Learning in networks through enquiry: the design, implementation and evaluation of an online intervention to support student teachers on school placement
University College Cork
Initial teacher education (ITE) in Ireland has experienced accelerated transformation in recent years, resulting in extended periods of school placement on concurrent and consecutive programmes. A contributing factor towards this development can be linked to teacher education scholarship, which values the authentic learning experience that classroom sites offer in learning to teach. However, there is also recognition that the daily demands associated with the practice of teaching, alongside the tenacity of lay theories, can result in student teachers becoming overwhelmed during their practicum experience, and can challenge the approaches endorsed in their research-based teacher education. This research documents the design, implementation and evaluation of an online intervention entitled LÍNTE (Learning in Networks through Enquiry), which sets out to support student teachers in a hybrid space during their school placement experience. Guided by a qualitative action-oriented case study design, research methods include interviews, participant observation, and discourse analysis. Key findings emerge that relate to (a) the importance of structured support in learning to teach and (b) the appropriateness and suitability of online environments in providing such support. This research highlights that the employment of online hybrid spaces can provide a valuable learning context where knowledge of practice is generated. The research illustrates the importance of cultivating a ‘safe’ space, through interactions which are empathetic and affirmative in nature. The presence of cooperating teachers, as online tutors, as well as a higher education institute tutor is recognised as critically important for strengthening the overall learning experience. A significant conclusion to this study is that hybrid spaces that are aligned with the practicum can provide opportunities for dialogic reflection and enquiry within a community of learners. With the extension of school placement on ITE programmes in Ireland, this study proffers a researchbased pedagogical framework to facilitate an online hybrid space during school placement.
Practicum , Teacher education , Online learning , School placement
Gorman, A. 2017. Learning in networks through enquiry: the design, implementation and evaluation of an online intervention to support student teachers on school placement. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.