Eyes Wide Open: Preservice Teachers' Reflection Upon the Culture and Context of Schools

By Janette Long, Wendy Moran, Joanne Harris and Sophie Ryan.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper reports on a primary preservice teacher education program that operates in partnership between schools and a university, where student teachers are immersed in whole school contexts, rather than single classrooms, to observe and reflect upon teaching and learning practice. Student teachers are required to work across classes and various school contexts, plus shadow and interview a variety of school personnel. This is structured to enable a deeper and broader understanding of the operation of the school and its more subtle influences of power and control. In small collaborative groups students then analyse, critique and connect the practice observed and experienced with theoretical knowledge of what constitutes ‘best practice’. Major goals of the program are for students to identify teaching models and strategies that work best in the context of classrooms and to explore the more difficult to articulate practices that shape the culture and climate of the school.

Keywords: Preservice Teacher Education, School and University Partnerships, Linking Theory with Practice, Culture and Contexts of Schools

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.171-178. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 524.865KB).

Dr. Janette Long

Assistant Head of School and Senior Lecturer in Education, Faculty of Education, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr Janette Long is Senior Lecturer in Education at the Australian Catholic University, Strathfield and contributes to both primary and secondary teacher education courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her research interests include professional development and learning, supervision, the practicum, mentoring, teachers’ professional knowledge, diversity in the classroom, curriculum, assessment and evaluation issues.

Dr. Wendy Moran

Lecturer in Education, Education, Australian Catholic University, NSW, Australia

Wendy Moran has been a lecturer in the School of Education at the Australian Catholic University for just over thirteen years. Her main areas of teaching are Curriculum Design, Teaching Methods, Classroom Management and Primary Music Education. Prior to 2007 Wendy had been Primary Field Experience Coordinator and is currently concentrating on her Doctoral Studies which focus on the nature of caring teachers in the secondary classroom. Wendy’s research areas are University – School Partnerships, Professional Experience programs and Teacher Efficacy.

Joanne Harris

Lecturer in Education, Education, Australian Catholic University, NSW, Australia

Joanne Harris has been a lecturer in the School of Education at Australian Catholic University for ten years. Her curriculum area is Music Education and other teaching areas include Professional Skills, Classroom Management and the Teaching and Learning Consortium. In addition, she coordinates the Professional Experience for students in the Bachelor of Education (Primary). Prior to her work at ACU Joanne worked in secondary schools in Sydney and London teaching Music, managing Music departments and various executive positions. Joanne is in the final stages of her PhD which explores strategies for enhancing access to higher education for young people from low socio-economic backgrounds. Her research interests include aspects of equity in education, teacher professional development and school-university partnerships.

Sophie Ryan

Teaching and Learning Consultant, Parramatta Catholic Education Office, Parramatta, NSW, Australia

Sophie Ryan was principal of a number of Catholic primary schools in the Parramatta Diocese. She has been president of the Primary Principals' Association and a member of the Parramatta Diocesan Schools' Board and was Commissioner of the Catholic Education Commission, NSW for six years where she represented primary principals. In 2001 Sophie studied effective principal leadership in the USA and the UK. In 2002 Sophie was appointed to her current position of Area Administrator of a cluster of secondary and primary schools in the Diocese of Parramatta.

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