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Technology-supported reflection : towards bridging the gap between theory and practice in teacher education

Authors
Publisher
University of Twente
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Education

Abstract

The ability to convert theoretical knowledge into practical behavior is a common obstacle facing newly graduated employees in most professions. To overcome this obstacle, educational institutes are offering some kind of field training courses that allow their students to practice and gain experience in a real professional situation. In some professional training institutes, such as teacher education and nursing institutes, these courses are usually mandatory requirements for completing the program. The goal of the field training is to give the students the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge, under experienced supervision, in a real professional context. In other words, field training supports the period of transition between the initial training of prospective teachers and their entry into professional life as fully qualified teachers (European Commission, 2002). In teacher education, many educators, for instance Buckingham (2005), Smith (2000), Stigler and Hiebert (1999) and Schön (1987) warn about a gap between the theoretical knowledge that is acquired from the educational program and the practical skills that are required at the schools in this transition period. This gap is also found in the teacher education programs in Kuwait (Al Deeb, 1997). The poor performance of the field training in developing prospective teachers’ competences is presented as an important factor that is causing this gap in teacher education in Kuwait (Hasan, 2001). Improving the performance of the field training in these programs could lead to reducing the gap between theory and practice. This study attempts to improve the field training in the teacher education programs in Kuwait through the facilitation of the reflective practice approach among prospective teachers in these programs.

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