Reflective education and school culture:
the socialization of student teachers
ANGEL PÉREZ GÓMEZ
There is little doubt that the complex and indeterminate interactions between theory and practice represent one of the more substantial problems in education. The true objective of all educational activity is to help to construct a sound framework of practical thinking that will help teachers to interpret reality clearly in a way which will enable them to cope with it. Since Schön pointed out the importance of practical thinking for teaching professionals, faced with complexities of teaching in a rapidly changing society, no one has doubted that to teach practical thinking requires much more than the sterile contents of an academic syllabus. There is now a great deal of evidence that mere rote learning of facts and theory is not enough. Even when facts have been thoroughly learned, they are soon forgotten and, more seriously, they do not necessarily help the student teacher to develop practical understanding (Feiman-Nemser and Buckmann 1989; Morine-Dershimer 1989; Segall 1997).
How do we prepare teachers to be ‘reflective practitioners’ so as to be able to cope with the problems of educating their students in a rapidly changing society? It is often assumed that the answer lies in creating stronger, more interactive links between higher education-based and school-based learning experiences. Yet, as this chapter demonstrates, changing the teacher training system into a form which sustains these links and a more interactive relation between theory and practice is beset with problems.
This chapter summarizes the conclusions of case studies of the practician of eight student teachers in eight different universities in Andalusia (Spain), aiming to identify and understand the development of their practical pedagogical knowledge and behaviour and the factors affecting their socialization