Changing perceptions of knowledge: Evaluation of an innovative program for pre-service secondary teachers

Year: 2004

Author: Hooley, Neil, Moore, Rod

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Pre-service programs for secondary teachers have traditionally involved method subjects, where participants are inducted into the curriculum practices of two disciplinary or subject areas. In 2003, Victoria University of Technology, Melbourne, enrolled a small group of fourteen pre-service teachers into an innovative Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education that directly challenged these program assumptions. Method subjects were collapsed into an integrated study of the theory, skills and practices of classroom work and connections were drawn between all enrolled subjects or knowledge. Another key feature of the program involved all pre-service teachers being placed at the one school for their partnership experience, including classroom teaching and a requirement to undertake an applied curriculum project negotiated as being important for the school. Mentor teachers from the school presented a series of evening tutorials on issues such as systemic requirements, curriculum innovation, school organization. This approach to Site-Based Teacher Education builds on a DEST-funded project conducted by Victoria University some years previously. The paper describes the evaluation of the program including suggested curriculum changes and the resources required. It also provides some advice for the establishment of similar site-based work that attempts to break the mould of traditional thinking on separated knowledge in teacher education.