Learning by Doing: The Challenge of Aligning Theory and Practice in School-Based, Post-graduate, Teacher Education Programmes
This chapter addresses the thematic questions in the book to do with innovations in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and, in particular, the contributions that they make to the secondary school teaching community. Informed by the literature on threshold concepts, the chapter reports on a qualitative study of a post-graduate ITE programme that blended Master’s level professional studies, with an extensive year-long practicum; working closely with a high calibre Teacher Mentor and a research active Academic Mentor. Data was gathered from student teachers who graduated from this programme in 2016, in the latter stages of their first-year teaching (2017). It is argued that this approach has the potential to improve teacher quality (and quality teaching) in secondary schools as it inducts student teachers into professional communities of practice over an extended period and develops the dispositions, knowledge and expertise for beginning teachers to operate as critically reflective, confident practitioners who align theory and practice in their pedagogical decision making. The introduction of post-graduate ITE programmes were a significant shift in how New Zealand educates its teachers and to place this into context the chapter provides a brief social/historical context of teacher education over the last 50 years.