Researching praxis model of teacher education with portfolio dialogue

Year: 2013

Author: Hooley, Neil, Arnold, Julie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Formal education around the world is generally seen as a public good for the citizenry with considerable resources being allocated to its pursuit. In many countries however since the end of World War II, education has become a highly contested area with its purpose and direction at all levels characterised by political uncertainty, professional ambiguity and educational variation. According to a Bourdieuian analysis, education is established in the reproductive interests of economic privilege and cultural dominance meaning that education for the majority is tolerated, but enhances social and cultural capital for the minority. Within this context, a conservative and neoliberal criticism of public education attempts to shift the emphasis of teacher education from more democratic, pluralist and public epistemologies, to more positivist, exclusive and private epistemologies, strongly opposing the notion that knowledge arises from communities of experience and understanding. For these reasons, any model of teacher education must be firmly located in the literature, have a documented experiential base and be rigorously researched for professional scrutiny. In building praxis philosophies of teacher education, Victoria University therefore seeks to involve all practitioners in the construction, reconstruction and critique of knowledge such that the social world becomes more equitable, more satisfying and more public. Accordingly, praxis has been defined as ethically-informed action for the public good, a philosophical framework for the action of learning in all classrooms every day. In specific terms, praxis for teacher education has been conceptualised as comprising seven signature pedagogies including that of portfolio dialogue for teacher-student investigation. Throughout 2013, pre-service teachers, mentor teachers and university staff worked together on trialling a series of questions regarding schooling, teaching, learning and curriculum and socio-economic influences. Evidence was collected by pre-service teachers around these questions in a professional portfolio and discussed at various times. Rubric data on key praxis indicators were assembled during portfolio dialogue and analysed for themes and trends. This paper reports data from the study and reports on initial findings of the key features of praxis teacher education and graduate teacher learning outcomes.

Keywords: Praxis, teacher education, portfolio dialogue rubric.