Pre-service teachers' practical knowledge as emerged from teaching lessons in the practicum

Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Año de publicación2015
AuthorsMena, JJ, García, ML, Gómez, R, Husu, J, Toom, A, Knezic, D, Leijen, A, Allas, R, Pedaste, M, Meijer, P, Heikonen, L, Tiilikainen, M
Nombre de la ConferenciaInternational Technology, Education and Development Conference
Fecha de publicación2-3 March, 2015
Keywordsmentoring, reflection, teacher education

Teacher Education programs worldwide strive to guarantee high quality standards in the pre service teaching preparation by including both research and practical contents in their syllabi. However some research works have demonstrated that Student Teachers show limitations to fully understand and react to real situations in the school settings. 

In this paper we present some of the results from a European Project (ACTTEA 2012-2015) which foremost purpose is to know how pre-service teachers learn from their practicum experience, that is to say, what kind of practical knowledge they activate when they engage in practical teaching situations.

Eighty Seven Student Teachers participated in this study for Spain. Similar samples were gathered in the other partner countries: Finland, The Netherlands and Estonia. The task to be performed consisted in planning a lesson; delivering it and record it; watch the video-recording within two days; selecting two critical incidents (one positive and one negative) that could summarize the most important events of the lesson; and reflect over the incidents. 

For this last (analytical phase) three conditions were used: 
a. Individual reflection on action;
b. peer reflection, and 
c. mentoring guided reflection. 

Participants were equally distributed to the conditions (27, 30 and 30 respectively). 
Topical analysis was used to identify the emergent themes in the reflective dialogues. Kappa reliability tests confirmed the replicability of the analysis followed. Six categories were used to identify practical knowledge in the topics: recalls and appraisals (narrative knowledge), rules and artifacts (inferential knowledge) and practical reasoning and theoretical reasoning (explicative knowledge).

Main results indicate that the three conditions generated similar numbers of reflective comments (37.54% for individual reflection; and 31.22% for peer reflection and mentor reflection) however the type of knowledge followed a particular distribution : Narrative knowledge was significantly higher (203; 71.22%) than the other main two groups: explicative knowledge (70; 24.55%) or Inferential knowledge (12; 4.2%). The implication out of it is that learning complex and generalizable practical knowledge (inferential knowledge) is more difficult to naturally prompt in reflective dialogues. Furthermore, it is even more difficult for Student Teachers to think of the ways the own-experience (practical reasoning) or educational theories (theoretical reasoning) can justify the actions performed in classroom.

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