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Teaching Experience and Teacher-Training Needs of Young Political Scientists
Unformatted Document Text:  Paper to be Presented at the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference San Jose CA, February 22-24, 2008 Teaching Experience and Teacher-Training Needs of Young Political Scientists in Europe 1 Eszter Simon, Central European University and Comenius University Gabriela Pleschov√°, Comenius University AbstractIn spite of evidence in Anglo-Saxon countries that teacher-training enhances the valuation of the teaching experience and boosts self-confidence in the classroom, teaching is often relegated to secondary position in the academic world. Yet, teacher training may not only improve the efficiency of scholars in teaching-related matters and, thus, help scholars free more time for research, but would also make them more efficient in communicating knowledge to their students. Our main contribution is to extend the discussion of graduate-level teacher training beyond the Anglo-Saxon world. On the basis of an online survey conducted in the spring and summer of 2007 in all EU member states, we examine the state of teacher training in these countries. We find that teacher training is only available for Political Science PhD students in a minority of cases. Where training is available, it is usually not part of the curriculum. Many PhD students would welcome professional teacher training. Future career plans and status (PhD student vs. young professional) positively influence desire for teacher training. Gender is less relevant, but gives way to interesting findings such as males are more in need of emotional support in the teaching process. Introduction The passage of Political Science PhD students to would-be academics goes hand in hand with the first experience in teaching at the university level. This personal experience, however, may vastly differ from student to student. There is no better example to this than the personal experience of the authors. For Simon the passage was relatively smooth for several reasons. First, her institution (Central European University) regularly provides teacher training for all its PhD students. Second, sensing the need for further practical tips, her department has organized three 90-minute sessions where professors passed down some useful and practical teaching tips 1 This paper is currently under review at the Journal of Political Science Education. 1

Authors: Simon, Eszter. and Pleschova, Gabriela.
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background image
Paper to be Presented at the
APSA Teaching and Learning Conference
San Jose CA,
February 22-24, 2008
Teaching Experience and Teacher-Training Needs of Young Political Scientists
in Europe
Eszter Simon, Central European University and Comenius University
Gabriela Pleschov√°, Comenius University
Abstract
In spite of evidence in Anglo-Saxon countries that teacher-training enhances the valuation of the
teaching experience and boosts self-confidence in the classroom, teaching is often relegated to
secondary position in the academic world. Yet, teacher training may not only improve the
efficiency of scholars in teaching-related matters and, thus, help scholars free more time for
research, but would also make them more efficient in communicating knowledge to their
students. Our main contribution is to extend the discussion of graduate-level teacher training
beyond the Anglo-Saxon world. On the basis of an online survey conducted in the spring and
summer of 2007 in all EU member states, we examine the state of teacher training in these
countries. We find that teacher training is only available for Political Science PhD students in a
minority of cases. Where training is available, it is usually not part of the curriculum. Many PhD
students would welcome professional teacher training. Future career plans and status (PhD
student vs. young professional) positively influence desire for teacher training. Gender is less
relevant, but gives way to interesting findings such as males are more in need of emotional
support in the teaching process.
Introduction
The passage of Political Science PhD students to would-be academics goes hand in hand with the
first experience in teaching at the university level. This personal experience, however, may
vastly differ from student to student. There is no better example to this than the personal
experience of the authors. For Simon the passage was relatively smooth for several reasons.
First, her institution (Central European University) regularly provides teacher training for all its
PhD students. Second, sensing the need for further practical tips, her department has organized
three 90-minute sessions where professors passed down some useful and practical teaching tips
1
This paper is currently under review at the Journal of Political Science Education.
1


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