Identifying a pedagogy of initial teacher education (ITE): issues and ambiguities

Field, Sue (2015) Identifying a pedagogy of initial teacher education (ITE): issues and ambiguities. Ed.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


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The topic of this thesis is initial teacher education (ITE) pedagogy, exploring the nature of teaching and learning about teaching (or ‘meta-teaching’), and how teacher educators in English universities translate this into practice. Its purpose was to gain an appreciation of teacher educators’ pedagogical practice beyond their first three years in the role: not just how, but why they teach student teachers in a particular way, and to observe what this looks like in practice.

A collective case study approach was taken, involving four participants working in four geographically distanced universities. The methods consisted of a semi-structured interview, videoed observation of a teaching session, and a stimulated recall interview which was led by the participant whilst co-viewing the video. Analysis of the data revealed that, whilst the meta-pedagogical practice appeared to have individual drivers for each of the participants, there could be potential inhibitors to developing a distinct pedagogy of ITE which are inherent in the teacher educators’ experience and practical wisdom accumulated as school teachers. These may hinder teacher educators’ engagement with a theoretically underpinned knowledge base for their pedagogical practice.

The similarities and differences in meta-pedagogical practice were explored using Bourdieusian concepts of developing habitus in the new field, leading to expanding cultural capital. It is argued that distinct drivers for the participants’ respective practices impacted upon the development of first to second order habitus. A continued focus on (curriculum) subject knowledge or on passing on the craft knowledge of (school) teaching was shown to be located in first order practice, whereas a focus on developing meta-pedagogical understandings allowed for an expanding habitus, and thus to the potential for increased cultural capital – both for themselves as individuals, and for the occupational group of teacher educators. Whilst a deep-seated sense of teacher professional identity may help to bridge the two (sub-)fields, it appeared that an accepted body of knowledge based on theoretical underpinnings could distinguish this group and enhance their cultural capital. In light of this, the role of episteme and phronesis were explored as enablers of the development of a shared meta-pedagogy.

By illuminating current meta-pedagogical understandings and practice, the study aims to feed into a wider debate on teaching and learning to teach, at a time when ITE in England is in a state of flux and the future of university-based programmes – as well as university involvement in school-based programmes – is under threat. It is argued that, not only would it be possible to accelerate the process of teacher educators developing their meta-pedagogical practice through exploration of the theoretical perspectives, but that this has the potential to underline and reinforce the distinction between university- and school-led ITE in uncertain times.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education and training of teachers and administrators
Divisions: Faculty of Education
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2015 14:15
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2016 09:23

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00