Teacher Education course design for integrated learning: reflecting with preservice and expert teachers

Year: 2019

Author: Macqueen, Suzanne, Reynolds, Ruth, Ferguson-Patrick, Kate

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Preservice teachers are educated via a number of separate courses which promote diverse and distinct pedagogical approaches to the relevant disciplinary content. Lack of program cohesion, particularly when it comes to linking the theory and the practical in preservice teacher education, has often been seen as a barrier to well-trained, responsive teachers. This is increasingly evident when associated with discourses around 21st century teaching which argue for global competence and authentic teaching and learning experiences, and Work Integrated Learning (WIL). This paper details one course which has been designed to integrate and extend on skills and content from previous courses related to specific discipline areas. The aim of this project is to assess and improve a final year primary teacher education course regarding its effectiveness in preparing teachers for 21st century classrooms. Firstly, we analysed the effectiveness of the course through surveys and interviews with past students. Secondly, we employed focus groups of expert teachers and school leaders to provide feedback on the design of assessment tasks in the course and exemplars with a view to improving the task design. At an immediate level, the findings provide guidance in improving the current course both in the design of the assessment task and the teaching which supports it. This will enable us to better meet students’ needs and those of the workplace they will enter. At the University level, our findings provide evidence of how to (or not to) design and teach for authentic learning and assessment opportunities with a WIL focus.