When things don’t go exactly as planned: Leveraging from student teachers’ insights to adapted interventions and professional practice


Articles de colloque

Publication status: 
2005, avril
Proceedings title: 
15e congrès de l'International Commission on Mathematical Instruction
Aguas De Lindoia, Brésil
Page range: 
We are all familiar with the difficulties encountered by preservice teachers during their first teaching experiences. They often have difficulty identifying the valuable components of a successful learning situation or evaluating the efficacy of their classroom activities. How could preservice teachers be supported in their transition from university to the classroom? How could we engage in joint thinking on the relationship between student knowledge and preservice teacher knowledge? In that connection, research on the selection and planning of classroom activities has highlighted the importance of conceptions with respect to mathematics (Jaworski, 1994; Ernest, 1989), learning and teaching (Britzman, 1991), initial learning experiences (Jonston, 1990; Civil, 1993), previous instruction concerning the development of pupils’ thinking (Fenema & al., 1996). In addition to the new reality of a class, student teachers face several constraints (VaccNesbitt & Bright, 1999; Wideen & al. , 1998). In the theoretical framework surrounding situated cognition (Brown & al., 1989), the concept of meaning provides a useful basis for devising answers to these questions. It accounts for preservice teachers’ experiences when they were pupils, university students, and student teachers in a school. For example, previews studies of the meanings ascribed by primary school preservice teachers to the notion of problem-solving and to the errors produced by pupils have shown how discussions on the use of a teaching material can be quite meaningful, for they appear to prompt preservice teachers from pupil position to student teacher position when they recognize not only the diversity of pupils’ representations, but also the necessity of pupil activity (DeBlois & Vézina, 2001). Furthermore, preservice teachers opting for an classroom activities based on an active questioning model and who were asked to plan an intervention based on pupils’ errors were shown to focus on the pupil-knowledge relationship, thus a student teacher position (DeBlois & Squalli, 2002). Our objective is therefore to provide a particular form of support to preservice teachers at the time of their practicum. This research project thus seeks to answer the following questions: What is the role of experience in initial teacher training? How do preservice teachers learn their teaching practices? What practices are crucial to initial teacher training?
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