Symposium - "Teachers as Learning Specialists"


Teachers as Learning Specialists – Implications for Teachers' Pedagogical Knowledge and Professionalism

Brussels, 18 June 2014



Background and Objectives

This symposium, co-hosted by CERI in the framework of the Innovative Teaching for Effective Learning (ITEL) project and by the Department of Education and Training of the Flemish Ministry, focused on teachers’ pedagogical knowledge. The main objective was to get a good understanding of how teacher knowledge can be conceptualised and measured and what elements might influence this knowledge. The themes also included the potential of integrating new findings from the Science of Learning (e.g., in particular, the neurosciences) in this knowledge and what impact the increasing demand on teaching 21st century skills might have on teacher knowledge.

The objective of this Symposium was to engage in discussions with leading experts in order to inform the development of a conceptual framework for developing an instrument to profile the pedagogical knowledge base of teachers. The Symposium brought together leading researchers in the field, who made presentations of their conceptual and empirical work to begin exploring the following questions:

  • What is the pedagogical knowledge base of the teaching profession?
    • How is teachers' general pedagogical knowledge conceptualized? For instance, is it multi-dimensional, and if so, what are the various cognitive dimensions and can these be measured?
    • How do teachers’ motivations and beliefs about teaching (e.g., self-regulation, self-efficacy, professional responsibility) relate to teacher knowledge and how can these relationships can be measured?
    • How does teacher pedagogical knowledge impact student learning outcomes?
    • What is the relationship between pedagogical knowledge and professionalism, and how can it be measured?
  • Is teachers' pedagogical knowledge up-to-date?
    • Does the knowledge base of teachers sufficiently incorporate the latest scientific research on learning? Can neuroscience research inform teachers on how to create effective teaching-learning situations?
    • Does teachers' knowledge base meet the expectations for teaching and learning '21st century skills'? What does the research say about how these skills are learned and developed?

Download the Project Background Report, which describes the policy context and the project objectives and gives a brief synthesis of the research literature.



Download the Symposium Programme, which also contains the speakers' biographies.




Sigrid Blömeke Modelling teachers' professional competence as a multi-dimensional construct Summary Slides
Thamar Voss Teachers' general pedagogical/psychological knowledge: Conceptualization and test construction (Thamar Voss was not able to present at the symposium.) Summary Slides
Johannes König Motivations for teaching and relationship to pedagogical knowledge Summary Slides
Fani Lauermann Teacher responsibility: ties to pedagogical knowledge and professionalism Summary Slides
Daniel Ansari Why should teachers care about cognitive neuroscience? Summary Slides
James W. Pellegrino What is the evidence on teaching and learning 21st century skills? Summary Slides
Kirsti Klette Measuring teaching expertise from the point of classroom observations Summary Slides
Fien Depaepe Discussant and Moderator for a Panel Discussion with Sigrid Blömeke, Fani Lauermann, and Johannes König   Slides


Summary Report

Download the Symposium Summary Report containing brief summaries of the presentations and discussions of the break-out sessions.


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