Can student teachers’ pedagogy be enhanced by heeding children’s thoughts about their learning?
AuthorsHudson, Kate Joanne
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AbstractThe focus of this enquiry was to enable student teachers to engage with children’s views to construct meaningful classroom learning experiences. The underpinning assumption was that learning is socially constructed. Issues addressed were: what pupils thought helped/hindered their learning in classrooms, how heeding children’s views of barriers to/facilitators of their learning can be used by student teachers for lesson evaluation, planning and reflective practice, to what extent children’s views can support student teachers’ understanding of children’s learning and the development of their pedagogical practices (this includes both curriculum planning and teaching), the development and learning of initial teacher education students as student teachers engaged in reflective practice. The research comprises two case studies; pilot and subsequent larger-scale project. It incorporated action research designed as iterative spirals of research, evaluation and development in classrooms where the student teachers were teaching children. New learning accumulated in one cycle was intended to be taken into the next. Bespoke pedagogical tools were used to create dialogic spaces and also as research data collection techniques. They scaffolded inter and intra- personal exchanges to enable student teachers to understand children’s learning from a socio-cultural perspective. These tools mediated children’s reflection on their learning and then feedback to the student teacher about what they had learnt; how they had learnt it and what would enable them to learn better. The results indicated: enhanced student teachers’ understanding of how children learn as they adapted their practice in response to children’s views, enhanced learning by the children owing to their exchanges on the interpersonal plane, with peers in the dialogic space created by the bespoke pedagogical tools, mentors require development to support student teachers to engage meaningfully with children’s learning. Outcomes cannot easily be generalised from case studies. This study found: children can express learning needs when appropriate scaffolds enable them to articulate abstract concepts, when student teachers respond to children talking about learning they can develop their practice.Implications for Initial Teacher Education are that it should: highlight the importance of children’s voice to support student teachers in developing their pedagogy, model ways in which teachers can create dialogic spaces for children’s interthinking, consider what development mentors require to support student teachers’ understanding of children’s learning in classrooms. Mediating the construction of dialogue with the Thinking Fish provided a way into both the process of interthinking for children, and also student teachers’ understanding of such interthinking as expressed through their dialogue in the focus groups. Thus the Thinking Fish may be considered to be the vicarious presence of the teacher. This may be a useful approach for teachers and student teachers to adopt as the experience for the participants in this study was meaningful and replicable in future practice, using real classroom activity as research data.
CitationHudson, K. (2015) 'Can student teachers’ pedagogy be enhanced by heeding children’s thoughts about their learning?'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Professional Doctorate of Education
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