University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 9882-9885
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0870
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Field experience is an essential part of initial teacher training, and it offers student teachers a privileged context to connect theory and practice, and to articulate academic knowledge and practical, professional knowledge. However, linking these two kinds of knowledge is not easy, as both experience and research show (Clarà & Mauri, 2010; Korthagen, 2001). The well-known “practice shock” or “washed out” phenomena illustrate this difficulty. So, the way is which field experience designed, supervised and assessed is important in order to actually promote connection between theory and practice, and articulation between academic and practical knowledge.

Collaboration between schools and universities, and particularly between mentor teachers and university tutors, is a key factor to this extent (Mauri, Colomina, Onrubia, Clarà, & Sayós, 2015). Articulating academic and practical knowledge would be very difficult for the student if mentor teachers and university tutors maintain and apply different ideas about how theory and practice relate. So, a certain set of shared criteria on the issue should be constructed between mentor teachers and university tutors (Pareja Roblin, & Margalef, 2013). And the assessment of the student teachers seems to be a core topic on which this differences can emerge, and on which this shared criteria should be constructed (Mtika, Robson, & Fitzpatrick, 2014; Zeichner, 2010).

From this framework, we have designed and developed an innovative intervention aimed to carry on a collaborative approach to the assessment of student teachers’ field experience between mentor teachers and university tutors. In this intervention, assessment is focused on the student teachers’ reflection on practice (Gelfuso & Dennis, 2014) all along their field experience period, the practical knowledge that the students use when reflecting, and how academic knowledge informs students’ reflection. Mentor teachers and university tutors meet periodically in order to jointly elaborate and share assessment criteria, and both of them conduct joint sessions of dialogic feedback with the student based on these criteria.

The intervention has been designed as a design-based research, and it is being developed in three schools, involving 18 student teachers from different field experience periods, 11 mentor teachers, and 4 university tutors. Different instruments of data gathering are being used: recording the teachers/tutors meetings, recording the teachers/tutors/students sessions, and in-depth interviews with the different participants at different moments of the process.

Provisional analysis of the gathered data show three main results:
(i) mentor teachers and university tutors do improve collaboration and do advance in the construction of common criteria focused on the student teachers’ reflection on practice, the practical knowledge that the student uses when reflecting, and how academic knowledge informs student’s reflection;
(ii) the different participants (teachers, tutors, students) are highly satisfied with the designed and developed intervention;
(iii) the intervention opens questions on other aspects of the design and development of the students’ field experience, beyond assessment issues, that are worth revising from the same collaborative, reflection-focused, perspective.
Initial teacher training, field experience, reflection on practice, school-university collaboration.