“Welcome to the Real World”: Navigating the Gap Between Best Teaching Practices and Current Reality

Jul. 01, 2013

Source: Studying Teacher Education: A journal of self-study of teacher education practices, Volume 9, Issue 3, 2013, pages 284-297

In this self-study, the author investigates the gap between best and actual practices, as experienced by a university teacher educator who spent a year as a student teacher in a middle and high school English language arts program.

Occupying the identities of a student, a student teacher, a teacher educator, and a researcher, she explored the gap from these multiple perspectives, with the intent of learning how to better support student teachers' development.

Her findings fall into three distinct phases: (1) In “Mind the gap,” she explains the dilemma she encountered as a student teacher. (2) In “Mine the gap,” she describes the process of exploring the nature and extent of this dilemma. (3) In “The gap is mine,” she analyzes a shift in her understanding of where the gap is located.
She then illustrates, in a series of short vignettes, the significant impact of that shift on her practice, both as a teacher and as a supervisor of student teachers, and how a core reflection approach to teacher education has supported her in that work. Finally, she discusses some broader practical implications for teacher education programs.

Updated: Aug. 01, 2016