Linking Theory and Practice Through Partnerships
This chapter reports on the important role of establishing partnerships between universities and primary schools to provide the opportunities for school-based teaching that engages pre-service primary teachers in an authentic experience of science classroom teaching and learning. It is argued that partnerships present a mechanism through which teacher educators can best enact praxis—the linking of theory and practice, in their science teacher education courses. Evidence from the STEPS project is drawn upon to demonstrate ways in which partnerships between universities and schools provide an authentic basis for pre-service teachers, teachers, and teacher educators to explore the application of theoretical ideas that underpin effective science teaching practice. Examples of partnership practice illustrate ways in which partnerships enable the successful application of pedagogical content knowledge through pre-service teachers’ planning, implementing and assessment of a learning sequence in science, and reflecting on their teaching. The important role of establishing partnerships between universities and primary schools to provide this school-based teaching and learning opportunity is acknowledged. Moreover, the essential role of the science teacher educator is recognized, as it is the teacher educator who provides active leadership for the effective connection between theory and practice that ultimately builds pre-service teacher confidence and competency to teach science. These elements of linking theory and practice through partnerships culminate in the chapter’s conclusion where the Interpretive Framework model is introduced, to aid thinking and planning around how universities and schools can work together in effective partnerships.
KeywordsPartnerships Theory–practice nexus Interpretive Framework School-based Teacher educator Pedagogical content knowledge Communities of practice Pre-service teachers
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