The Evolution of an Alternative Teacher Education Model.

Year: 2001

Author: Kiggins, Julie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In 1999 the Faculty of Education at the University of Wollongong trialed an alternative model of teacher education known as the Knowledge Building Community (KBC) Project. With support from the NSW Training and Development Directorate of the Department of Education, 4 local primary schools and the Teacher’s Federation, 22 first year students embarked on an unknown journey. Forsaking the traditional model of mainstream education that consisted of lectures and tutorials the students became pioneers in an alternative model of teacher education that was based upon problem-based learning.

This paper will show that attempting to implement PBL in its pure sense in the constraints of our context was a mixture of successes and pitfalls. The research showed that the initial concept was however worth developing. Therefore the original model has undergone major revisions and is now at best described as a "negotiated-evaluation- of-a-non-negotiable-curriculum-based-on-a-constructivist-model of learning-and-knowledge-building". The basic aim of the program is to deal with the perennial problem of contextualising students’ professional learning, by linking abstract theory as closely as possible to the contexts and settings to which it applies, ie the primary school classroom.

In 2001 the KBC program is operating across the Bachelor of Teaching Degree with 75 students.