Advertisement

Enhancing the Capabilities of Associate Teachers in the Practicum: A New Zealand Case Study

  • Alison Sewell
  • Sally Hansen
  • Kama Weir
Article

Abstract

The practicum is critically important in initial teacher education. Yet too often, student-teachers are placed in schools where the associate teacher does not understand the mentoring component of their supervisory role. This study explores the impact of a school-university project on the associate teachers’ mentoring in the practicum and in their leadership roles in the school. A qualitative case study approach was used to investigate these impacts. Data were collected using focus group discussions. Evidence of the impact of the pilot project include: (i) more explicit modelling of and reflection on pedagogical practices, (ii) enhanced relationships with student-teachers, (iii) increased professional learning for wider school roles and (iv) closer university and school relationships. Arguments are proposed that justify these positive findings and recommendations discussed for the design of programmes to enhance mentoring in the practicum that promote student-teachers’ professional learning.

Keywords

Initial teacher education Professional learning Associate teachers Mentoring 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the ATs and senior school leaders for their willingness to talk about their learning and mentoring practice changes having participated in the LAT pilot project. We would also like to express our gratitude to Mr Allister Smith, former Principal, for his guidance and oversight of the project in his role as University School Liaison Coordinator. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the funding provided by the University Strategic Innovation Initiative.

References

  1. Akkerman, S., & Bakker, A. (2011). Boundary crossing and boundary objects. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 132–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Awaya, A., McEwan, H., Heyler, D., Linsky, S., Lum, D., & Wakukawa, P. (2003). Mentoring as a journey. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19(1), 45–56. doi: 10.1016/S0742-051X(02)00093-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beck, C., & Kosnik, C. (2002). Components of a good practicum placement. Teacher Education Quarterly, 29(2), 81–98.Google Scholar
  4. Clarke, A. (2007). Turning the professional development of cooperating teachers on its head: Relocating that responsibility within the profession. Educational Insights, 11(3), 1–10. Retrieved from http://www.ccfi.educ.ubc.ca/publication/insights.
  5. Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Constructing 21st century teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 57, 1–15. doi: 10.1177/0022487105285962.Google Scholar
  6. Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). Teacher education and the American future. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1–2), 35–47. doi: 10.1177/0022487109348024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Darling-Hammond, L., & Baratz-Snowden, J. (2007). A good teacher in every classroom: Preparing the high quality teachers or children deserve. Educational Horizons, 85, 122–132.Google Scholar
  8. Dever, M. T., Hager, K. D., & Klein, K. (2003). Building the university/public school partnership: A workshop for mentor teachers. The Teacher Educator, 38(4), 245–255. doi: 10.1080/08878730309555321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Feiman-Nemser, S. (2001). From preparation to practice: Designing a continuum to strengthen and sustain teaching. Teachers College Record, 103, 1013–1015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Grudnoff, L. (2011). Rethinking the practicum: Limitations and possibilities. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(3), 223–234. doi: 10.1080/1359866X.2011.588308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grudnoff, L., & Williams, R. (2010). Pushing boundaries: Reworking university- school practicum relationships. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 45(2), 33–45.Google Scholar
  12. Haggar, H., & McIntyre, D. (2006). Learning teaching from teachers: Realising the potential of school-based teacher education. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Haigh, M., & Ward, G. (2004). Problematising practicum relationships: Questioning the ‘taken-for-granted’. Australian Journal of Education, 48, 134–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hoben, N. (2006). Real teachers, real classrooms and real experiences: The work of associates with pre-service teachers on practicum. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). The University of Auckland, New Zealand.Google Scholar
  15. Hobson, A. J. (2002). Student teachers’ perceptions of school-based mentoring in initial teacher training (ITT). Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 10(1), 5–20. doi: 10.1080/13611260220133117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hudson, P. (2013). Strategies for mentoring pedagogical knowledge. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and practice, 19(4), 363–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Keogh, J. E., Dole, S. L., & Hudson, E. (2006). Supervisor or mentor? Questioning the quality of pre-service teacher practicum experiences. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education [AARE] 2006 International Education Research Conference (pp. 1–15).Google Scholar
  18. Kessler, C., & Wong, C. (2008). Growing our own: A learning community partnership between university and a public middle school. In A. Samaras, A. Freese, C. Kosnik, & C. Beck (Eds.), Learning communities in practice (pp. 59–72). Amsterdam: Springer.Google Scholar
  19. Le Cornu, R., & Ewing, R. (2008). Reconceptualising professional experiences in pre-service teacher education…reconstructing the past to embrace the future. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(7), 1799–1812. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2008.02.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mason, K. O. (2013). Teacher involvement in pre-service teacher education. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 19(5), 559–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McDonald, L. (2004). Effective mentoring of student teachers: Attitudes, characteristics and practices of successful associate teachers within a New Zealand context. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, 1(2), 85–94.Google Scholar
  22. McDonald, M., Kazemi, E., & Kavanagh, S. (2013). Core practices and pedagogies of teacher education: A call for a common language and collective activity. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(5), 378–386. doi: 10.1177/0022487113493807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media.Google Scholar
  24. O’Neill, J. (2013). Is initial teacher education a profession? Waikato Journal of Education, 18(1), 21–22. doi: 10.15663/wje.v18i1.134.Google Scholar
  25. O’Neill, J., Hansen, S., Rawlins, P., & Donaldson, J. (2013). Editorial introduction: Reclaiming and reframing a national voice for teacher education Special Edition: Reclaiming and reframing teacher education in Aotearoa New Zealand. Waikato Journal of Education, 18(1), 3–6.Google Scholar
  26. Pungur, L. (2007). Mentoring as the key to a successful student teaching practicum: A comparative analysis. In T. Townsend & R. Bates (Eds.), Handbook of Teacher Education (pp. 267–282). Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rogoff, B. (2003). The cultural nature of human development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Sewell, A. M., St, George A., & Cullen, J. (2013). The distinctive features of joint participation in a community of learners. Teaching and Teacher Education, 31, 46–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sim, C. (2010). Sustaining productive collaboration between faculties and schools. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 35(5), 18–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sim, C. (2011). ‘You’ve either got [it] or you haven’t’—conflicted supervision of preservice teachers. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(2), 139–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith, K., & Lev-Ari, L. (2005). The place of the practicum in pre-service teacher education: The voice of the students. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 33(3), 289–302. doi: 10.1080/13598660500286333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Timperley, H. (2001). Mentoring conversations designed to promote student teacher learning. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 29(2), 111–123. doi: 10.1080/13598660120061309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Timperley, H. (2011). Realizing the power of professional learning. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Timperley, H. (2013). Learning to practice. A paper for discussion. Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  35. Ulvik, M., & Smith, K. (2011). What characterises a good practicum in teacher education? Education Inquiry, 2(3), 517–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Williams, J. (2014). Teacher educator professional learning in the third space: Implications for identity and practice. Journal of Teacher Education, 65(4), 315–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wong, A. F., & Chuan, G. K. (2002). The practicum in teacher training: A preliminary and qualitative assessment of the improved National Institute of Education-School Partnership Model in Singapore. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 30(2), 197–206. doi: 10.1080/13598660220135694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Education Council Guidelines for induction and Mentoring and Mentor Teachers, retrieved from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Guidelines.
  39. Yip, H. (2003). Mentoring student-teacher case studies [Electronic version]. Early Child Development and Care, 173, 33–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zeichner, K. (1995). Designing educative practicum experiences for prospective teachers. In R. Hoz & M. Silberstein (Eds.), Partnerships of schools and institutes of higher education in teacher development. Beer-sheba: Ben Gurion University of Negev Press.Google Scholar
  41. Zeichner, K. (2010). Rethinking the connections between campus courses and field experiences in college-and university-based teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1–2), 89–99. doi: 10.1177/0022487109347671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© New Zealand Association for Research in Education 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of EducationMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations