Educating for teaching practice: practice development in pre-service teacher education

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


    My focus is on the education of student teachers and the issues that arise becauseof the fact that Initial Teacher Education [ITE] always happens prior toappointment, and in settings different from those where new teachers begin toteach. Educating novice teachers for future practice as professionals always takesplace in a here and now, but is designed to prepare them for subsequentprofessional practice in other times, and other places. I argue here that educatingfor teaching practice is not something that can be successfully achieved byfocussing only on educating in practice. It also involves education about teachingpractice.This is a key distinction to be made 'pre-positionally', and the prepositions matter(Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999). For instance, I write this, pre-positioned as ateacher educator currently practising in a setting that ensures students havesignificant amounts of time 'on prac', with structured opportunities to learn toteach in and through the practice of teaching. As teacher educators we are chargedwith pre-positioning student teachers to learn from that practice, and to continuelearning from practice as they move into different teaching contexts in both timeand space. Educating for teaching practice, then, means educating for teacherlearning, and the continual change that characterises professional growth.In many ways, the actions of the young woman in the supermarket described abovedemonstrate both her understanding of a key theoretical aspect of teaching (theimportance of children learning about print in the early years) and her capacity toapply her developing professional knowledge. She is already practising ('practiceing')/practicing as a teacher here, even as a 'check-out chick'. She has informationabout learning to read, and a context in which to operate with salient features ofthat knowledge ' a real-life context,meaningful print, a child, and herself as anexperienced adult. Most importantly, in terms of her education for future practice,she is clearly aware of the goal of her action, and about what she is doing. She cancomment on it to me, reflecting on her practice, in a meta-analysis she knows I willunderstand and appreciate. She is becoming a teacher ' 'making herself up' assomeone who can act with the specialist knowledge she is acquiring.In this chapter I discuss a study of teacher education practice that bringstogether two main themes within educational research literature: reflective practice,and poststructuralist perspectives on human subjectivity. In a longitudinal study ina four-year pre-service teacher education course, Sandra Frid and I worked withnotions of social subjectivity to inquire into how students take up and perform thesubject position of teacher through a process of public sharing of their practice inconstructing individual teaching portfolios. A program of critical reflection on ourown (teacher education) practice contextualised the study, framing action researchdesigned to improve our ITE program. This focused on issues of practicum,integrated curriculum, technology, pedagogy and assessment, and the relationshipbetween competency and professionalism. This last issue induced us to exploredeveloping understandings of teacher education as a process of formation of aprofessional subject ' a 'teacher-self' (Reid, 1997). Hence, we introducedpoststructuralist perspectives to frame discussions that were designed to prepareour students for teaching practice once they graduated.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEducation for Future Practice
    Place of PublicationRotterdam
    PublisherSense Publishers
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Print)9789460913181
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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