Publication Details

Turbill, J. B. & Kervin, L. K. (2007). Developing a professional identity: first year preservice teachers inschool experience project. In J. Kiggins, L. K. Kervin & J. Mantei (Eds.), Quality in Teacher Education: Considering different perspectives and agendas (pp. 1-9). Wollongong: Australian Teacher Education Association.


It has long been recognised that the process of ‘becoming a teacher’ is complex. The aim of any teacher education program therefore should be to provide ‘high quality learning’ (Killen 2005) that entails both theoretical and practical components. These components need to be clearly linked for as Cole and Knowles (2000) claim there is an unmistaken gap between what teachers are taught in pre-service teacher training and what they are expected to do at the ‘chalk-face’ in the beginning of their professional experience. In response to this obvious challenge current reviews of, and research into, teacher education, have paid particular attention to issues concerning the practical component, commonly known as ‘the practicum’ (Ramsey 2000, Perry and Allard 2003, Vick 2006). However the traditional ‘practicum’ where preservice students are ‘supervised’ by classroom teachers seems to be insufficient in responding to challenges raised. This paper explores how the Faculty of Education in the University of Wollongong attempted to change the traditional ‘practicum’ by setting up ‘inschool experiences’ for first year preservice teachers across their first session in their BEd program. These experiences activated the process of bridging the gap between theory and practice for the preservice teachers and most importantly led to the beginnings of preservice teachers developing a professional identity of what it means to ‘be a teacher’.

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