10 SES 11 D, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
This study examines the use of a reflective placement journal in measuring any changes in the attitudes to teaching of a group of undergraduate students while spending 15 days in an English secondary school. The journals form a wealth of information about the students’ thinking around their time in the classroom and future career plans.
Reflection is an essential part of the learning process, which enabled these students to problematise the impact they had and interrogate the types of learning, communication and pedagogy they observed and in which they took part. Reflection can operate at several levels such as academic and critical (Koth, 2003), and can also be used to derive personal knowledge and develop strategies for making meaning through process (Bartolome, 2005). It was in the 1980s that reflective practice gained currency through the work of Cruikshank (1987), Schön (1983; 1987), Zeichner (1987) and Korthagen (1988). Schön’s work, in particular, gave a new impetus to those searching for ways to understand the practice of teaching and apply this understanding to the preparation of teaching professionals. Schön characterised the ‘reflective practicum’ as:
Learning by doing, coaching rather than teaching and a dialogue of reflection-on-action between the coach and the student.” (Schön, 1983, p 303)
Practical experience, the practicum, has always been part of teacher education but the weight of the practicum was reduced when teaching was studied theoretically and pre-service teachers were then inducted into teaching by gradually putting the theory into practice (Smith & Lev-Ari, 2005). More recently the reflective model is widely used and a larger part of teacher education takes place in schools with pre-service teachers being encouraged to reflect on their experiences.
In 2006 the Training and Development Agency for schools in England and Wales issued a tender for the development and delivery of a scheme known as the Student Associates Scheme (SAS), which aimed to contribute to the recruitment of students to Initial Teacher Training. The scheme’s strategic aim was to increase the number and quality of recruits into teaching. All the volunteers were trained prior to a 15 day school placement where they followed a programme closely aligned to the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). While in school each student had a mentor and had to complete a series of Core Goals which introduced them to the life and role of a teacher. They recorded their activities and reflections in a Placement Journal.
This study’s research question centred on how a practical experience might affect the students taking part when it came to making career decisions about teaching. By keeping a journal throughout the placement each student recorded their experiences and reflections many of which clearly influenced their final decisions.
The approach can be used by any teacher training institution in its recruitment programme and while it is too early to tell at this stage, the 15 day experience may contribute to a reduction in the attrition because those who leave training ‘didn’t know it was going to be like that!’
Bartolome, L. (2005), Beyond the methods fetish: towards a humanising pedagogy. In A. Darder, M. Baltodano & R. Torres (Eds), The critical pedagogy reader (pp 408 – 429), New York: RoutledgeFalmer. In M. Ryan & A. Healy, (2009), It’s not all about school: Ways of disrupting pre-service teachers’ perceptions, Teaching and Teacher Education, 25 (3), pp 424 -429 Cruikshank, D. R. (1987), Reflective teaching: The preparation of students of teaching, Reston, VA: Association of Teacher Education Korthagen, F. A. J. (1988), The influence of orientations on the development of reflective teaching. In J. Calderhead (Ed) Teachers’ Professional Learning, pp 35 – 50, Philadelphia: Falmer Koth, K. (2003), Deepening the commitment to serve: spiritual reflection in service learning, About Campus, 7 (6), pp 2 - 7 Schön, D. A. (1983), The Reflective Practitioner, San Francisco: Jossey-Boss Schön, D. A. (1987), Educating the reflective practitioner: Towards a new design for teaching and learning in the profession, San Francisco: Jossey Boss 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), pp 28 – 302 Stake, R. E. (1995) The Art of case Study Research, London: Sage Publications Training and Development Agency for Schools (2006), Invitation to tender as a provider of the Student Associates Scheme 2006-2008, Ref T34194 Zeichner, K. (1987), Preparing reflective teachers: an overview of instructional strategies in pre-service teacher education, International Journal of Educational Research, 11 (5), pp 565 - 575
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