10 SES 06 A, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
Topic and research questions
This paper presents the preliminary findings of a qualitative study of how teacher students experience the relationship between theory and practice within their professional education programme. The study in question is related to a large Danish research project ‘Bridging the gap between theory and practice’ (BTG). BTG addresses the alleged ‘gap’ between theory and practice in professional education programmes and contains both quantitative and qualitative studies. The overall focus lies on how students experience and validate the relationship between theory and practice in relation to retention rates in four different professional education programmes (Jensen & Haselman 2010). Within this overall framework a qualitative sub-project focuses on the qualitative dimensions of how students in nursing, engineering, pre-school teaching and teaching experience the relationship between theory and practice when moving between courses at college and periods of practice in the professional field. As such the paper in question draws on the study of teacher students and teacher education and raises a discussion of how the teacher training programmes in question can be said to comprise coherence or ‘gaps’ between theory and practice.
Within the research field of teacher education, the concept of coherence has been used in order to address and evaluate the relationship between theory and practice within teacher training (Grossman et al. 2008; Hammerness 2006; Tatto 1996). Grossman defines coherence as question of the extend to which fundamental goals on teaching and learning are shared by all parties involved in the education and 2) the extend to which the content and the organisation of the education is planned in accordance with these goals (Grossman 2008: 274). Following this line of thinking attempts have been made to quantitatively measure and evaluate coherence within teacher education (E.g. Smeby & Heggen 2010). This approach is in line with other attempts to measure the outcome of teacher education programmes (E.g. Darling Hammond 2006). In this paper the question of coherence is taken up as well. However, it is addressed as a qualitative question of how students experience and perceive the relationship between theory and practice when moving between the spatial context of the education and the spatial context of the professional field of the school. Admittedly, at this stage the paper operates with an un-theorized idea of coherence. Instead coherence and even more so lack of coherence is used as an analytical starting point for exploring how the relationship between theory and practice is both experienced and ‘practiced’ by the students.
Furthermore the paper draws on a general understanding of the socio-cultural learning processes taking place within the socio-cultural setting of an education. In relation to teacher education Kvalbein has pointed out how teacher training teach the students to become and perform as ‘good teacher training students’ rather than becoming good future professionals (Kvalbein 1998). Within the paper the concept of subject positions and positioning (Davies 2006; Davies & Harré 1990) offers a theoretical backdrop for the empirical analysis of how the students are positioned differently within different spaces and places of the education.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2005): Assessing Teacher Education. The usefulness of multiple measures for assessing program outcomes. In: Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 57, n. 2 120 - 138 Davies, B. (2006): Subjectification: The relevance of Butler's analysis for education. British Journal of Sociology of Education 27(4): 425-438. Davies, B. & Harré, R. (2000 (1990)): Positioning: the discursive production of selves. In: Davies, B.: A body of writing 1990 - 1999. Oxford, AltaMira Press. Eikeland, O. (2006): Som gjort, så sagt? Yrkeskunnskap og yrkeskompetanse, Akershus: HiAk Jensen, T. J. & Haselmann, S. (2010): Studerendes vurdering af teori og praksis på professionsbacheloruddannelserne (Students’ Assessment of Linkage between Theory and Practice in the Professional Education Programmes) Copenhagen: AKF Jorgensen, E. R. (2005): Four Philosophical Models of the Relation Between Theory and Practice. In: Philosophy and Music Education Review, 13 n. 1 21 – 36 Kvalbein, I. A. (1998): Lærerutdanningskultur og Kunnskabsutvikling. Oslo: University of Oslo Smeby, J.C. & Heggen. K. (2010): The importance of coherence in educational programmes for the development of professional competence. Unpublished paper.
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