10 SES 03 C, Placements in Teacher Education
Teacher preparation is essentially a partnership activity involving schools and universities (Smith et al., 2006; Sivan & Chan, 2009). However, global research has consistently shown that there is a divide between university and schools, a disconnect attributed to the fact that schools and university which are expected to be partners in teacher preparation operate in dissimilar settings (Feiman-Nemser & Buchmann, 1985; Cope & Stephen, 2001; Zeichner, 2010). Moving between these settings can create tensions for student teachers, including anxiety towards school-based assessment (Mtika, 2008) and may hinder the development of a sense of belonging (Johnston, 2010). It is suggested that enhanced collaborative partnership structures may lessen the psychosocial and professional tensions felt by student teachers, whilst bridging the gap between their school and university experiences, and support professional development (Anagnostopoulos et al., 2007; Zeichner, 2010).
In this study which was part of a larger Placement Partnership Project (PPP), joint observation by teachers and teacher educators is viewed as one of the necessary structures to support collaborative partnership and to counter the complexity of the school–university divide (Barab & Duffy, 2000). Partnership-based joint observation may also “facilitate the growth of reflexivity” (Gopinathan et al., 2008) for all partners. It has been suggested that [joint] observation is more effective when carried out in a manner that promotes dialogue (O’Leary, 2012) and this may in turn promote self-reflection among the partners involved. Equally, it can also stimulate simultaneous renewal among the teacher educators and school teachers involved whereby they both experience professional growth through reflection and co-learning processes (O’Leary, 2012).
This research explores joint observation activity, centred on the placement teaching period of a cohort of third and fourth year students on a four year B. Ed (Primary) programme. The research question explored is: What are the experiences and views of all those engaged in joint observation of student teacher practice, as part of a tripartite partnership?
Anagnostopoulos, D., Smith, E.R., & Basmadjian, K.G. (2007). Bridging the university-school divide - Horizontal expertise and the "two-worlds pitfall. Journal of Teacher Education, 58(2), 138-152. Barab, S. A., & Duffy, T. (2000). From practice fields to communities of practice. In D. Jonassen & S. Land (Eds.), Theoretical foundations of learning environments (pp. 25-56). New York: Routledge. Cope, P., & Stephen, C. (2001). A role for practising teachers in initial teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(2001), 913-924. Feiman-Nemser, S., & Buchmann, M. (1985). Pitfalls of experience in teacher preparation. Teachers College Record, 87(1), 53-65. Gopinathan, S., Tan, S., Yanping, F., Devi, L., Ramos, C., & Chao, E. (2008). Transforming Teacher Education: Redefined Professionals for 21st Century Schools. A report commissioned by the international alliance of leading education institutes. Singapore: National Institute of Education. Johnston, D.H. (2010). ‘Losing the joy’: student teachers’ experiences of problematic relations with host teachers on school placement. Teacher Development: An international Journal of Teachers' Professional Development, 14(3), 307-320. Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2004). Teacher research: from design to implementation. Maidenhead: Open University Press. O’Leary, M. (2012). Exploring the role of lesson observation in the English education system: a review of methods, models and meanings. Professional Development in Education, 38(5), 791–810. Silverman, D. (2005). Doing qualitative research. London: Sage. Slick, S. (1998). The university supervisor: a disenfranchised outsider. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14(8), 821–834. Smith, I., Brisard, E., & Menter, I. (2006). Models of partnership development in initial teacher education in the four components of the United Kingdom: recent trends and current challenges. Journal of Education for Teaching, 32(2), 147–164. Zeichner, K. (2010). Rethinking the connections between campus courses and field experiences in college-and university-based teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 61-89.
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