How can we make professional experience better: a bandaid or a genuine possibility?

Year: 2006

Author: Hastings, Wendy, Page, Jan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The site-based component of preservice teacher education courses is often perceived as the most valuable aspect a program. While professional experience models for teacher education vary across universities, states and countries, it is common for each preservice teacher to work directly with one school-based teacher educator. However, an investigation of the life of a school would suggest that teachers typically interact with a range of different people in the course of their work. Specialist teachers, relief teachers and teacher's aides play active roles in classrooms throughout the course of the day. High quality communication and interpersonal skills are fundamental for effective teaching. How then do we structure a school-based preservice program that is pedagogically capable of engaging with such issues on a range of levels?

Building on the work of Bullough, Young, Birrell et al (2003), Smith (2002) and Manouchehri (2002), teacher educators developed a program that attempts to address some of these issues.. University staff suggested preservice teachers working in pairs might lead to greater collaboration, support and dialogue between peers, with the aim of enhancing their capacity to work in a team as well as their 'skills' in classroom praxis.

This paper reports on the findings which indicate the program has been widely accepted by participants and successful in many respects, but which also identify where further negotiation around issues of support, preparation and intended outcomes need to occur.