University of Regina (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Page: 3272 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
As a mathematics teacher educator and faculty advisor in an undergraduate teacher education program, one of my greatest challenges is mentoring pre-service teachers during their field experience as they negotiate theory-practice transitions from university courses to school classrooms. While there has been valuable research to date on the nature of the theory-practice transitions required for pre-service teachers, the specific areas of teacher education field experiences and faculty supervision models are still relatively under-explored in the research literature.

The research described in this paper asks several key questions to critique and reconceptualize secondary mathematics teacher education and associated field experiences. The research objectives focus on challenging the traditional images of mathematics teacher education programs as places to 'train' and 'prepare' mathematics teachers, proposing instead spaces for a critical and reflexive exploration of teacher identity and agency. Specifically, this paper describes a multi-dimensional model for the internship (four-month field) experience that strengthens theory-practice transitions in secondary mathematics teacher education.

The research studied the implementation of an experimental (case-study) internship model for secondary mathematics teacher education field experience. This model included the integration of a co-mentorship learning community model, an enhanced lesson study approach to professional development, and a digital ‘e-advisor’ component to intern supervision. The experimental internship model required three (3) case study prospective and cooperating teachers to keep a self-study logbook, to engage in lesson study experiences, to video-tape mathematics lessons, to participate in an online learning community and to meet 4 times (one day each) during the 4-month internship semester for interviews and reflective focus groups, as well as professional development activities. In this paper and presentation, results of the first two years of this case study will be reported on, including reflections from cooperating teachers who are committed to the goals of a new internship model and to embarking on new directions for enhanced university-school partnerships.

Reconceptualizing mathematics teacher education through critical and reflexive approaches means rethinking the dominant conceptual framework for questions of how, why, and what could be in teacher education. This research study challenges and disrupts traditional discourses of teacher education field experience, tracing the intersections of identity, agency and reflexivity in mathematics teacher education using Bourdieu’s sociological theory. This research program does not seek comfortable narratives in the form of essentializing ‘good teacher’ techniques but, instead, it embraces new pedagogies of teacher education that rely on critique as a way to unsettle taken for granted techniques and practices, with a view to identifying themes and critical incidents in pedagogical innovation and transformation.
Teacher education, field experience, internship, video, lesson study, identity, agency, Bourdieu.