Is teacher education wonder-full? An Australian study

Year: 2021

Author: Yazdanpanah, Lilly, Ludecke, Michelle, Lyons, Damien, Rutherford, Sarah

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Wonder is the beginning of all inquiry. It encompasses both a feeling of amazement (i.e., state) of and  engagement (i.e., act) with the unknown. It is one’s interest in what is beyond the self and yet a passion that binds the self with the Other. That is, through wonder understanding the connection between the self and the unknown Other become the focus of inquiry. As teacher educators, we know that the most meaningful learning happens when we allow our pre-service teachers to engage in wonder without being expected to reach a conclusive answer. Deep learning happens when our pre-service teachers engage in wonder dialogues and venture into less disciplined ways of thinking. In this way, we are able to invite them to sustain their interest and receptivity to the worlds of their student-Others and see them in their infinite uniqueness. This study is situated in undergraduate and postgraduate teacher education units at an Australian university. The data is drawn from those involved in developing, teaching and learning in these units. The preliminary qualitative findings suggest that the structure of the lectures, tutorials, online teaching materials, and especially the assessments played an important role in suppressing wonder as both a state and an act. We argue that if pre-service teachers’ sense of wonder is suppressed, they are unlikely to accommodate for the innate learning need of their students, which could impact their perception of readiness to transition into the teaching profession. On the other hand, if their sense of wonder is harnessed throughout their teacher education program, they may be able to sustain a clear vision of their students as learners in the face of unexpected and arising challenges in their transition to the profession.