On learning how to be a language and literacy teacher at university. Student teachers’ perceptions about a learning strategy

Submitted by: Iris Susana Pereira
Abstract: Bridging the gap between theory and practice in literacy teacher education within the Bologna Process.

In this paper I present student teachers’ perspectives about a pedagogical strategy specially designed and enacted to overcome the theory and practice divide in language and literacy education as configured by the Bologna Process in Portugal.
According to what has been officially determined, student teachers only have access to practical experience during the last year of master education in Portugal. Being the teacher in the first of two years of a masters’ course, the researcher realised the existence of an erosion of knowledge as students were asked to begin to envision the construction of their practice by applying the theoretical knowledge acquired during the degree. Either their Pedagogical Content Knowledge regarding literacy education (Shulman, 1987) or their reflective epistemology (Shön, 1983) revealed to be quite limited.
In order to overcome this problem, the researcher designed and researched a formative strategy consisting in the construction of a pedagogical portfolio of language and literacy education. In a simulated practical context, students were lead to integrate theory and practice. They experienced collaborative action (doing) and individual reflection (thinking) about their learning throughout the process.
Students’ perspectives about the experienced learning strategy were collected through an individual questionnaire when the process finished. In this paper, such results are presented and discussed with reference to theoretical frameworks as provided by Carr and Kemmis (1986) and Russell (2013, 2018) and major implications for the education of these literacy teachers are identified.

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Russell, T. (2013). Inspirations and challenges for innovation in teacher education. In K. Goodnough, G. Galway, C. Badenhorst, & R. Kelly (Eds.), Inspiration and innovation in teaching and teacher education (pp. 171-184). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Shön, D. A. 1983 (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.
Shulman, Lee S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: foundations of a new reform. Harvard Educational Review, v. 57, n. 1, p. 1-22.