10 SES 06 A, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
Internationally, university-based initial teacher education (ITE) has been in policy-makers’ line of fire, a common criticism being that it does not prepare student teachers for the reality of full-time teaching. Concern about the disconnection between preparation and practice has led to increased attention being given to the relationship between theory and practice and the primacy of school-based experience in addressing this relationship.
Numerous studies spanning a number of decades have documented teachers’ claims that their experience in schools was the best and most important part of their teacher preparation, and that the practicum was where they learned to teach (e.g. Guyton & McIntyre, 1990; Smith & Lev-Ari, 2005). In contrast with many teachers’ glowing views of the practicum, a number of researchers position the practicum as being important but problematic. Some argue that it is not sufficient to simply provide a practice setting for students given the complexities and challenges of teaching in today’s schools (Hagger et al., 2008; Haigh & Ward, 2004), while others challenge the view that spending time in schools automatically helps bridge the gap between theory and practice (Lunenberg & Korthagen, 2009; Russell, 2005). Zeichner (2002) suggests that teacher educators should think more broadly how practicum could be enacted and that schools rather than individual classrooms should be the focus of the practicum. He also believes that teachers should be seen as full partners in teacher education, rather than simply as providers of classrooms for students to teach in (Zeichner, 2010).
Universities and schools have, of course, traditionally been involved in practicum partnerships. McIntyre (2009), however, contends that in many of these partnerships, university knowledge is privileged over practicing teachers’ expertise and that the focus is on ensuring that student teacher practice is aligned with what is taught on campus rather than offering anything really new. Taking cognizance of such criticisms, teacher educators from one university and 20 primary principals from diverse schools worked together for a year to develop principles to guide the reconstruction of the practicum. Four of these schools and the university then used these principles to design practicum models that aligned with school culture, recognized both teacher and teacher educator expertise, and met university requirements. The intention was to develop new ways of enacting university-school partnerships in order to meet the overarching aim of enhancing student practicum learning opportunities. To facilitate these partnerships, two new roles were developed: a school based adjunct lecturer (AL) and a university based liaison lecturer (ULL). The principals, ALs and the ULLs were given the warrant to work together to construct new and contextually appropriate practicum approaches and practices within the framework of university credentialing requirements.
The particular research question answered by this paper is: In what ways, and to what degree, did the principals, ALs and ULLs take the opportunity to develop new ways of enacting school-university practicum partnership?
Guyton, E., & McIntyre, D. (1990). Student teaching and school experiences. In W. Houston (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 514-535). New York: Macmillan. Hagger, M., & McIntyre, D. (2006). Learning teaching from teachers: Realising the potential of school based teacher education. Buckingham: Open University Press. Haigh, M., & Ward, G. (2004). Problematising practicum relationships: Questioning the ‘taken-for-granted’. Australian Journal of Education, 48(2), 134-148. Lunenberg, M., & Korthagen, F. (2009). Experience, theory, and practical wisdom in teaching and teaching education. Teachers and Teaching, 15(2), 225-240. McIntyre, D. (2009). The difficulties of inclusive pedagogy for initial teacher education and some thoughts on the way forward. Teachers and Teacher Education, 25, 602-608. Russell, T. (2005). Using the practicum in preservice teacher education programs: Strengths and weaknesses of alternative assumptions about the experiences of learning to teach. In G.F. Hoban (Ed.), The missing links in teacher education design. Developing a multi-linked conceptual framework. (pp.135-152). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Smith, K., & Lev-Ari, L. (2005). The place of the practicum in pre-service teacher education: The voice of the students. Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 33(3), 289-302. Wertsch, J., Del Rio, P., & Alvarez, A. (Eds.) (1995). Sociocultural studies of the mind. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Zeichner, K. (2010). Rethinking the connections between campus courses and field experiences in college- and university-based teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 89-99. Zeichner, K. (2002). Beyond traditional structures of student teaching. Teacher Education Quarterly, 29(2), 59-65.
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