22 SES 04 D, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
Parallel Paper Session
The aim of this study is to investigate and develop the tutoring in the context of experimental university-level university pedagogical teacher education for university teachers. The teacher students engage in participation in intensive, self-regulating and long-term small-groups, which can be described in terms of community of learners (Leve & Wenger 1991; Wenger, 1998, 1999). The students take care of the cohesion, interaction and climate of their group in order to secure a systematic and productive progression of the group work. They also set their goals, plan their studies, build their knowledge, and reflect and evaluate their learning as well as group processes together. The roles of tutors have been discussed earlier for example in problem-based-learning groups (e.g. Wilkerson & Hundert, 1997; Neville, 1999) and in encounter groups (e.g. Yalom, 1995), and in addition to tutor, other concepts can be used in describing the role of the teacher in this kind of setting (e.g. Hirsto, 2004; Hirsto & Siitari, 2004a; Hirsto & Siitari, 2004b). However, the role of a tutor in these kinds of experimental groups cannot fully be explained on the basis of any of those traditions. In order to understand and to develop tutoring-process in this kind of collaborative course, the aim is to investigate the university teachers’ (as teacher students) perceptions and expectations for the tutoring. In this paper, we focus on the early stages of the group learning process, thus, what are the key issues the students raise.
The context. The context of this study is a university pedagogical course at a multidisciplinary Finnish university. Before the teacher students applied to the course they had completed approximately 20 ects of pedagogical studies. The number of students in the course is 16 and they come from different disciplinary backgrounds. The course is designed to last for one year and produce 20 ects, and it is designed on the idea of collaborative learning (e.g. Heron, 1996; Reason, 2002; Sahlberg, 2000; Hakkarainen, Lonka, & Lipponen, 2004; Lakkala, 2010; Muukkonen-van der Meer, 2011). In this case, the collaborative learning is seen to be embedded in the community of the small group (study group), the whole group of the course as well as the community in which these course participants are working. The main focus in designing is on the process facilitation and the structures, but the contents are not determined beforehand. The idea is that the students would start to produce the content based on their needs of their current teachership and teaching competence and knowledge but also based on the educational developmental needs of their working environment. The students were informed about the pedagogical design and approach of the course in the application material, and in the interview which was part of the entrance procedures.
References: Hakkarainen, K., Lonka, K. & Lipponen, L. (2004). Tutkiva oppiminen. Järki, tunteet ja kulttuuri oppimisen sytyttäjinä. Helsinki: WSOY Hirsto, L. (2004). Long-term learning-groups in higher education: practical and theoretical perspectives. Paper presented in the conference of SIG Higher Education of European Association of Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI), Stockholm, Sweden – Tallinn, Estonia. Hirsto, L. & Siitari, S. (2004a). Tutoring long term small groups in the context of teacher education. Nordic Educational research Association (NERA), Reykjavik, Islanti. Hirsto, L. & Siitari, S. (2004b). Different perspectives on tutoring to promote learning in long-term small-groups. Paper presented in the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Crete. Lakkala, M. (2010). How to design educational settings to promote collaborative inquiry: Pedagogical infrastructures for technologyenhanced progressive inquiry. University of Helsinki, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Studies in Psychology 66:2010. Lave, J.& Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Muukkonen-van der Meer, H. (2011). Perspectives on knowledge creating inquiry in higher education. University of Helsinki, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Studies in Psychology 75:2011. Heron. J. (1996). Co-operative inquiry. Research into the Human Condition. London: SAGE. Neville, A. J. (1999). The problem-based learning tutor: Teacher? Facilitator? Evaluator? Medical teacher 21 (4), 393-406. Reason. P. (2002). The practice of co-operative inquiry. Systematic Practice and Action Research. Vol. 15, No. 3, 169-175. Sahlberg, P. (2000). Critical elements of learning groups. Paper presented at the conference of innovations in higher education, Helsinki university, Finland, 31.8.2000. http://www.pasisahlberg.com/downloads/Inno%202000%20paper%20Final.pdf. Retrieved 7.1.2012. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge University Press. Wenger, E. (1999). Learning As Social Participation. Knowledge Management Review, 1 (6), 30-33. Wilkerson, L. & Hundert, E. (1997). Becoming a problem-based learning tutor: increasing self awareness through faculty development. In: Boud, D. & Feletti, G. (eds), The Challenges of Problem-Based Learning. London: Kogan Page. Yalom, I.D. (1995). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy. New York. Basic books.
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