According to political regulations for teacher education in Norway (2016) teacher education institutions need to offer a profession-orientated education rooted in research and experience-based knowledge. To understand professional development this paper argues that it is essential to focus on the critical role of experience in student teachers’ learning to becoming teachers (Korthagen 2004; Mutton, Burn and Hagger 2008). In order to understand student teachers learning this paper analyzes the talk between student teachers’ and their mentor while reflecting on their teaching. The context of the study is a five year university based teacher education program in Norway. The paper draws on preliminary findings from interaction data collected in October-November 2016.
The complexity of learning to become a teacher is well reported on (Edwards and Protheroe 2003; Mutton, Burn & Hagger 2010; Korthagen 2004). Studies among student teachers have shown that learning is highly contextual and dependent on the language practices and the available tools in the actual situation (Edwards, Gilroy, & Hartley, 2002; Edwards & Protheroe, 2003; Fosse, 2011; Jahreie & Ottesen 2010). Research has further revealed that dialogues between student teachers and their mentors in the practice periods are characterized by experience-based, everyday language and talk about ‘‘doings’’ in the classroom, and less on analyzing and justifying their actions in the classroom through research(Brevik, Fosse & Rødnes 2014; Edwards & Daniels 2012, Fosse, 2011; Ottesen 2006).
On this backdrop the following research questions are raised:
How are student teachers experiences from teaching used as an entrance for discussing how to develop their teaching?
What characterizes the knowledge that student teachers need to develop?
What mediational means are offered as a basis for further development?
This study considers mentoring as a communicative practice and draws on socio-cultural and dialogical theory theories on learning and development. Learning to become a teacher comprises appropriating and mastering cultural tools (Wertsch 1998). Cultural tools are simultaneously intellectual and practical in its nature, both linguistic and physical (Säljö 2006). The tools and the activities in which they operate include former generation’s experiences, provide information on how to be used and are passed on to the next generation (Wertsch 1998; Linell 2009). In teacher education mentoring comprises cultural tools which include certain understandings of the phenomena enshrined through many years, and these are passed on to the students. On this background mentoring can be understood as a mediating activity(Vygotsky 1978; Wertsch 1998).
Key concepts in dialogical theory are interactivity, contextuality, semiotic mediation and moral and evaluative communicative construction (Linell 2009). Dialogues take place in and through words. This study also has focus on concept development, drawing on Vygotskys theories on scientific - and everyday language (Vygotsy 1978, 2001).
Brevik, L.M., Fosse, B.O., & Rødnes, K.A. (2014). Language, learning, and teacher professionalism: An investigation of specialized language use among pupils, teachers, and student teachers. International Journal of Educational Research, 68, 46–56.
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