Research or teaching? Contradictory demands on Swedish teacher educators and the consequences for the quality of teacher education


  • Petra Angervall University of Borås
  • Richard Baldwin University of Borås
  • Dennis Beach University of Borås



teacher education; teacher educators; teaching work; research; professionalism


Based on a policy analysis and interviews with assistant lecturers and lecturers (with a PhD) who are heavily involved in teacher education, the present article addresses contemporary tensions and challenges in Swedish teacher education. The point of departure is the theoretical framework of mission stretch and the third space professional in teacher education with the aim of investigating how teacher educators experience and navigate their daily work. The findings of the study illustrate the tensions teacher educators experience between research and teaching tasks, between a constant flow of tasks, large student groups, and demands of high-quality teaching. The findings also show a gap between the practical anchoring of some research in teacher education and feelings of tension between teaching practices and the value of research. In conclusion, teacher education would seem to be developing into a cluster of tasks, challenges, expectations, and skills. This indicates that teaching and research are not the only missions and cannot be taken for granted in light of how teachers struggle to define their professional knowledge and value with respect to increasingly strong competitive demands for research performance.


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Research Articles (peer-reviewed)