Conceptualising teacher education and research as critical praxis

Year: 2011

Author: Arnold, J, Edwards, T, Hooley, N.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Over the last fifteen years extensive innovation, development and refinements around school and university Project Partnerships, aimed at supporting the professional development of pre-service teachers, have brought the School of Education at Victoria University to a position which permits and calls upon teacher educators to examine the conditions which have proven to facilitate productive learning environments. This position has been arrived at because of a number of key principles that have underpinned this work. These include partnership-based teacher education, learning from immersion in professional practice and the notion of 'praxis inquiry.' A Praxis Inquiry Protocol has been developed that guides the constant and inter-related description, explaining, theorising and changing of professional educational practice for improved learning of all teachers, pre-service teachers and university staff involved. A unit of study has been incorporated into each university year level as the formal connection between school and university experience. This position we suggest distinguishes the Praxis Inquiry model of Victoria University from other models of teacher education that may emphasise an apprenticeship-type approach towards teaching, rules and skills, approaches that underscore the transmission of subject content, or the more prevalent approach of reflective practice. We now discuss each of these key ideas and practices from the perspective of our experience at Victoria University and extend the frame of 'praxis inquiry' to that of 'critical praxis.'