Pedagogy in Further Education and Vocational Teacher Education

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Creating personal learning theory

A possible positive reason not to clearly define how learning theory is situated within teacher education is provided by Korthagen et al. (2006) when they suggest that teacher educators ‘should actively create situations that elicit the wish for self-directed theory building in their students’ (ibid: 1028). The teacher educator then becomes the link between possible theories and practice in order to assist the teacher to build their own theory. Finlay’s (2002) review endorses this view, arguing that ‘there needs to be respect for the distinctive sort of knowledge which informs the professional judgement of the teacher’ (ibid: 16). Finlay argues that teacher education should provide contexts, reflections, models and golden moments which can help teachers build their own personal knowledge and learning theory which is ‘both a source and a context for learning’ (ibid: 16). Helping trainee teachers to develop their own understanding of learning theory as part of the development of their capacity to reflect on and learn from practice is seen as an important element of teacher education. This features in research by Radovic et al. (2021); Loughran (2007), Lunenberg (2002), Ritter (2007) and Sumsion (2000). Within this approach to pedagogy, learning theories become a tool towards personal learning theory, rather than dominant ideas and concepts.

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