10 SES 01 A, Teaching for Social Justice
The expectations for experiences during practice in Initial Teacher Education are high. During practice, the student teachers should combine theory with practice; they should become familiar with multicultural classrooms and in general, become aware of different pre-conditions for learning and teaching. Even though an increasing interest for social justice, there are few studies concerning Initial Teacher Education and social justice issues (Mills and Ballantyne, 2016) and the studies are mainly carried out in USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland. This study contributes with empirical data and a Northern Europe context, Sweden.
The aim with this study is to increase our knowledge about how work is carried out within practicum to support student teachers to understand variations in pre-conditions in educational settings. The starting point is an open definition of ‘different pre-conditions’. It could be an issue of socio-economic differences and child poverty (Gustafsson and Öster4berg, 2016; Flores and Ferreira, 2016) but also as a questions of minority groups based on culture, whereas curricula for Initial Teacher Education is important to follow up (Reybolds and Brown, 2010; Dyches and Boyd 2017).
In Sweden, Initial Teacher Education is mainly university based, but the organizers of preschool, compulsory school and upper secondary school are responsible for organizing practicum. Practicum comprise 30 ECTS, divided into three practicum periods in all teacher programs. It is the partner organizations, organizing k-12, that are responsible for the practicum. Supervisors from university visit the practicum schools and cooperate with the mentors. Student teacher are placed in one preschool or school during the practicum, but can make visits to others. To understand whether the practicum situation offers student teachers to experience different pre-conditions several data collections were carried out.
The concept social justice is used in this study, although there are different definitions of the concept (Mills and Ballantyne, 2016). A starting point is that if a discussion should be able to carried out among student teachers, they need to be aware and trained to observe and acknowledge differences in a variety of ways (White and Murray, 2016).
The study carried out, is an exploratory study. The data collection is based on interviews in group with teachers, and a few administrators; individual interview by phone with teachers, and individual interviews by phone with student teachers. General rules for ethical rulew were followed such as information about the aim of the study and not revealing names of the respondents (Vetenskapsrådet, 2011).
Results from a first data collection, showed that contact persons from organizers of K-12 (mostly teachers), municipalities as well as private, in two counties suggested a broad definition of pre-conditions, organizational as well as social. Their understanding was that there were few models or routines concerning whether the student teachers experienced differences and whether they mostly stayed at one unit. Results from a second data collection, showed that contact persons from unit level (teachers) in one municipality confirmed that differences could be organizational, such as experience from different age groups, methods and visit to preschool class, as well as social, such as experience of multi-language groups or whether families are supported by welfare. There is example of a perception that every child should be recognized (individual) and not talked about in groups (language group etc) in contrast to a perception that socio-economic pre-conditions are clearly visible and children could be discussed according to a perceived group belonging. There were no comments regarding any clear perception of structural causes. A preliminary conclusion from the first two data collections is that there is no clear agenda or routine concerning how student teachers are experiencing different pre-conditions. A third data-collection is carried out among student teachers. The expected outcome is answers about experience of visiting different units and how they perceive that they notice different pre-conditions at the workplaces and teaching.
Apple, W. M. (2011). Global Crises, Social Justice, and Teacher Education. Journal of Teacher Education, 62:2, 222-234. Dyches, J. & Boyd. A. (2017). Foregrounding Equity in Teacher Education: Towards a Model of Social Justice Pedagogical and Content Knowledge. Journal of Teacher Education, 68:5, 476-490. Flores, A. M. & Ferreira, I. F. (2016). Education and child poverty in times of austerity in Portugal: implications for teachers and teacher education. Journal of Education for Teaching. International research and pedagogy. 42:4, 404-416. Gustafsson, B. & Österberg, T. (2016). How are Immigrant Children in Sweden Faring? Mean Income, Affluence and Poverty Since the 1980s. Child Indicators Research, DOI 10.1007/s12187-016-9416-9. Mills, C. & Ballantyne, J. (2016). Social Justice and Teacher Education: A Systematic Review of Empirical Work in the Field. Journal of Teacher Education, 67:4, 263-276. Reynolds, R. & Brown, J. (2010). Social justice and school linkages in teacher education programmes. European Journal of Teacher Education, 33:4, 405-419. White, L. M. & Murray, J. (2016). Seeing disadvantage in schools: exploring student teachers’ perceptions of poverty and disadvantage using visual pedagogy. Journal of Education for Teaching. International research and pedagogy. 42:4, 500-515
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