Crossing the borders between university and workplace learning: Problematising the integration of theory and practice in teacher education.

Year: 2001

Author: Cartwright, Patricia, Gervasoni, Ann, Nuttall, Mary

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper reports on a Project that aims to assist student teachers in their professional development and learning through their study of the integration of the theory and practice of the disciplines of Literacy Education, Maths Education, and Teaching and Classroom Management. The target group consisted of Education students in the second year of their BA/BT course when the focus of their studies is on curriculum theories and classroom practice. The Project aims to address the complexities of the professions into which students will enter by crossing the borders between universities and schools, developing and implementing curriculum programs, and collaborating with classroom teachers, in order to enhance the learning of student teachers. What became clear, however, was that the integration of theory and practice was not a seamless process. This disjuncture between theory and practice provided an opportunity for student teachers to cross over into borders of meaning, ways of knowing, social and power relations, and values, that challenged them to problematise the relationship between theory and practice. A particular focus of this paper is on students’ critical reflection as they crossed the borders between the subject positions offered them in university classrooms and their placement in school classrooms – a situation that enabled them to engage critically with the complexities of learning, teaching and schooling.