New manifestations of the practice-theory dilemma – consequences of ‘the practice turn’ in teacher education

Abstract: This thesis comprises four studies that concern the specific part of practicum  within teacher education, its relation to the university-based components and how new organizational ideas entail different consequences for student teachers’ opportunities for learning the profession. The overall purpose is to analyze policies related to learning in practice and shed light on what implications are involved when reorganizing Swedish teacher education within the ‘practice turn’. More explicitly, the purpose is to illuminate two manifestations of a more practice-based teacher education – paired practicum within specific practice schools and work-integrated teacher education, where student-teachers are employed as teachers while attending courses at university. Two concepts of knowledge are used as the main theoretical framework; spectator knowledge and participant knowledge, and the concept of boundary crossing and enfolded learning mechanisms.  The data are extracted from policy documents regarding the two latest teacher education reforms in 2001 and 2009, as well as from interviews with different parties pertaining within the above two manifestations of the practice turn. Study I concerns whether there are signs of a practice turn in national policy regarding teacher education and how this is addressed in local policy. The study focuses on what is expressed regarding the opportunities student teachers are provided with in order to learn the profession of teaching. Study II explores how pre-school student teachers perceive their opportunities for learning within paired practicum at specific practice schools. Study III also addresses paired practicum within specific practice schools, but data is collected from mentors within upper secondary school regarding their perception of this way of organizing practice. Finally, Study IV concerns a work-integrated teacher education programme and how teacher educators perceive students´ opportunities for learning when they move between the contexts of work and university.  The results mainly show that there is an ambivalence concerning what should be given the most value regarding student teachers´ opportunities for learning. Findings also show that the manifestations of ‘the practice turn’ imply a shifting of positions for student-teachers as well as mentors and university teachers. The four studies also identify that the organizational structures of practice have implications for what opportunities for learning students are provided with. Thus, structural changes regarding practice within teacher education enfold that adequate curriculum changes are needed. Furthermore, changes at an organizational level at university, at the connected specific practice schools, and in the workplaces where work-integrated student-teachers are employed are needed. 

  This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.