Rehearsing to Teach: Content-Specific Deconstruction of Instructional Explanations in Pre-Service Teacher Training

Feb. 20, 2009

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Volume 35, Issue 1, February 2009 , pages 47 - 60

Giving effective instructional explanations requires a special type of pedagogical content knowledge. In other words, foreseeing where students could employ different assumptions in building their understanding of a specific content. The article proposes the importance of rehearsing instructional explanations. It also suggest fine-tuning the coherence and meaningfulness of instructional explanations before pre-service teachers start practice teaching, where many complex factors such as classroom management could occupy their minds, so leaving little room for focusing and reflecting on their instructional explanations. The current article presents actual examples of such rehearsals in which the pre-service teachers demonstrated the need for developing deeper pedagogical understanding of the ways their elementary school students construct their content knowledge. It concludes with the suggestion to provide pre-service teachers with ample opportunities actually to practice explaining specific concepts and engage in post-hoc pedagogical analyses of their explanations in teacher training programs.

Updated: Apr. 30, 2009