Aligning school reform and teacher education reform in the middle years: An Australian case study
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This paper discusses the development of a new Bachelor of Education (Middle Years of Schooling) at The University of Queensland. The middle years of schooling have increasingly been the focus of education reform initiatives in Australia, but this has not been accompanied by significant increases in the number of teacher education institutions offering specialised middle schooling-level teacher preparation programmes. Considering the rapidly changing social and economic context and the emergent state of middle schooling in Australia, the programme represented a conceptual and practical opportunity and challenge for The University of Queensland team. Working collaboratively, the team sought to design a teacher education preservice programme that was both responsive and generative: that is, responsive to local school contexts and to current educational research and reform at national and international levels; and generative of cutting-edge theories and practices associated with middle schooling, teachers' work, and teacher education. This paper focuses on one component of the Middle Years of Schooling Teacher Education programme at The University of Queensland; namely, the practicum. We first present the underlying principles of the practicum programme and then examine "dilemmas" that emerged early in the practicum. These issues and tensions were associated with the ideals of "middle years" philosophy and the pragmatics of school reform associated with that new approach. In this paper, and within this context, we explore what it means to be both responsive and generative, and describe how we as teacher educators negotiated between the extremes these terms implied.
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