Design Research Methodology for Teacher Educators’ Learning and Curriculum Innovation
Student teachers are often critical of their initial teaching education. Most of this criticism is directed at the weak links between what is taught in theory and what happens in practice. Some aspects of this situation are inevitable, as the context of teaching is constantly changing. Nevertheless, student teachers and their supervisors can lose their belief in theory when the application of a learned pedagogy in a ‘live’ school situation differs from that which they were taught. The aim of this study is to design activities for bridging the theory-practice gap in teacher education curricula to better support teachers and their educators’ professional practice and learning. The study focuses on the learning of student teacher supervisors. A design research method was used, in which university teacher and supervisors from one Tallinn University teacher education program (start date 2013/2014 academic year) took part. The design process of theory-practice bridging activities was described and qualitative data for teacher educator and supervisors learning was collected. This data was analyzed using indicators related to social learning and design thinking. A new course (practicum of subject didactics) was implemented as a result of the study. The results of the study indicate the ability of participants to see links between theory and practice as design issues. The learning of teacher educators can be better described as a meaning-making process. Learning as doing or as belonging or even as becoming was mentioned much less. Nevertheless, new learning activities were developed as very...
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