Exploring the Radical Middle between Theory and Practice: A Collaborative Self-Study of Beginning Teacher Educators

May. 20, 2009

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Volume 5, Issue 1 May 2009, pages 75-88.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This paper is a collaborative self-study of the authors' development as beginning teacher educators over the course of an academic year. The purpose of the authors' self-study was their shared interest in the role of theory and of practice in teacher education programs. They both taught in a preservice teacher education program: one author taught a philosophy of education course and the other taught a practicum supervision course.


The authors met regularly over the course of the 2007-2008 academic year to discuss areas of mutual interest in teacher education and to help each other think about the problems of practice that they encountered as they taught in the preservice program. They both kept personal journals of the ideas they explored during these meetings, which usually lasted for 90 minutes. The discussions were shaped and guided by their shared interest in the philosophical implications of the familiar debate between theory and practice. They also used literature written by both philosophers of education and self-study practitioners as catalysts for discussion.

Their analysis suggests that the dichotomy between theory and practice is unhelpful and unproductive for both teacher candidates and teacher educators. Theory and practice are densely interwoven aspects of teaching that can be tacitly separated by coursework in teacher education. The authors advocate a pedagogy of teacher education that examines the radical middle between theory and practice.

Updated: Aug. 26, 2009