Students as Researchers: Breaking the Binds

Year: 1998

Author: Bell, James W, Patterson, Annette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Education students in foundations units at Australian universities are in a double bind. Currently these students must understand a broad range of theoretical materials relating to issues of philosophy, sociology and social justice in macro and micro educational settings. This information is complex, often abstract and has sometimes been criticised by students as "interesting but irrelevant" to their future work as teachers. Additionally the learning processes of these students are being constrained by increasingly limited teaching periods with increasing demands for the development of practical skills.

This paper explores the development and implementation of two undergraduate foundation units from two Australian Universities which integrate the theoretical material of previous units with grounded research based assignment work. These units are informed by the view that teaching professionals are researching professionals. This paper investigates the challenges involved in developing research based units for undergraduate students and evaluates the effectiveness of these units in breaking this double bind.