Reducing Fragmentation in University Pre-Service Teacher Education
Conditions and Strategies
Keywords:Teacher education, subject matter, didactics, boundary crossing, design principle
We report insights from a design research study in higher education that aims at overcoming pre-service teachers’ experiences of fragmentation in their educational programmes. The design approach started from the assumption that fragmentation could be reduced by initiating and conducting boundary crossing between practices in subject matter and subject matter didactics courses at university. Following this assumption, the design principle of boundary crossing by design(ing) for interlinking subject matter and subject matter didactics (domain-specific pedagogy) was implemented in two subjects in pre-service teacher education at university, one in mathematics and one in English language teaching. The linking between subject matter and subject matter didactics we strive for is two-fold: On the one hand, it requires curricular and organisational dovetailing of the courses involved (boundary crossing by design); on the other hand, it requires a study space where students are urged to try to interlink the courses’ contents in their thinking and acting (boundary crossing by designing). Following this design principle, a nested design approach is developed in which students’ designs of teaching practice is interlocked with the design of courses at university level. In this paper, we illustrate two kinds of findings by empirical examples: a conditional model for the intertwined realisation of the two types of linking, and interlinking strategies as heuristics for the pre-service teachers’ thinking and acting.
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