Making the case for an ecological perspective on inquiry. Review on Educational Research, 68(2), 130-178.

Join us in Birmingham

Unfortunately, online booking has closed for the IATEFL conference. But it is still possible to register on the day at the ICC in Birmingham. Go to the IATEFL website and scroll down to On site Registration Form. Fill this in and come along on the day! The prices are £90 for the day for IATEFL members and £106 for Non-members. We hope to see you there!