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Teaching Experience and Teacher-Training Needs of Young Political Scientists
Unformatted Document Text:  been learnt by doing or that experienced attendees may end up sharing their experience and getting little in return. Consequently it was not by chance that some respondents suggested that an initial introductory training to would-be teachers should be amended with one or more follow- up sessions. Such a training structure would be in harmony with the EU policy of continuous training urged for primary and secondary school teachers (European Commission 2007). The young political scientists who did not attend any training mentioned very much the same issues as teacher trainees when we asked them what they wish to learn about teaching. They also share concern for lecturing in English or another foreign language. Since it is more and more likely that even in one’s own country one has to teach in a foreign language so that departments can satisfy the needs of exchange students and that one is employed at an academic institution in another country, this aspect may gain in importance in the near future. Unlike those trained in teaching, some of these respondents seem to be frustrated by the lack of opportunity for teacher training and the fact that they could not serve their first groups of students as well as they might have if trained. Two of the respondents are worth quoting to this effect, “I had an opportunity to teach […], so I learned on the field. I think I could have done much better at the beginning with a specific training” and “Personally, I think I am today a pretty appreciated teacher, but it took a few guinea pig classes of students to acquire those skills.” Conclusion We found that the majority of young political scientists in Europe have not passed any teacher training despite of being part-time or full-time engaged as political science teachers. This appears to be mainly a structural problem, that is, political scientists are not offered such training. Even where training is available, it is rarely a compulsory part of the curriculum. We also found that respondents believed that such training was useful and many of them would 22

Authors: Simon, Eszter. and Pleschova, Gabriela.
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been learnt by doing or that experienced attendees may end up sharing their experience and
getting little in return. Consequently it was not by chance that some respondents suggested that
an initial introductory training to would-be teachers should be amended with one or more follow-
up sessions. Such a training structure would be in harmony with the EU policy of continuous
training urged for primary and secondary school teachers (European Commission 2007).
The young political scientists who did not attend any training mentioned very much the
same issues as teacher trainees when we asked them what they wish to learn about teaching.
They also share concern for lecturing in English or another foreign language. Since it is more
and more likely that even in one’s own country one has to teach in a foreign language so that
departments can satisfy the needs of exchange students and that one is employed at an academic
institution in another country, this aspect may gain in importance in the near future. Unlike those
trained in teaching, some of these respondents seem to be frustrated by the lack of opportunity
for teacher training and the fact that they could not serve their first groups of students as well as
they might have if trained. Two of the respondents are worth quoting to this effect, “I had an
opportunity to teach […], so I learned on the field. I think I could have done much better at the
beginning with a specific training” and “Personally, I think I am today a pretty appreciated
teacher, but it took a few guinea pig classes of students to acquire those skills.”
Conclusion
We found that the majority of young political scientists in Europe have not passed any
teacher training despite of being part-time or full-time engaged as political science teachers. This
appears to be mainly a structural problem, that is, political scientists are not offered such
training. Even where training is available, it is rarely a compulsory part of the curriculum. We
also found that respondents believed that such training was useful and many of them would
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