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Mentoring to enhance the learning of pre-service teachers on practicum. Dr Ngaire Hoben Faculty of Education, University of Auckland January 2008. Conventional wisdom is that school-based teaching practice is where PSTs learn to teach.
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Dr Ngaire Hoben
Faculty of Education,
University of Auckland
“In the classroom, definitely…I learnt a lot more in the classroom than I ever did at teachers’ training college. It’s very valuable… you get to experience what it’s really like…to see what a teacher really does”
What do cooperating [supervising] teachers actually do to teach their pre-service teachers to teach within a secondary classroom?
To what extent are these practices enhancing the learning of pre-service teachers, in order that they might, in turn, provide their pupils with opportunities to learn.
Effective teachers provide opportunities for their pupils to learn what they need to learn ( Berliner, 1987).
Opportunities to learn occur when:
1] lessons are aligned to appropriate and important curriculum objectives
2] pupils are cognitively and behaviourally engaged with these objectives
3] pupils enjoy a high rate of success with learning tasks, and
Sufficient time is allocated for all this to happen.
[lower = 3, middle = 5, upper =4]
Small [roll under 1000, n = 2]
Medium [roll 1000-1500, n = 5],
slightly larger [roll1500-2000, n = 2] and
large [roll greater than 2000, n = 3]
Process of developing research questions revealed teacher educators involved had no means of knowing what PSTs gained from practicum - yet
Resulted in design of framework/model for evaluating practicum as an opportunity for PSTs to learn to teach
Reflected in two dimensions: a task dimension and a relational dimension
“Someone once did this for me”.
“as crazy as it sounds, I’m a senior teacher here”.
“my partner and I have a young family and are renovating a house and are working full-time” Rose, year 3 teacher
A way of knowing that involves expert knowledge at a “personal-professional, theoretical and practical” level (Goodfellow and Sumison, 2000, p 248)
Issues to do with:
Criterion 1: Opportunities to teach & to observe supervising teacher teaching and reflecting on own practice.
Kate did observe Rose, Rose observed Kate but provided no modelling or reflection on practice for Kate
Criterion 2: Shared planning of outcomes, resources & aligned pedagogy.
No real time given for this after 2 sessions.
Criterion 3: Provision of quality feedback which is evidence based, critically constructive and sufficiently regular.
Very little feedback, perceived by Kate to be “all negative”
Relational dimension: Criterion 1: High mutual empathy- Kate felt unwelcome, CT frustrated, little time spent together and high level of tension developed between CT and PST
Relational dimension continued:
Criterion 2: Openness of CT & PST to learning from one another – Kate identified those practices of Rose’s she felt she could work with.
Criterion 3: The CT and PST engage in disclosure and checking of assumptions, expectations and reactions – no checking of expectations or assumptions and no discussion of points of difference.
Context worked against Rose:
Kate now a little older and wiser & context changes.
After a lesson in which the kids weren’t that interested and were mucking around, Sam asked me “why do you think they weren’t engaged with this, What do you think you could have changed to make this more interesting for them? Is there a different approach you could have made with the same material?”, that kind of stuff, which was really good because it made me think, “well, maybe it’s not the lesson that’s totally crap, but the way I approached it” or “maybe the lesson was bad and the approach was OK”. I had to kind of think, “well, which is it?” (Interview with pre-service teacher Kate)
Differences in key aspects:
(And of course, in the context – their departments provided very different models of working)
“Given that our student teachers are going to be our future colleagues in the teaching profession, every attempt should be made to ensure that practicum advisors are not only the very best people available for that task but well prepared to undertake that task” (Clarke, 1997, p. 168).
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