Teacher-Researcher Training in Higher Education: a Systems Thinking Approach
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There is a current consensus on teacher training as a key element to promote the quality of higher education. Despite that, a lot of teacher preparation programs are short-term training efforts enmeshed in a politically endorsed ‘social market’ perspective that emphasized instructional skill training and adaptation to the existing curricular organization. In this context, training processes based on an innovative alternative vision framed in a dynamic learning system were context plays a determining role are crucial. This article presents a formative experience of teacher-researchers in the university context, theoretically oriented from systems thinking and characterized by a holistic approach based on contextual learning. The research was designed using Grounded Theory with a biographical-narrative approach. Participant observation, sociodemographic questionnaire, and semi-structured interviews were used as data collection instruments. The results show a formative process in which the pedagogical practice is the training core, and highlight the strengths of systems thinking to favor the co-construction of a teacher identity that integrates biographies and personal interests of teachers, as well as the configuration of teacher training processes oriented to collaborative learning. Additionally, it was found that the process shows strengths in several relevant aspects in teacher education such as reflective teaching as a rejection of top-down forms of educational programs, the importance of reflective thinking and reflective feeling and the importance of collaborative learning to contribute to the solution of contextual problems.