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Educating Student Teachers to Teach in a Constructivist Way - Can it all be done?

Abstract

"Our challenge as teacher educators and researchers was to design a teacher education program module that centered on an ambitious constructivist teaching model. How could such a program be designed that stirred vision, motivation, and inquiry on classroom, self, and the aims of education, that furnished considerable disciplinary and design knowledge and management skills, and that hatched professional community? The project experimented with three different versions over three years. In the first year, the program generated a great deal of inspired pioneering; but technical skill and keen observation was submerged at times in ideological commitment, and understanding of the model was truncated. In the second year, the program placed great emphasis on the mastery of the model aiming at clinical tryouts. Unfortunately, this format sapped the novices' inspiration by over-burdening them with abstract theory and fixed pedagogical forms, thus disconnecting the model from the philosophical and moral reasons of teaching it. In the third year, the program concentrated on practical inquiry and careful bottom-up reflection to develop classroom community. Novices maintained their vision and motivation for the constructivist model, left the project with 'reflective prompts,' but missed fundamental design competencies. Thus, none of the program iterations stands out as a shining example of success, but together they demonstrate the indispensability of all the components."

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