Reforming Teacher Education through a Professionally Applied Study of Teaching

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Nov. 10, 2010

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Volume 36, Issue 4, pages 461 – 475. (November 2010).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article describes the model for teacher development that evolved from the review of research on teacher education and the development and implementation of the first year of the Master of Teaching at the University of Melbourne.

The development team formulated a series of questions for the review of both the curriculum and pedagogy for teacher development.
The questions focused on:
what the goals of the new programme should be;
what teacher candidates needed to know to be prepared for teaching;
what teacher candidates needed to know about the professional standards for teaching; and how teacher candidates should be prepared to use evidence in teaching.

A proposed pedagogy for teacher development

The article presents a multidimensional model for teacher development.
This model summarises the five knowledge bases in teaching and learning that have been identified in the research literature:
the following set of candidates' knowledge bases as a checklist:
1. Discipline knowledge - To develop knowledge for teaching and learning.
2. Academic study - To develop knowledge about teaching and learning.
3. Practical study - To develop knowledge of (doing) teaching and learning.
4. Research study - To develop knowledge of use of evidence in teaching and learning.
5. Professional study - To develop knowledge of the professional guidelines in teaching and learning

This model of teacher development posits learning to teach as an active process and suggests candidates require responsive feedback and guidance to support learning within and between each of the five dimensions.
In addition, the model provides a curriculum and pedagogical framework for initial teacher education that links together the theoretical, practical and professional elements of teaching and learning.

Programme design for a postgraduate Master of Teaching

School teachers and university academics jointly provided professional guidance for teacher candidates in schools using a clinical supervision model.
School-based teaching fellows and university clinical specialists were employed to work together to support the development of a cohort of approximately 25 teacher candidates in a cluster of four to six neighbouring schools.
A teaching fellow was paired up with a clinical specialist to coordinate the activities of a cohort of candidates in a neighbouring school group.

An integrated and professionally applied learning experience

The programme requirements for the Master of Teaching were developed to create links between dimensions of teacher development.
All elements of the programme were focused on assisting teacher candidates to develop a consistent professional framework for thinking and responding to teaching and learning in classrooms.

Conclusion

The description of the Master of Teaching programme offered at the University of Melbourne since 2009, demonstrates how this model can be used to inform the design and implementation of a professionally-oriented graduate teacher education programme.
Moreover, this model has the potential to improve the integration between the academic and school-based teaching experiences and thereby to increase teacher candidates' capacity to think and to act like a teacher.

Updated: Jun. 13, 2011
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