In general, teachers believed that practice should play a more important role in ILTE programmes. For current programmes in Argentina, this would mean the extension of the practicum and the incorporation of more teaching opportunities, micro-teaching for example, during the four years of the course. It is clear that though teachers noticed a fracture between theory and practice, they saw theory as only external; they did not view their own beliefs and conceptions of teaching and learning as theories which interact and clash with the input provided in different subjects. Furthermore, participants’ views seem to support the theory/practice vs. praxis division as Johnson (2006) puts it. In other words, participants viewed theory as one body of disciplines derived from science-philosophy circles, and practice as a set of strategies and positions on how teachers teach or should teach. On the other hand, what they showed interest in was the praxis, since their main concerns centred on the ongoing dialogue of theory and practice throughout their entire field experiences, and the practicum among other opportunities found in a course.
Such a view on theory/practice/praxis shows that participants in this study conceive teachers as subjects who have features of the three categories proposed by Zahorik (1986, in Freeman and Richards, 1993). In other words, teachers need to develop strategies and materials based on some learning principles, together with an understanding of the values which impinge on those principles. In addition, teachers need to be creators of their own approach according to their personal teaching situations.
Conclusions and Implications
With reference to the theory-practice debate, participants, following the same line of thought expressed above, felt that efforts to devote equal time to theory and practice may be necessary. In addition, they emphasised that both practice and praxis could be more context-responsive (Hayes 2009; Zappa-Hollman 2007). However, it was agreed that theory may precede practice and both may be combined in a deeper exposure to contextualised praxis. In addition, the gap between theory and practice could be bridged if the teaching of technology were introduced and if procedures which enhance the social nature of learning were explored further.
In general, it could be claimed that the presence of practice, which in fact, according to the quotes above, we might suggest that the construct under interpretation is praxis, should be placed over theory.
Furthermore, when it comes to interpreting the views above following the models of teaching proposed by Wallace (1991), we may find that participants, once more, shifted, or rather combined, being this one aspect of eclecticism, features of the craft model and the applied science model. When they emphasised the role of practice, they appeared to believe that a craft model of teaching would be more appropriate in their context or based on their own experiences. The reflective model, however, does not seem to be acknowledged explicitly, though, it could be argued that reflection is found underneath the craft model of teaching.
It might be agreed that ILTE programmes need to benefit from graduates’ feedback systematically and work more collaboratively so as to make programmes more cohesive and inclusive in order to bridge gaps between dimensions which seem to be distant when, in fact, reality shows that they inform each other constantly.
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