Professional competence of teachers : Structure, development, andthe significance for students’ performance
Successful teachers are characterized by several aspects, which can be subsumed under the term professional competence. Three foci guided the research on teachers’ professional competence. The first research focus aimed to clarify the empirical structure of teachers’ professional competence. 134 biology teachers’ from German secondary schools completed paper and pencil test related to their professional competence. The results reveal that teachers’ content-related professional knowledge is comprised of three unique domains (1) content knowledge, (2) pedagogical content knowledge, and (3) curricular knowledge. Moreover, the results indicate that teachers’ motivational orientations embody the unique domains (1) self-efficacy, (2) subject-related enthusiasm, and (3) enthusiasm for teaching the subject. The second focus concentrated on the examination of the development of teachers’ professional competence. 134 biology teachers from German secondary schools participated and provided information about their professional competence and different learning opportunities (the teacher education program at university, the attendance in professional development courses, the conduction of self-study, and teaching experience). The results of a regression analysis suggest that the teacher education program at university, the attendance in professional development courses as well as the conduction of self-study act as beneficial opportunities for the development of professional competence. The third research focus aimed to examine the significance of teachers’ professional competence for students’ performance. 48 biology teachers from German secondary schools participated together with their seventh and eighth grade students (N = 1036). The findings indicate that teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge as well as their subject-specific enthusiasm and enthusiasm for teaching the subject are relevant for students’ performance.