The stories of the practicum experiences of the fictional yet authentic preservice teachers provide honest and trustworthy examples of the confusing and unpredictable nature of everyday teaching practice. There is no certainty in a democratic learning environment, but what is exposed is the need for teacher education to reflect on, harness and learn from the complexities of the practicum. With little evidence in the literature that supported the secondary practicum and much anecdote that doubted its effectiveness, I was tempted before this study to suggest that we replace the directionless and time consuming ‘institution’ with more worthwhile culminating experiences. I realise now that I too missed the point. The practicum sits within a very full and demanding teacher education course structure and on the periphery of a complex and only partially understood education system. What are needed are changes in attitudes and ways of conducting the practicum relationships that are possible through agreed and explicit practicum learning principles. By probing and interrogating the stories based on these new tentative theories of the practicum process, teacher educators and preservice teachers can together uncover the issues, interruptions and inconsistencies that have previously worked to disempower the neophyte teachers. With a refined sense of teacher identity and an awareness of the role of context, culture and the socio-political dimensions of learning to teach during the practicum, the preservice teachers, supported by their teacher educators and enabled by their school based mentors, will begin to understand why the hoops spin as they do and take pleasure in spinning them anew.
|Date of Award||2006|
|Supervisor||Ian Falk (Supervisor)|