10 SES 05 C, Mentoring Conversations in Teacher Education
General description and purpose
One of the key players in student teacher learning on practicum is the visiting lecturer. The purpose of this paper is to describe and document five visiting lecturers’ perceptions of their specific role and contribution to student teacher learning during practicum. It is difficult for academics to develop sound educational theory in isolation from the field, and therefore it is apparent that by sustaining and promoting links between the school and the university an essential aspect of the university lecturer’s role is promoted (Beck & Kosnik, 2002). Through this linking, there is more likely to be a shared ownership of and responsibility for initial teacher education, with more clearly defined roles for all participants and professional discourse between universities and schools (Sinclair, 2008). However, within relevant literature there is gap in our knowledge about the significant and specific role of the visiting lecturer and the value placed on it by student teachers.
The role of the visiting lecturer is different from what it has previously been – a difference referred to by Clandinin (2008) as the ‘changing landscapes’ of universities and schools. Changes highlighted within universities have been referred to as an increasing emphasis on research and internalization and within schools as changing demographics and reshaped families. Student teacher learning during practicum is an essential component of learning to be a teacher and can be complex (Hascher, Cocard & Moser, 2004). It is important therefore, that the role of the visiting lecturer is clarified and investigated so that student teachers can receive excellent supervision and support in their goal of becoming teachers.
The research question(s) which guided the study were: Why is the visiting lecturer role important? What do visiting lecturers perceive their role and relevance in student teacher learning on practicum to be? What are some of the practices (from the visiting lecturer’s perspective) which specifically contribute to student teacher learning on practicum?
The theoretical framework for the study links to the importance of excellent supervision from visiting lecturers in student teacher learning on practicum and is underpinned by a social constructivist view of learning. This view suggests learning should be ‘participatory, proactive, communal and collaborative’ (Bruner, 1996, p. 84). Excellent supervision means student teachers having the opportunity to experience learning about becoming teachers within the collaborative environment of both university and schools from both visiting lecturers and associate teachers. As Lave and Wenger (2001) wrote, learning is not merely situated in practice, but is an integral part of generative social practice. It is about relationships between people and a sense of belonging where working and talking together is thought to provide access to a mentor’s more developed knowledge (Lave & Wenger, 2001).
References Beck, C., & Kosnik, C. (2002). Professors and the practicum: Involvement of University faculty in preservice practicum supervision. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(6), 6-19. Bruner, J. (1996). The culture of education. London: Harvard University Press. Clandinin, J. (2008, July). Attending to changing landscapes....Shaping our identities as teacher educators. Paper presented at the Australian Teacher Education Association conference, Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Hascher, T., Cocard, Y., & Moser, P. (2004). Forget about theory - practice is all? Student teachers' learning in practicum. Teachers and teaching: Theory and Practice, 10(6), 623 - 636. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (2001). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press. Sinclair, C. (1997). Redefining the role of the university lecturer in school based teacher education. Asia-Pacific journal of Teacher Education, 25(3), 309-324. Yin, R. (1993). Applications of case study research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
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