This article was published in Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 26,
Issue 2, Author(s): Heather Coffey, ‘“They Taught Me”: The Benefits of Early Community-Based Field Experiences in Teacher Education’, Pages 335-342, Copyright Elsevier (February 2010).
Research in teacher education suggests that field experiences in community settings can offer pre-service teachers a context for understanding the link between theory and practice.
This paper documents the experiences of pre-service educators participating in a service-learning experience at a Children's Defense Fund Freedom School in the south-eastern United States.
Pre-service teachers engaged in critical reflection, online journals, and daily debriefing sessions and praised the benefits of a service experience in an urban context and explained how interactions within the programme gave them the insight into the teaching profession.
The author argues that this project successfully bridged the gap between teacher education theory and practice.