Preservice Teachers’ Reflection for the Acquisition of Practical Knowledge during the Practicum

in Teachers’ Professional Development in Global Contexts
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In this chapter we describe teachers’ professional practice by scrutinizing the type of practical knowledge that preservice teachers acquire during the practicum period as well as by assessing the type of support they receive from their mentors and peers. We conducted the study with preservice students from the Primary Education degree at the University of Salamanca, Spain. They were recorded a teaching a lesson and also reflecting on it afterwards: first individually, then with a peer preservice teacher and, finally, with a mentor.

The data analysis followed three stages. We first identify critical incidents (positive and negative) according to three major themes: the teacher, the student and the content. Secondly, we conducted a propositional analysis to classify the contet of the preservice teachers’ reflections according to four types of practical knowledge. Thirdly, we analyze the mentoring support according to the MERID model (Hennissen et al., 2008).

The results show that reflecting with the help of another person (either a peer or a mentor) is more beneficial than acomplishing reflection individually since they elicit more inferential and sophisticated knowledge than individual reflections do. In addition, our data suggest that the assistance of mentors leads to more generalizable knowledge that preservice teachers can use in future school experiences.

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