Teacher Professional Competence: What Can Be Learned About the Knowledge and Practices Needed for Teaching?

  • Máire Ní RíordáinEmail author
  • Catherine Paolucci
  • Terry Lyons


As teacher educators face the challenge of supporting out-of-field teachers, it is essential to maintain a focus on the development of both specialised content knowledge and the essential skills and practices required for competent teaching. It is well established that teachers’ knowledge base plays a critical role in determining what is done in classrooms, and accordingly, how and what students learn. Similarly, research relating to the professional work of teachers emphasise the importance of developing teachers’ core practices. Utilising the example of mathematics and science teacher education, this chapter examines both teacher knowledge and teacher practices, with a focus on key considerations for ‘out-of-field’ teacher education. We discuss the importance of both knowledge and practices being incorporated into professional learning opportunities for teachers entering an out-of-field subject. We suggest that this involves identifying core practices as specific to subject areas, identifying key knowledge as underpinning and connected to these practices, and to provide out-of-field teachers with the appropriate opportunities to acquire such knowledge and practices. Accordingly, key considerations and reference points for researching out-of-field teachers are identified, as well as policy implications for the design and implementation of suitable professional learning opportunities.


Teacher knowledge Core practices Mathematics/science Out-of-field teacher education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Máire Ní Ríordáin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Catherine Paolucci
    • 2
  • Terry Lyons
    • 3
  1. 1.University College CorkCorkIreland
  2. 2.SUNY New PaltzNew PaltzUSA
  3. 3.Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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