10 SES 16 B, Combining Theory and Practice in Teacher Education: Lessons learned internationally
The paper explores the efforts to combine theory and practice in pre-service primary school teachers’ training at Faculty of Education at Charles University in Prague. In the main part of the paper a case- study based course “Supporting pupils with special educational needs” will be introduced. This course is included in the final year of the study plan and the students are supposed to use the theoretical knowledge to plan, realize and evaluate individual educational intervention during their assistance practice in which they support an individual pupil at a mainstream school (not selective, no fee). In the context of the individual tasks in the online environment, they plan to work with the pupil, reflect on their experiences, and share them with other student teachers. Student teachers are continuously supported by university teachers - in on-line environments as well as in attendance meetings. They are also provided with support in each class where they work by a team of pedagogical staff. The course is based on the theory of reflective practice and mentoring students (Stará 2015; Moran/Dalat 1995). The individual written assignments of the student and the comments of the university teachers on these assignments were subjected to a qualitative thematic analysis (Braun/Clarke 2006) in order to find out how the student teachers connect the theoretical knowledge and practical experience, as well as how the university teachers support them in this field. Preliminary results show that the student teachers do feel they are professionally well prepared. They do a lot for supporting children with special educational needs, often beyond the mandatory time. They are in favor of the recommendations of experienced teachers, special educators, school psychologists. They also welcome peer support and sharing experience. On the other hand, they do not require theoretically-justified recommendations from school specialists or from each other. Although they are mostly able to find evidence from theoretical sources due to course requirements, a minority of them does find answers to practical problems in the literature if they are not forced. The results of this study is in accordance with the social climate in the Czech Republic which show the general distrust of Czech teachers and students in regard to theoretical knowledge. However, the final evaluation of the course shows that it has managed to overcome somewhat unwilling to apply theoretical knowledge in practice and to reflect the experience also from a theoretical point of view.
References of the Symposium Paper: Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77–101. Moran, A. & Dallat, J. Promoting reflective practice in initial teacher training. International Journal of Educational Management. 1995, 9(5), 20-26. Stará, J. Příprava studentů učitelství na práci v inkluzivní třídě. e-Pedagogium [print], 2015, 2015 (1), 21-33. ISSN 1213-7758.
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