16 SES 08 A, Mobile Technology
Teacher education is an important part of our education system. We need highly professional teachers to support lifelong learning from nurseries to universities and beyond (OECD, 2016). It has therefore raised concern that student teachers find it hard to see the relevance and use of theory during their practicum (Bronkhorst, Meijer, Koster, & Vermunt, 2011; Smith & Sela, 2005). When the perceived relevance of theory is absent in the student teachers’ professional development they tend to have trouble understanding and analysing their own experiences since they lack the tools theory represents (Orland-Barak & Tillema, 2006). A great deal of effort and research has been invested in how this gap between theory and practice can be closed. It seems to be an agreement on the importance of reflection (Davis, 2006; de Beer, Petersen, & Dubar-Krige, 2012; Korthagen & Vasalos, 2005). Reflection is said to be one of the fundamental practices in teacher education, and is also claimed to be an important key to bridge the gap described above (Bronkhorst et al., 2011; Brown, Holt-Macey, Martin, Skau, & Vogt, 2015; Tillema & Orland-Barak, 2006; West, 2011).
The aim of the current paper is to contribute to the student teachers understanding of how theory and practice interact and explain each other. The paper draws on an empirical study investigating a reflective learning process supported by handheld and cloud based technology. To be more specific we will discuss findings on how teacher students and their supervisors can realise the unused potential present in the discourse before, during, and after a supervised lesson.
The study takes place in a Norwegian context at a lower secondary school and is a small-scale qualitative intervention study. Four second-year student teachers are observed through their second part of practicum, which will last for three weeks. A fifth-grade teacher at the school is mentoring the students. Every student is expected to perform as teachers in approximately ten of the mentor’s classes during this time. When the students are not performing as teachers they are expected to observe their mentor or peers teaching. The students will have a group session with their mentor before and after every class they have participated in either as teacher or observer. The students and their mentor are given access to a software developed specifically for the purpose of mentoring different types of learning in authentic or real-life contexts. The software is cloud-based and non-dependent on platform. It can be run on smartphones, tablets and computers and the students and their mentor can upload, comment on, and access text, video, pictures and audio files in real-time. In this study, the core reflection described in Korthagen and Vasalos’ (2005) onion-model is central. The idea is to help the student teachers to go beyond the usual superficial reflection that barely touches the surface of practice (Orland-Barak & Tillema, 2006). Asking questions about what really happens in the observed lecture, supported by multimodal representations, seems to force the level of reflection deeper, and even open up for teacher student development of practice theory (Orland-Barak & Yinon, 2007). Reflection may then result in more than cosmetic changes and development of practice, (Day, 1999).
Bronkhorst, L. H., Meijer, P. C., Koster, B., & Vermunt, J. D. (2011). Fostering meaning-oriented learning and deliberate practice in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(7), 1120-1130. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2011.05.008 Brown, B., Holt-Macey, S., Martin, B., Skau, K., & Vogt, E. M. (2015). Developing the reflective practitioner: What, so what, now what. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 7(5), 705-715. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cptl.2015.06.014 Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage. Davis, E. A. (2006). Characterizing productive reflection among preservice elementary teachers: Seeing what matters. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(3), 281-301. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2005.11.005 Day, C. (1993). Reflection: A necessary but not sufficient condition for professional development. British Educational Research Journal, 19(1), 83-93. Retrieved from http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0141-1926%281993%2919%3A1%3C83%3ARANBNS%3E2.0.CO%3B2-F Day, C. (1999). Developing teachers: The challenges of lifelong learning. London: Falmer Press. de Beer, J., Petersen, N., & Dubar-Krige, H. (2012). An exploration of the value of an educational excursion for pre-service teachers. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 44(1), 89-110. doi:10.1080/00220272.2011.576771 Korthagen, F., & Kessels, J. (1999). Linking theory and practice: Changing the pedagogy of teacher education. Educational Researcher, 28(4), 4-17. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176444 Korthagen, F., & Vasalos, A. (2005). Levels in reflection: Core reflection as a means to enhance professional growth. Teachers & Teaching, 11(1), 47-71. doi:10.1080/1354060042000337093 Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, California: Sage. OECD. (2016). Forum 2016 issues: The future of education. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/forum/issues/forum-2016-issues-the-future-of-education.htm Orland-Barak, L., & Tillema, H. (2006). The ‘dark side of the moon’: A critical look at teacher knowledge construction in collaborative settings. Teachers & Teaching, 12(1), 1-12. doi:10.1080/13450600500364505 Orland-Barak, L., & Yinon, H. (2007). When theory meets practice: What student teachers learn from guided reflection on their own classroom discourse. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(6), 957-969. doi:DOI: 10.1016/j.tate.2006.06.005 Rønsen, A. K. (2013). Influencing and facilitating conditions for developing reflective assessment practice. Smith, K., & Sela, O. (2005). Action research as a brigde between pre-service teacher education and in-service professional development for students and teacher educators. European Journal of Teacher Education, 28(3), 293-310. Tillema, H., & Orland-Barak, L. (2006). Constructing knowledge in professional conversations: The role of beliefs on knowledge and knowing. Learning and Instruction, 16(6), 592-608. doi:DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2006.10.006 West, C. (2011). Action research as a professional development activity. Arts Education Policy Review, 112(2), 89-94. doi:10.1080/10632913.2011.546697
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