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ontemporary Issues of

Education Quality
C
Editors:
Miomir Despotovi
Emina Hebib
Balzs Nmeth
Publisher:
Faculty of Philosophy,
University of Belgrade, Serbia
Institute for Pedagogy and Andragogy,
University of Belgrade, Serbia
Faculty of Adult Education and HRD,
University of Pcs, Hungary
Editors:
Prof. Miomir Despotovi,
PhD, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Prof. Emina Hebib,
PhD, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Prof. Balzs Nmeth,
PhD, Faculty of Adult Education and HRD,
University of Pcs, Hungary
Contemporary Issues of Education Quality
Belgrade 2013.
Reviewers:
Prof. zcan Demirel
PhD, Hacettepe University,Turkey
Prof. Sabina Jelenc-Kraovec,
PhD, Facultyof Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Prof. Sneana Medi,
PhD, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Prof. Nataa Matovi.
PhD, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia
For the Publisher:
Prof. Radovan Antonijevi,
PhD, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Design
Dosije studio, Belgrade
ISBN 978-86-82019-75-6
UDC 37.014.3:377.8(497.11+436) | 393
Nataa Simi,
*
Gerhild Bachmann,
**
Milan Stani,
***
Comparison of Teacher
Education Reforms in
Serbia and Austria
1
The aim of this paper was to compare the changes in educational policies and ed-
ucational practice regarding teacher education in Serbia and Austria. In the last years
the most important changes in policy papers in Serbia were: request for all teachers
to have a masters degree and a minimum of 30 ECTS in pedagogical-psychological-
methodical courses and 6 ECTS of school practice, introduction of inclusive educa-
tion, formalization of one year induction programs and introduction of obligatory
professional development courses. In Austria the new teacher education, proposed by
the National Council in 2013, includes a uniform educational training for all teachers
and educators at universities and the University College of Teacher Education (PH) in
Austria. For the first time both class and subject teachers will be required to have at
least Bachelor degree or later on Master Degree gained at the university. The master
studies are planned to deepen selected parts of Bachelor studies and to widen the ad-
jacent age ranges of pupils. It was concluded that the main difference between teacher
* University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade, Serbia
** University of Graz, Department of Educational Science, Graz, Austria
*** University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade, Serbia
1 The paper is the result of the project Models of evaluation and strategies for im-
provement of education quality in Serbia no 179060 (20112014) implemented by
Institute for Pedagogy and Andragogy of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of
Belgrade and project Identification, measurement and development of cognitive and
emotional competences important for the society oriented to European integrations
no 179018 (2011-2014) implemented by Institute for Psychology of the Faculty of
Philosophy, University of Belgrade, both funded by the Serbian Ministry of Educa-
tion, Science and Technological Development.
394 | Contemporary Issues of Education Quality
education in Austria and Serbia could be viewed through the interplay of uniformity
and flexibility. Finally, relying on contemporary models of teacher education, recom-
mendations that could contribute to further teacher education reforms in both coun-
tries were defined.
Key words: teacher education reforms, induction, professional development, Serbia,
Austria.
Within the education sciences in recent decades, subject teachers are
recognized as one of the most important initiators and implementers of
the reforms of educational system, primarily because they are one of the
most important factors of student achievements (Brofi, 2004; Hattie, 2009;
Taylor & Larson, 1999). In order for the subject teachers to be successful
agents of the changes it is necessary to reform their education and to de-
fine their professional roles and responsibilities in new ways (OECD, 2005;
Villegas-Reimers, 2003). In the following chapter we will shortly present
the findings about what teacher education should look like, or rather what
practices have proven to be the most effective.
Teacher professional development how it is and how
it should be
Programs of initial teacher education typically consist of activities
in two completely different contexts the university and the school. Al-
though the idea about separating theory and practice has been rejected
in professional literature long time ago, it is, obviously, still maintained
in practice. University courses teach theoretical principles using mostly
explicitly stated academic discourse and that kind of knowledge is de-con-
textualized. Contrary to that, during the practice in schools they focus on
everyday demands of the teachers job, connecting their knowledge with
certain situations and specific solutions (Connelly, Clandinin & He, 1997;
Little, 2003, in Sutherland, Howard & Markauskaite, 2010).
Research has shown that induction programs have at least two posi-
tive effects first, the novice teachers acquire a routine in managing a
class and successfully engage students in completing tasks. Second the
rate of job abandonment is lower. Factors that especially favorably af-
fect the remaining of teachers are: the accessibility of mentors that teach
the same subject at the same school, the existence of time for planning
and cooperation with other teachers, the inclusion in external networks
of teachers and the participation in group activities (Smith & Ingersoll,
2004). On the other hand, the lack of time for meeting with the mentors,
working in different schools, on different subjects and poorly prepared
mentors, with a narrow view of their role have a negative effect.
Comparison of Teacher Education Reforms in Serbia and Austria | 395
Speaking of continuous professional development of teachers, tradi-
tional formats, such as short-term workshops and conferences have less of
a chance to cause a change with teachers because they are directed at the
mere dissemination of information and because they are based on models
of knowledge transmission which, paradoxically, they themselves criti-
cize (Bullough, 2009).
Based on the mentioned findings, several recommendations can
be made. Regarding the duration and organization of the initial educa-
tion of teachers chances for change are greater when the program lasts
longer and includes more practice (experience with working in a class),
when there are more possibilities for reflection, as well as possibilities for
everyone to understand themselves in a safe environment, when testing
new, challenging situations (Guskey, 2000, in Opfer & Pedder, 2011). It
has been shown that reflecting after practice has a greater effect on the
change in beliefs than reflecting before practice (Tillema, 2000, in Opfer
& Pedder, 2011). Based on that, it is possible to conclude that it is useful
to organize a program of initial teacher education in which the phases of
school practice and reflecting on that practice would be interwoven.
In order for the induction programs to be a success, the role of the
mentor should be to help the novices to identify their own beliefs about
teaching, reconstruct what they know about learning and teaching, to
solve tasks that are in the zone of proximal development and to devel-
op their own style (through observing classes by mentors and other col-
leagues, dialogue, reflecting, etc.) (Blase, 2009). It is useful for novices to
have more mentors so that they could have the opportunity to see many
various styles of teaching and to have time to choose the one that suits to
them the most. Also, the training of mentors must be approached thor-
oughly.
When it comes to continuous professional development programs, re-
search has shown that they are especially successful if teachers from the
same school participate in them, so they can participate together and then
together implement in the school what they have learned. The use of in-
formation technologies, primarily online forums, can have additional pos-
itive effect (Sutherland, Howard & Markauskaite, 2010). Joyce states that
the seminars must not represent just mere credits collecting, but should be
based on discovery learning, exploring (inquiry-oriented approach) and
should be result-oriented (Joyce et al., 2009).
Between theory, education policy and practice
The question is why reforms are often unsuccessful, since research
already showed the effective practices and since many successful mod-
396 | Contemporary Issues of Education Quality
els of the professional development of teachers are described in the field
of learning and teaching theory. One of the obstacles in translation of
modern ideas and innovations to the level of policy papers, and more im-
portantly, in their implementation in practice, is teachers resistance. The
meta-analysis of John Hatties research proofs shows that 85% of teachers
resist changes to the existing practice (Hattie, 2009). It is a common phe-
nomenon when a change is being introduced top-down. Even when the
requested behavior is seen as a mean to achieving some desired effects,
authentic motivation is missing, which leads to a superficial, manifest and
formal compliance to the request (Jerkovi et al., 2011). So it is common
that changes in educational policies on the theoretical level and in practice
are not in line.
In this paper we will try to show the changes in the educational poli-
cies and educational practices in the context of teacher education in Serbia
and Austria. Our goal is to determine the extent in which the changes in
the practice of both countries follow the changes defined through pol-
icy papers. After that, we will try to determine, by comparing reforms in
teacher education in these two countries, what Serbia could learn from
Austria, as well as what Austria could learn from Serbia. Finally, rely-
ing on contemporary models, we will define recommendations that could
contribute to further teacher education reforms in both countries.
State of the art and teacher education reforms in
Serbia
Of special importance to this paper are reforms that began after 2008.
In 2009 the Parliament adopted a new Law on the fundamentals of edu-
cational system. One of the most important changes in the field of teacher
education concerned the request for all teachers to have a masters degree
in education and a minimum of 30 ECTS in pedagogical-psychological-
methodical
2
courses and 6 ECTS of school practice. This legal request
was supposed to especially shake up those faculties which didnt con-
sider themselves to be teacher faculties (such as the faculty of Medicine,
Economy, Electrical Engineering, etc.), but whose graduates were em-
ployed in vocational high schools without taking a single class related to
the field of education during the course of their university studies.
The next important innovation in the Law from 2009 concerned the
inclusiveness of education. The Law introduced equality and accessibility
2 Terms subject didactics and methodic (and related adjectives) will be used inter-
changeably.
Comparison of Teacher Education Reforms in Serbia and Austria | 397
of education for all children in principle (Art. 3). The measures of support
to children from marginalized and vulnerable social groups envisioned
by the Law comprise affirmative action and introduction of services of a
pedagogical assistant and a person accompanying the child (Art. 117), as
well as the right to additional educational support at all levels of education
in the form of Individual Education Plan (Art. 77).
The Law from 2003, and then the Rulebook from 2005, defined the
induction status, the role and the way in which exams for a license are
taken (Stankovic, 2011). Regulations required that an experienced teacher
is assigned to a novice as a mentor who should help him/her in planning
and realization of teaching, observe his/her lessons (at least 12), analyze
his/her practice and progress and help him/her prepare for final examina-
tion for teacher license.
The greatest number of system changes occurred in the field of con-
tinuous professional development. The Rulebook from 2012 defined sev-
eral forms of professional development (e.g. accredited programs of high-
er education institutions, professional conferences, summer and winter
schools, study trips, etc.). The teacher is required to achieve at least 120
points in 5 years through different forms of professional development that
can last from one day (8 credits), to three days (24 credits). In accordance
with contemporary trends, the Law from 2003 foresaw that teachers could
advance, acquire more knowledge (and thus a greater pay) by collecting a
certain number of credits through different forms of professional develop-
ment.
It is obvious that in the past several years, concerning educational
policies, important changes were made in order to improve educational
system and to bring Serbian teacher education closer to the practices
of EU countries. Still, it is important to check which of the mentioned
changes took root in practice, and which areas still have problems.
Class teachers in elementary schools (from 1st to 4th grade) acquire
basic education on one of six faculties for class teacher education in Ser-
bia.
3
Undergraduate studies at this faculty last 4 years (eight semesters)
and are completed by passing the diploma exam, after which comes a one
year of graduate (Masters) studies, which are completed by a written mas-
ters thesis. According to analysis conducted in 2009, it has been estab-
lished that courses as academic disciplines (e.g. Serbian language, Math,
etc.) make up 35% to 40% of the total teaching program, subject didac-
tics 35 to 40%, pedagogical courses 10 to 15%, teaching practice 10 to
3 In 1993 Schools of higher education / Colleges of Teacher Education were canceled
and the education of class teachers began taking place at the university level, on fac-
ulties.
398 | Contemporary Issues of Education Quality
12%. Pedagogical courses are usually present at the beginning of studies,
courses related to academic discipline and subject didactics come later,
and teaching practice is present in a smaller amount at the beginning of
studies and is increased in the following years (Macura-Milovanovic, Gera
& Kovacevic, 2009). The situation today is similar Psychology, as well as
Pedagogy and Didactics are studied during the first two years, while vari-
ous subject didactics dominate in the final years. School (i.e. pedagogi-
cal, didactic or methodical) practice is conducted from first year, but the
number of classes increases from year to year. Reviewing study plans and
programs from six state faculties for education of class teachers in Serbia,
its been determined that teaching courses as academic disciplines take up
20 to 55%
4
of the total curriculum (300 ECTS), that subject didactics take
up 20 to 36%, pedagogical and psychological courses take from 10 to 15%,
while there is still very little school practice 5 to 7%.
5
Subject teacher education is the same for elementary school teachers
(5th 8th grade, i.e. age 11 to 15) and secondary school teachers, except
in the case of subject teachers for vocational schools. Teachers of gener-
al subjects, who are educated at the faculties that are traditionally called
teacher faculties, during their initial education acquire teaching compe-
tence as part of school practice and courses in the field of psychology,
pedagogy and subject didactics. Most of the faculties of natural sciences
(e.g. chemistry, physics and geography) have separate study programs for
teachers, while faculties of social sciences usually have special teacher ed-
ucation modules within study programs or at least elective courses from
this field.
6
Still, the differences between the faculties themselves are great
a course designed for acquiring knowledge in psychology relevant for
the school context carries 2 ECTS to 6 ECTS, and at some faculties the
students can choose more courses in the field of psychology and collect
even 22 ECTS (for instance at the Faculty of Sport in Belgrade). The situ-
ation is similar with pedagogy. At some universities there is a school prac-
tice as a separate course, that carries 4 ECTS or 6 ECTS, and at some it is
conducted as part of other courses. Since, according to the research from
4 The great span comes from a different presence of teaching subjects as academic dis-
ciplines in the category of elective courses. Faculties with a large percentage of teach-
ing subjects as academic disciplines actually have numerous elective courses where
students can deepen their knowledge in, for instance, math, foreign languages or Ser-
bian language and literature.
5 It should be kept in mind that practice is integrated in some courses, and that the
number of ECTS seen on the plan and program is probably smaller than the number
of hours spent in practice.
6 From internal report of Tempus MASTS project: State of the art of subject teacher
education on University of Belgrade (June, 2011). Available at: http://www.masts.tk
Comparison of Teacher Education Reforms in Serbia and Austria | 399
2006, its been determined that pedagogic-methodical courses, if they
are covered by the curriculum, take up no more than 6 to 8% (Kovcs-
Cerovic, 2006), we could say that in the past seven years the situation has
been changed for the better. An analysis of plans and programs of under-
graduate and masters studies at teaching faculties at the University of
Belgrade has shown that 12 to 48% of all ECTS (300) belong to courses
that prepare students for working as a teacher. Other universities show
similar tendencies.
Although the situation at so called subject teacher education facul-
ties has improved significantly, changes are sporadic at faculties that tra-
ditionally do not educate teachers, even though their graduates are being
employed in schools. Due to adopting the Law that foresaw new demands
for student teachers, in 2010 began the realization of the Tempus MASTS
project, which as its objective had the introduction of a master program
for subject teachers at five state universities, so as to provide for students
of so-called non-teaching faculties to acquire the necessary teaching
competencies during their initial education. The first generation of master
students completed their studies at the universities in Novi Sad and Novi
Pazar, while at the University in Belgrade the first generation of students
was enrolled this school year. Universities in Nis and Kragujevac are still
waiting for the decision of accreditation commission.
With the introduction of inclusion, the need arose for the introduc-
tion of new courses during the initial education of subject teachers, as well
as finding different mechanisms for educating teachers that already work
in schools for work with children who need additional support. Reviewing
study plans for faculties of class teacher education (or pedagogy), its clear
that each has at least one course that relates to working with children with
a need for additional support. They have different names (e.g. Didactics
of working with students with special needs) and a different number of
ECTS from 3 to 5. At some faculties there are courses that deal with in-
tercultural education and working with gifted children. When it comes to
faculties that educate subject teachers, there are no particular courses that
deal with inclusion, but working with children with a need for additional
support is at best taught as part of a pedagogy-psychology course. All this
indicates that student teachers (not to mention student teachers who will
work in vocational schools) during the initial education do not acquire
necessary competencies for working in an inclusive school. Later on they
are offered specialization during induction and seminars for professional
development, as well as collaboration with a pedagogical assistant, but
those solutions are not effective enough. Even though the employment of
pedagogy assistants began from the school year 2010/11, their number is
still very small.
400 | Contemporary Issues of Education Quality
For now the situation is such that, during the induction period, which
lasts for one year, teachers are more focused on preparation for the teach-
er license exam than on acquiring competencies necessary for working in
diverse classrooms (Rajovic & Radulovic, 2010). In many cases novices
do not even know who their mentor is, and when they have one he/she
often is not from the same profession (for instance a math teacher is a
mentor to a novice who teaches computer science), or the same school, or,
simply, is willing to perform his/her duty as a mentor only formally.
In spite of the respectively high number of available professional de-
velopment programs for teachers in diverse fields, studies have shown that
educational needs of teachers and the contents offered at seminars are of-
ten in discord (Alibabic & Segrt, 2010). In addition, the programs offered
are insufficiently efficient, i.e. they are based on one-way transmission
model that is proved to produce poor results in practice (Pesikan et al.,
2010). Apart from that, the procedure for approving programs is question-
able (the issue of quality control), programs are not monitored or evalu-
ated enough and there are difficulties with providing finances (Stankovic,
2011). Although at the level of policy papers the possibilities for teacher
advancement exists, it does not happen in practice.
State of the art and teacher education reforms in
Austria
In Austria immense reforms in teacher education are taking place.
According to the changes in Law from 2013, first new curricula of teacher
education should be developed until October 2014 and launched in the
school year 2015/16. In the following the current and the new system will
be presented.
The Austrian teacher training for elementary school teachers (Volks-
chule) takes place at the University College of Teacher Education (Paeda-
gogische Hochschule, PH) and lasts for six semesters (180 ECTS). In Aus-
tria there is no unique model of elementary teacher education but here
will be presented a model of the curriculum at the PH in Graz, which can
be considered as a typical example how teacher training works in general.
After passing an entrance exam and a standardized assessment stu-
dents start the entry phase (Studieneingangsphase). There they will be
introduced to different conceptions of teaching and basic knowledge of
lecture planning and school organization. A modular practice-oriented
curriculum follows. Study areas are Academic discipline and Didactics
(e.g. German, English, Music Education: 84 ECTS), Pedagogy and Hu-
Comparison of Teacher Education Reforms in Serbia and Austria | 401
man Sciences (Inclusive Education, Educational Psychology, Educational
Sociology, etc.: 39 ECTS), School practice (36 ECTS), Additional, elective
courses (e.g. Personality development, School law, etc.: 12 ECTS), and
Bachelor Thesis (9 ECTS). This means that different courses as academic
disciplines are closely connected to subject didactics and together make
up 46.7% of the total teaching program. Pedagogical courses embrace
6.7%, whereas teaching practice make up 20% of the total bachelor pro-
gram. The elementary teachers get the academic degree of a Bachelor of
Education and they are allowed to teach pupils from 6 to 10 years.
Students, who are interested in working with older pupils (age 10 to
14), have to choose the Curriculum of Secondary Schools I (Hauptschule
/ Neue Mittelschule), also at the PH. They master two subjects (one being
German, Mathematics or English). Courses are: Study Entry (6 ECTS),
Subject A (30 ECTS), Subject B (30 ECTS), Pedagogy and Human Sci-
ences (e.g. Personal development, Introduction to giftedness, Heteroge-
neity, Evaluation of teaching processes, Educational standards: 48 ECTS),
School Practice (36 ECTS), additional, elective courses (12 ECTS), Intro-
duction to scientific writing (6 ECTS) and Bachelor Thesis (12 ECTS).
This means that courses which are related to academic disciplines (sub-
jects A and B) make in total 33.3 % of the studies. Pedagogy and human
science embrace 26.7 %, School Practice 20% and elective courses 6.7
%. At the moment teachers of secondary schools I also get the academic
degree of a Bachelor of Education.
Currently the program of teacher training for Secondary schools I
and II (age group 1018) takes place at the Universities, lasts 10 semesters
and has 2 phases with a working load of 300 ECTS. At the beginning,
studies are mainly devoted to academic studies in two disciplines. Besides
that, students are expected to acquire basic knowledge about the require-
ments, issues and insights of the present pedagogical, didactic and human
science theories in order to professionally solve problems in schools. Stu-
dents should be able to discuss pedagogical discourses and they should
experience and check the personal decision to become a teacher. They re-
flect on the first impressions of the demands of the teaching profession
and the role of a teacher. Later on students will get to know school realistic
examples to develop the ability of teaching and thinking about school is-
sues. They should acquire empirical knowledge guided by theories and
research.
The curriculum at the University of Graz consists of a study entry
phase (Studieneingangs und Orientierungsphase, in general between 6
and 20 ECTS) and two academic subjects with corresponding didactics
(119 ECTS + 119 ECTS). Pedagogy and human sciences are closely con-
402 | Contemporary Issues of Education Quality
nected to school practice and these courses are attended at the same time
(20 ECTS in total). The study finishes with writing a master theses and an
exam (30 ECTS). After graduation, a one-year induction program for the
two chosen subjects in school completes the teacher education program.
During this one-year-induction program graduates get supervision by a
mentor. It covers eleven hours of actual independent working time for on-
going teachers in classes and fourteen full hours of contact time with the
mentor, who cares directly by observing and supervising teachers. In the
induction program a debriefing takes place before and after teaching.
However, overarching reforms are taking place in Austria. The goal
is to have well-trained teachers in all educational institutions in Austria.
The new Teacher Education, proposed by the National Council in 2013,
includes a uniform educational training for all teachers and educators at
Universities and the University Colleges of Teacher Education (PH) in
Austria. In this way the cooperation between the University and the PH
will be deepened. This is supposed to provide greater sustainability, con-
tribute to greater attractiveness of teaching profession, support mobility
and internalization and equate the status of teachers from different aca-
demic institutions.
7
In this respect teachers with a Bachelor degree (240 ECTS) obtained
at the University will primarily teach in the level-specific specialization for
elementary schools. When teachers pass another 90 ECTS they will get
a Masters degree and they will be allowed to teach pupils older than 14
years in the Secondary schools II
8
. For the practice after finishing studies
students will get another 30 ECTS, so that the total amount to become a
full teacher will be 360 ECTS. The master studies serve to deepen selected
parts of Bachelor studies and to widen the adjacent age ranges of pupils. It
is necessary to make a master thesis in connection with a specialization in
an educational or didactic subject.
Central concern of future development in the education debate in Aus-
tria are redesign and expansion of teacher education, implementation of
the new middle schools, implementation of educational standards, central
maturation, dealing with heterogeneity and inclusion (see Tischler, Wako-
nigg 2013: 76). Nowadays the negotiation of orders, rules and rituals with
the participation of students is required. Kind of communicative skills, con-
flict management, project planning and organizational and administrative
activities have gained in importance (see Mayr & Posch 2012: 1).
7 See BMUKK 2013 http://www.bmukk.gv.at/ministerium/vp/2013/20130403a.xml
[2013-11-11].
8 A teaching transition into the age range of pupils will be possible.
Comparison of Teacher Education Reforms in Serbia and Austria | 403
Speaking of heterogeneity, three issues are particularly in the focus of
educational experts intercultural education, inclusive education and ed-
ucation of gifted children. Teachers still relate intercultural education to
education of immigrant children and believe that it should be reserved
only for German language classes. However, in contemporary discussions
it can be heard that intercultural education should be integrated in the
curricula of all teacher faculties and related faculties (e.g. social work,
pedagogy, etc.) (see Tischler, Wakounigg 2013: 80f.). Students who will
become teachers should have an inclusive attitude and profound scientific
knowledge of diversity. When it comes to giftedness, it is worth mention-
ing that in August 2009 the decree General Ordinance on the Promotion
of Giftedness and Talent was issued to all Austrian schools.
Concerning continuous professional development (Weiterbildung)
in Austria, University Colleges of Teacher Education (PH) offer profes-
sional development programs for teachers of all school types. Teachers in
elementary and secondary schools I are required to attend 15 hours in
further education every year. They freely choose the courses according to
their interests (e.g. burn out, children anxiety: prevention and interven-
tion, team building, mediation, visually impaired and blind education,
etc.). Teachers may also attend paid university courses with internation-
ally accepted master degrees from a workload of at least 120 ECTS e.g.
the Private University Masters degree Course with Health Promotion
and Health Education, Mentoring: Supporting the Professional Career
or Managing for Innovation in Education
9
The rate of attendance is
higher compared to other European countries according to TALIS (BI-
FIE 2008: 51) 97 % of all teachers attended some of the programs for the
professional development.
Comparison of teacher education reforms
Conclusions
After this overview of teacher education reforms in Serbia and Aus-
tria, we would like to highlight some similarities and point to some differ-
ences in these two countries. First of all, Serbia has a longer tradition of
University level education for all teachers. Both class teachers and subject
teachers were required to study four years, while with the introduction of
Bologna system and changes in Law, they are both obliged to have Masters
title (five years of study: 300 ECTS). Accordingly, the social status of both
9 See www.phst.at [2013-10-31].
404 | Contemporary Issues of Education Quality
class and subject teachers in different schools was similar, what is not the
case in Austria, where discrepancies in salaries and status between teach-
ers who graduated at PH or University are significant. Still, in November
2013 Austrian Parliament decided to equalize teacher salaries from 2019.
Although the formal requirements are the same, the study programs
for class teachers and subject teachers in Serbia are completely different.
Despite some positive changes in programs for subject teachers in Serbia,
it is still the case that subject teachers are primarily experts for the sub-
ject, whereas the class teachers are merely experts for didactics, having
little knowledge of specific subjects. In Austria it is the case that teachers
are specialized for two school subjects, whereas in Serbia they are experts
only for one science (and one general subject), with rare exceptions (for
example, mathematics and computer science).
If we look back at the examples of good practices in teacher education,
we could conclude that teacher education in Serbia is far from effective
teacher education models. Even at the faculties that offer relevant courses,
experience gained through learning psychology and didactics is not being
connected to school practice experience in a systematic and coherent way,
which prevents student teachers from challenging their implicit theories
in practice and building up deeper understanding of teaching and learn-
ing processes. On the other hand, Entry and Orientation Phase provide
Austrian students with the opportunities, besides learning for exams, to
reflect their implicit theories. However, according the contemporary lit-
erature, students would benefit more if they have opportunity to reflect
their beliefs after some practice. Therefore, it will be useful for Austrian
students (and especially Serbian students) to have initial teacher education
organized in the way in which the phases of school practice and reflecting
on that practice would be interwoven.
The inclusive education is not a new topic in Austria, as it is in Ser-
bia. First inclusive class was established in Oberwart 1984, while the Law
from 1996 introduced equality and accessibility of education for all chil-
dren. Nowadays the most popular model of inclusive education in Austria
is inclusive class (ger. Integrationsklasse), which consists of 20 pupils,
with about 4 of them being pupils with the need for additional support.
In these classes two teachers are engaged one regular teacher and one
teacher specialist in special education. In Serbia minority of schools em-
ploy pedagogical assistant and there is still a lot of resistance toward inclu-
sive education (Macura-Milovanovi and Vujisi-ivkovi 2011; Rajovi
and Jovanovi 2010).
Comparison of Teacher Education Reforms in Serbia and Austria | 405
If we compare induction programs in two countries, we can conclude
that they are much better developed in Austria than in Serbia. Although
Austrian mentors at schools have a lot of autonomy, the quality of induc-
tion program is provided through the careful selection and preparation of
mentors. They are not primarily motivated to work as mentors by financial
incentives, but because of opportunities to develop personally and profes-
sionally. With this in mind, Serbia should put more effort into promoting
mentorship among experienced teachers as a form of their professional
development There is well developed network of schools for practice,
whereas in Serbia there are only few cases of formally defined coopera-
tion between universities axnd schools. Yet, efforts have been recently put
into ensuring stronger link between faculties that educate future teachers
and schools. The practice schools have been introduced by the Law on
the Foundation of Education System (newest changes in 2013) and pilot
project for preparation of schools and teachers for this task has already
started, while implementation should start from school year 2014/2015
(Popovi, 2013).
However, both countries are struggling with the professional devel-
opment programs. They are focused on individual needs and interests of
teachers, while more systemic approaches (e.g. school-based programs,
organization development) and tendencies to improve social capital are
lacking (Buchberger & Seel, 1999). Even that potential to improve human
capital through continuous professional development in Serbia is not ef-
fectively used studies have shown that teachers educational needs are
not met at these seminars, mostly because they are based on a one-way
transmission model (Peikan, Anti, and Marinkovi 2010).
Overall speaking, main difference between teacher education in Aus-
tria and Serbia could be viewed through the interplay of uniformity and
flexibility. Austria shows strives to establish uniform educational training
for all teachers, while in Serbia there are significant differences between
faculties (even of the same university) without visible attempts to har-
monize education they provide for future teachers. Austria also provides
more flexible solutions for teachers in terms of their employability and
job change. Teacher education in Serbia could also provide opportunities
for two-subject teacher studies (as it is in the countries in the region, i.e.
Croatia and Slovenia) and opportunities to have additional education for
work with other age groups (i.e. from high school to elementary, or vice
versa, or even to adult education).
406 | Contemporary Issues of Education Quality
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