10 SES 14 B, Mentoring, PCK and More on the Theory-Practice Gap
It has been shown that students’ experiences in initial teacher education influence both career choice and effectiveness, thus support for student teachers should be a constant focus for teacher educators. This study addresses the issue of a more integrated understanding of the development of education programs specifically for teachers of primary science by 1) exploring significant learning experiences; 2) examining how these experiences are related to different domains of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and 3) examining how future teachers perceive their learning experiences. An embedded design was used and data was collected about prevailing achievement emotions; about typical situations related to this emotion and about of layers of change in learning. The overall results reveal the deep impact of teaching practice on the students’ understanding of the role of a teacher in supporting pupils’ acquisition of scientific skills. Detailed analyses illustrate a variety of significant learning experiences that yield evidence of patterns of future learning. Most of the experiences described are related to general aspects of teaching and learning and less with science-specific factors, i.e., more related to pupils and classroom instruction and less with the science curriculum, assessment or feedback. Therefore, these areas of PCK should be better addressed during initial education teaching practice. Another deserving attention is the level at which learning impacts personally on the student teacher. Students mostly described changes in mission e.g. how they learned about their role through pupils’ achievements and thinking about science. Other aspects of PCK were less significant in students’ experiences and thus should be more stressed in teacher education. Changes of professional identity were mentioned rarely and this could point to an underestimated issue for teacher education. Positive changes in professional identity may help students to decide to choose and remain in the teaching profession.
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