Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Volume 38, Issue 4, pages 257 – 272. (November, 2010).
Teacher education literature argues that making connections with the families and communities they will serve may help student teachers confront understandings of the realities of family lives and assist them to prepare for their professional responsibilities.
The literature suggests that supported field experiences may assist teacher education students to examine their beliefs and reflect on their practices with families.
The current article reports on the experiences of student teachers who undertook a community placement in order to interact with children and families outside their normal range of teaching practice experience.
Three themes of changes in student learning are discussed:
(1) beliefs about partnerships;
(2) notions of complexities within diversity; and
(3) developing relationships with diverse families.
The article argues that the change in placement setting prompted student reflection in relation to these themes and shifts in beliefs, towards more authentic and complex understandings of partnership.