The trouble with front-end loading in undergraduate university programs: Teacher Education as a case in point

Year: 2009

Author: Allen, Jeanne, Smith, Richard, Sinclair, Mark

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Abstract:
In this paper we show how Mead's theory of emergence can prove explanatory in how the theory-practice gap is co-created and sustained in front-end loading university programs. Taking teacher education as an exemplar, we argue that the trainee teacher encounters different and oft-times conflicting environmental, social and cultural conditions in the two"fields of interaction"of their training program, namely, the on-campus pre-service program and the Teaching School. The argument draws on interview and focus group data collected via a study of first-year graduate teachers of an Australian pre-service teacher education program. Our conclusions are two-fold. First, we conclude that role taking and self-regulated behaviour within the two environmental fields of interaction in front-end loading programs inhibit the trainee professional from exercising the power of agency to implement theory learned at university in practice in the workplace. Second, we conclude that Mead's theory of emergence proves effective in predicting the obduracy of the gap between theory and practice in front-end programs.

Key Phrase: Teacher Education and Professional Development of Teachers

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