Balancing the technical and intellectual: Practice-based teacher education, core practices, and pedagogical judgment with novice literacy teachers
Lantos, Tess A
As practice-based teacher education (PBTE) has become more prevalent, debates about its effectiveness have emerged. One side emphasizes the utility of core practices while another suggests that core practices are contrary to equity. This study was motivated by an interest in understanding whether and in what ways practice-based teaching can balance these commitments. I argue that learning to teach is a process of learning to enact practices that, while dynamic and contextually contingent, are not so unique as to resist description or commonality. As a result, it makes sense to focus practice-based teaching on efforts to support novices' abilities to implement and adapt core practices in ways that align with the needs of their students, their own beliefs, and their growing experience in the classroom, rather than on efforts to master any list of behaviors. Using video data from an elementary literacy methods course and aligned practicum teaching placements, I focus on the instructional interruptions that occur during rehearsal, a particular PBTE pedagogy. I pay particular attention to how these interactions support literacy learning as the core practices tend to be framed in a discipline neutral way. Findings reveal that instructional interruptions allow participants to highlight important questions, tensions, and trade-offs involved in effective instruction. Over time, we spent more time engaged in this kind of interrogation rather than simply implementing the lesson. This shift helps demonstrate what and how NTs were learning. Our conversations included a variety of topics, but the most significant was the amount of time devoted to the content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge needed to implement core practices within specific literacy lessons. These are often overlooked in discussions of core practices. Additionally, I found that NTs implemented instructional techniques that were discussed and enacted during rehearsals within their classroom teaching. This work leads to better understanding of the ways that clinical rehearsals function, and subsequently, how the instructional interruptions support NTs' ability to think critically about their practice in order to support the development of pedagogical judgment.