Source: Teaching and Teacher Education 33 (2013) 100-112
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this study was to explore the extent to which the constructivist pedagogies employed by teacher educators assisted preservice teachers (PSTs) in their understanding and construction of knowledge about instructional alignment.
Data collection employed rich tasks and focus group interviews with a sample of 31 physical education teacher education (PETE) PSTs enrolled on a one-year Graduate Diploma Physical Education program.
The findings revealed that PSTs varied in their articulation of the various elements of instructional alignment that were captured in the rich task.
Furthermore, the results showed that through peer interaction in the form of discussion with critical friends, probing and challenging one another’s insights and interpretations, group problem solving and sharing of outcomes through various pedagogical strategies such as the jigsaw and world café allowed PSTs to develop or struggle with the construction of their knowledge of instructional alignment.
As the semester progressed, the PSTs moved from feelings of fear and apprehension to being confident as they recognised their own development. This recognition was a result of their experience with the rich task learning process that included both the design and the self and peer assessment of the instructional alignment scheme development. The authors gained insight into PSTs’ learning as a result of self-assessment. These PSTs found that self-assessment served to confirm their learning, and supported their current and developing beliefs and practices while being prompted to examine alternatives to improve teaching and learning.
Ultimately, the PSTs understood and valued the process of instructional alignment while also providing suggestions on how to make the modules more useful in facilitating their learning of the alignment process.
The authors have become more aware of the pedagogical tools they employed that were most effective in stimulating, motivating and promoting learning among the PSTs. The authors recognise that not all the strategies tehy employed will be effective in all settings yet suspect that they can be adapted and modified to meet the needs of developing teachers internationally in various contexts and cultures.