Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

The (Co-)Construction of Knowledge within Initial Teacher Training: Experiences from Croatia 1

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

The (Co-)Construction of Knowledge within Initial Teacher Training: Experiences from Croatia 1

Article excerpt

Starting points

The central thesis of our work rests on our view of teacher training as a strategy within which initial training is understood as a fundamental part of future professional development. Such a strategy implies the necessity of a paradigm shift in the institutional cultures of teacher-training colleges, as well as within the education system in general. We wish to emphasize that, in addition to planning and developing curricula for initial teacher training, these changes are all-encompassing in nature and also imply a different form of relationship between teachers and students: cooperative relationships based on two-way communication and reciprocity and grounded in the mutual learning of all participants. Therefore, all social actors within the community at large are involved in an established, research-oriented, developmental and mutual learning process that aims to develop one of the key competencies in modern education: the competency for lifelong learning. In other words, initial teacher training is but a part of one comprehensive system of professional development. Its task is to qualify and prepare teachers for the vocation they have selected, but also to prepare them for further professionalization and the process of continued personal growth that begins with initial training and ends with the final cessation of employment. In this manner, a vision of professional development is created that aims to train educators skilled in reflection and evaluation of the educational process, who are able to think critically and ensure the prerequisites for the development of each child (Vujicic & Miketek, 2014). In order to successfully adopt this new role, the modern educator is expected to be open to change, motivated for lifelong learning and researching their own practice, and to be able to develop a culture of dialogue and cooperation in order to achieve the best and most efficient professional development possible. Consequently, we hold that an education grounded in a social constructivist approach represents a significant step forward in preparing students for the complexity and unpredictability of practice (i.e. their future roles as teachers and self-reflective practitioners), as it involves processes of active learning, direct research and understanding through reflective practice (Rinaldi, 2006; Dalhberg & Moss, 2006).

We wish to emphasize that, apart from a different view of children, childhood and early education institutions, the social constructivist approach also assigns teachers a role that is significantly more complex and requires greater responsibility, while also presupposing a new mode of initial training, learning and professional development. We advocate a teacher-training model based on reflective practice (Schoen, 1990; Elliot, 1998, et al.), in which central importance is given to students as future teachers and professionals whose education is grounded in research. This model is rooted in a holistic paradigm and views educational as a social and dialogic process that unfolds through interaction, discussion and exchange (Bruner, 2000). Learning by doing and exploring together with other participants in the education process (other students, professors, teachers and practitioners) is in accordance with a social constructivist approach that, according to Beck and Kosnik (2006), implies a form of learning in which students are fully active and free to discover the purpose of the process themselves, thus participating in the construction of their knowledge and forming habits that mould them into lifelong learners. Zaclona (2007) holds that universities that train future teachers have the necessary role of creating situations and strengthening experiences that give students the chance to reflect upon themselves and their educational reality. In this sense, university programmes rooted in a social constructivist approach imply the training of students through action research, i. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.