The teaching school model as a means for addressing the knowing-doing gap
thesisposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by David Turner
The quality of teaching in schools is proven important to achieving student learning outcomes. It follows that in order to ensure graduates of pre-service teacher education programs have the required capabilities, problems inherit in such programs need to be addressed. In this respect an identified problem in the provision of teacher education programs is the theory-practice divide. The existence of this gap is confirmed in a range of recent Australian and international studies, reports and policy responses. Pfeffer and Sutton (2000) confirmed this gap in the business management literature where it is known as the knowing-doing gap. The Bachelor of Learning Management (BLM) teacher education program was designed to address the knowing-doing gap. Its rationale, including a commitment to an ‘industry responsibility’ for the preparation of teachers, resulted in the emergence of a new approach to pre-service professional experience in schools called the Teaching School Model. This research is underpinned by two constructs: the TSM and the knowing-doing gap. The research used a sequential mixed methods approach applying an online survey instrument and focus group schedule to explore the perceptions of TSM practitioners about the model’s capacity to address the knowing-doing gap. There are three key findings from this research concerning the use of the TSM that contribute to the addressing of the knowing-doing gap. Firstly, the use of portal tasks (akin to assessment tasks) requiring application of knowledge presented in the university program in teaching schools, were found to address the knowing-doing gap. Secondly, coordination of the “in-school” functions of the teaching school and the “across teaching schools” functions of the teacher education program were found to be critical roles for the effective operation of the practicum. The nature of these roles, and the relationship between the roles, provided insights into how closer relationships between schools and pre-service teacher education providers can also address the knowing-doing gap. Thirdly, the portal task has the potential to facilitate professional learning in both pre-service teachers and their mentors. This finding has implications for enhancing the professional practice of pre-service teachers and their mentors, and could be applied to support change agendas in schools. By using these key findings a framework for addressing the knowing-doing gap in the practicum is presented.