The overall theme of the conference drew on the interdependence of educational research and practice offered throughout the EDiTE programme and exploited the notions and ambitions of becoming the leading European network for innovation in teacher education, accessible to academics, practitioners and policy makers. The three pillars, teacher learning, student learning and the European context, were explored on different levels and through different perspectives, looking at it from wide range of approaches taken by the EDiTE researchers in their studies, but also from the approaches of practicing teachers that attended the conference.
The first day started with a keynote given by Professor António Nóvoa, a full Professor and the Honorary Rector of the University of Lisbon. His speech On becoming a teacher, on strengthening the profession critically reflected the current state of play in teaching as profession and provided an interesting input for further discussion. The novel elements of creating a “third space” that sits between schools and universities as places of teacher professionalism inspired a fruitful debate and was a point of reference for the rest of the conference. The stimulating discussion continued with an interactive round table on Policy and Teacher Education depicting views from Manuel Miguéns from the National Education Council, Gábor Halász from ELTE University and Vasilis Symeonidis, an EDiTE researcher from University of Innsbruck. The afternoon continued to feed on interesting conversations through parallel sessions in which some EDiTE researchers presented their doctoral studies. The last part of the first day was dedicated to practical sessions called Reflective circles– interactive spaces where research and practice meet, and where concepts get re-discovered, collectively analysed and re-constructed. One such session was facilitated by Wiktor Bernad and Wanderson Alexander Oliviera in Portuguese and the other was in English, facilitated by Helena Kovacs.
The second day brought an inspiring keynote on Practitioner Research as Brave Research: Towards Inclusive and Diverse Inquirygiven by Dr. Anja Swennen of Vrije University Amsterdam. The discussions continued with a rich interactive round table about Diversity, inclusion and equity featuring Helena Salema from Univeristy of Lisbon, David Rodrigues, the president of Pro-Inclusion and Josefine Wagner, an EDiTE researcher from the University of Lower Silesia. The afternoon of the second day offered a changed perspective and took place in a physical setting of the EDiTE partner school Escola Sec. Pe. António Vieira, Alvalade where a panel of school teachers and principals presented their work. This prompted a discussion on school-university partnership which spanned into the last session of the day facilitated by the team from ELTE Budapest.
Arriving to the third day, Maria Assunção Flores, a professor at the University of Minho, opened the debates with her keynote Teacher Education and Professionalism in the Digital Era: What’s New? The proposed question was further looked at from different aspects of the interactive round table involving Christina Kraler from University of Innsbruck, Petr Novotny from Masaryk University and Mariana Feio, a PhD in Teacher Education. In the afternoon, the conversations again became diversified and split into smaller parallel sessions where the rest of the EDiTE researchers presented their doctoral studies. The conference and the third day were closed by a final session on EDiTE 2.0: Emerging Futurescircling initial ideas proposed through a position paper prepared by Anja Swennen, Michael Schratz and Vasilis Symeonidis. The input from small group discussions inspired further thinking of the future of the EDiTE network, its potential transformation and growth.
While the conference in Lisbon was indeed a crowning event for the EDiTE network, the work does not end here. There is still plenty of interesting PhD studies to be finalised in the next few months, and we can anticipate an online seminar in late Spring that will further the academic discussions on teacher learning and give ground to continuous conversation about where is EDiTE heading next.