News Update on teaching practice : Feb 2022

Teaching Practice: A Cross-Professional Perspective

This study investigates how people are prepared for professional practice in the clergy, teaching, and clinical psychology. The work is located within research on professional education, and research on the teaching and learning of practice.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study
The purpose of the study is to develop a framework to describe and analyze the teaching of practice in professional education programs, specifically preparation for relational practices.

The research took place in eight professional education programs located in seminaries, schools of professional psychology, and universities across the country.

Our research participants include faculty members, students, and administrators at each of these eight programs.

Research Design
This research is a comparative case study of professional education across three different professions—the clergy, clinical psychology, and teaching. Our data include qualitative case studies of eight preparation programs: two teacher education programs, three seminaries, and three clinical psychology programs.

Data Collection and Analysis
For each institution, we conducted site visits that included interviews with administrators, faculty, and staff; observations of multiple classes and field-work; and focus groups with students who were either at the midpoint or at the end of their programs.

We have identified three key concepts for understanding the pedagogies of practice in professional education: representations, decomposition, and approximations of practice. Representations of practice comprise the different ways that practice is represented in professional education and what these various representations make visible to novices. Decomposition of practice involves breaking down practice into its constituent parts for the purposes of teaching and learning. Approximations of practice refer to opportunities to engage in practices that are more or less proximal to the practices of a profession. In this article, we define and provide examples of the representation, decomposition, and approximation of practice from our study of professional education in the clergy, clinical psychology, and teaching. We conclude that, in the program we studied, prospective teachers have fewer opportunities to engage in approximations that focus on contingent, interactive practice than do novices in the other two professions we studied.[1]

Significant and Worthwhile Change in Teaching Practice

This paper addresses two questions: What is involved in bringing about significant and worthwhile change in teaching practices? How can or should research aid in this process? In order to do so, two related literatures will be explored—teacher change and learning to teach. These literatures will be used to develop a third perspective, which will be grounded in examples from a teacher change research project which is funded by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education. This perspective suggests that empirical premises derived from research (Fenstermacher, 1986) be considered as warranted practice, which, in combination with teachers’s practical knowledge, become the content of reflective teacher change. It also suggests that practice should be viewed as activity embedded in theory. The paper concludes with suggestions for ways of approaching the introduction of research into teachers’ ways of thinking.[2]

Evaluating teaching practice

The evaluation of observed lessons has been the subject of much debate in the field of teacher training. Teacher trainers have tried to define quality in relation to teaching and to find ways to measure it in a reliable way. Can we evaluate the quality of teaching by observable behaviour and measurable components, in which case, can the lesson be assessed analytically by the use of discrete criteria? Or, does a lesson constitute an entity, which cannot be broken into discrete components so that it has to be assessed impressionistically? We believe that in order to construct a more comprehensive view of the issue, it is pertinent to collaborate with our trainees and provide some space for their voices. Evidence from a small-scale practitioner-based research project reveals that trainees need explicit criteria for effective teaching in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses and use them as guidelines for improvement.[3]

Transforming Teaching Practice: Becoming the critically reflective teacher

This article proposes a framework for conceptualizing developing as a critically reflective teacher. The author posits that critical reflection is the distinguishing attribute of reflective practitioners. The term critical reflection as developed here merges critical inquiry, the conscious consideration of the ethical implications and consequences of teaching practice, with self-reflection, deep examination of personal beliefs, and assumptions about human potential and learning. Essential practices for developing critical reflection are discussed. This article defines processes fundamental to reflective practice. Teacher beliefs are self-generating, and often unchallenged. Unless teachers develop the practice of critical reflection, they stay trapped in unexamined judgments, interpretations, assumptions, and expectations. Approaching teaching as a reflective practitioner involves infusing personal beliefs and values into a professional identity, resulting in developing a deliberate code of conduct.[4]

Student‐teachers’ concerns about teaching

The essence of helping student‐teachers lies in an exploration of their concerns about teaching. Based on this assumption, the current study aimed to explore student‐teachers’ concerns and potential topics of reflection, following their teaching experiences. The analysis of fifty‐nine journals revealed the complex pattern of past and future‐oriented concerns relevant to students’ personal and professional identity, the mission and fading of the teaching profession, and the emotional dimensions of teaching. This paper contributes to the ongoing discussion about developing growth‐producing experiences for student‐teachers through their teaching practice.[5]


[1] Grossman, P., Compton, C., Igra, D., Ronfeldt, M., Shahan, E. and Williamson, P.W., 2009. Teaching practice: A cross-professional perspective. Teachers college record, 111(9), pp.2055-2100.

[2] Richardson, V., 1990. Significant and worthwhile change in teaching practice. Educational researcher, 19(7), pp.10-18.

[3] Leshem, S. and Bar-Hama, R., 2008. Evaluating teaching practice. ELT journal, 62(3), pp.257-265.

[4] Larrivee, B., 2000. Transforming teaching practice: Becoming the critically reflective teacher. Reflective practice, 1(3), pp.293-307.

[5] Poulou, M., 2007. Student‐teachers’ concerns about teaching practice. European Journal of Teacher Education, 30(1), pp.91-110.

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