‘Student teachers' perceptions of seminar learning contexts in ITE (initial teacher education)

DEMISSIE, Fufy (2016). ‘Student teachers' perceptions of seminar learning contexts in ITE (initial teacher education). TEAN (Teacher Education Action Network), 8 (1), 46-55.

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    Abstract

    This paperoutlines how examining student teachers’ perceptionsof the use of seminars in HE led to reflections about the role and significance of seminars in initial teachereducation (ITE). Whilst thegeneric literatureon student learningprovides useful insights about how they approach their learning and tutors’teaching strategies, we know little about students,and in particular student teachers’1perceptions of seminars (a learning context that can nurture important HE attributes such as reflection, reasoning and judgement). The study focuses on student teachers and reportsonthe findings from a series of in-depth interviews withfivesecond year undergraduate primary teacher education student teachersin a post-1992 English university. Their accounts present seminars as rich and multi-layered learning contexts that draw on their peers’, tutors’and families’practices,and characterised by instrumentalist judgementsabout the extent to which seminars ‘enabled’ or ‘disabled’ participation and teacher preparation. This paper's contribution is in problematising seminars, a common learning context for student teachers, and highlighting the ways in which the studyled to pedagogical reflections about the purpose,value and potential of university-based seminars for teacher preparation.KeywordsSeminars; perceptions; student teachers;context; reflection; theory/practice.IntroductionThis paper is an accountofhowthe renewed emphasis on student teachers' reflection ininitialteacher education(ITE)(DELNI, 2014; DfE, 2015; Khortagen et al., 2001) led to pedagogical reflectionsabout seminars’role in promoting student teachers’ reflections. The emerging international consensus that teacher quality has the biggest impacton children’s educational outcomes has led to new initiatives for student teachers’ training and education (Hulme et al, 2013). A significant change is the ‘practicum turn’(Burns & Mutton, 2010); a policy shift to devolve much of teacher educationinto schools as evidenced in England’s School Direct programme (DfE, 2011; McLean Davies et al., 2013). Behind this shift is policy makers’ view that students make little use of what they learn at university (Hodson, 2003 in Smith & Hodson, 2010)and that teacher education has failed to preparethem for classroom realities (Burns & Mutton, 2013; McLean Davies et al., 2013; Kessels&Korthagen 1999). It is also due to the increasing recognition of classroom teachers’ practice knowledgeand the desire to give student teachers access to teachers’ tacit knowledge (Khortagen et al.,2001).The ‘practicum turn’ and its implicationsfor student teachers, schools and teacher educators is nonetheless, widely debated. Some have prioritised an ‘apprentice’ perspective (a view that 1The term 'student teacher' is used to refer to those undertaking a teaching degree although 'student' is sometimes used for stylistic purposes. All other references to 'students' refer to those on non-teaching degrees.

    Item Type: Article
    Page Range: 46-55
    SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
    Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
    Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2020 15:44
    Last Modified: 16 Jun 2020 17:00
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/26245

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