Clinical Teaching in Education

Assoc Prof Larissa McLean Davies, Dr Nicky Dulfer, Dr Jeana Kriewaldt , Assoc Prof Suzanne Rice, Dr Daniela Acquaro, Dr Christine Redman, Ms Catherine Reid, and Dr Teresa Angelico | View as single page |Feedback/Impact

The origins of clinical teaching in education

Clinical approaches to teacher education have gained increasing prominence in the past decade largely lead by initial teacher education programs in England, Scotland, The United States, the the Netherlands, Finland and Australia adopting research informed clinical practice models of teacher preparation (Burn and Mutton, 2013). However, with the exception of Finland, these initiatives are often within a single teacher education program.

An initial clinical teaching conceptual model of pre-service teacher preparation can be found arising in one of its earliest forms in Oxford, England, in the 1960s, (Redman, 2014). Harry Judge introduced a new initiative for pre-service teachers into education courses and which has been described as making a difference (Phillips, 2008). Judge employed classroom teachers from the Department of Education within the University of Oxford. The Teachers' roles were to liaise between the university and the school, and to work both within schools and the university with the pre-service teachers.

This new partnership model evolved and by 1987 it was termed the Oxford Internship Scheme, and involved academics, teachers, schools, the university and the Local Education Authority communicating together to meet the needs of the pre-service teachers, the school and its students.  New terms were now being utilised in education, and with clear intent, as Interns and Internships were embedded into the educational system. Judge made an intentional and explicit reference to the medical model with its longer history of internship models. Introducing the concept of the internship into a teacher education program was a direct reference to the medical internship model of educating trainee doctors.

The incorporation of this type of internship into education acknowledged the value of learning on-site with an experienced other, and with the potential for more meaningful and authentic experiences alongside the theoretical and content-focused university programs. In retrospect, this can now be viewed as perhaps the beginning of an international response to a need for theories of professional learning to be implemented into school sites, which included more structured approaches that would assist to analyse student learning (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005). In turn, beginning teachers would then be better informed when designing suitable curriculum responses appropriate for a range of learners.

More recently Scotland’s Glasgow West Teacher Education Initiative has built a clinical teacher education program in which ‘school settings are critical sites for sustained professional deliberation and co-enquiry’ (Conroy et al, 2013, p. 564). This In this Scottish example they do not adopt a medical model, rather they constructed a program in which important concepts that are arise from a medical model of professional education inform their program architecture.

Across the Atlantic in 2002, the Teachers for a New Era (TNE) initiative saw Bank Street College of Education selected as a site for researching high quality teacher education, again a model built on principles of school-university partnerships. The Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia constructed a teacher education program grounded in partnerships and evidence-based clinical teaching. Stanford University’s Teacher Education Program has also led in the development of teaching as a clinical practice profession. Their approach was acclaimed by Arthur Levine’s 2006 report on exemplary teaching programs (2006).




Burn, K., and Mutton, T. (2013) Review of research informed clinical practice’ in initial teacher education. British Education Research Association (BERA).

Conroy, J., Hulme, M. & Menter, I. (2013) Developing a ‘Clinical’ Model for Teacher Education, Journal of Education for Teaching, 39(5). P. 557-573, DOI: 10.1080/02607476.2013.836339

Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (2005). Preparing teachers for a changing world, what teachers should learn and be able to do. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Levine, A. (2006). Educating school teachers. Washington DC: The Education Schools Project.

Phillips, D. (2008). Making a difference: Harry Judge, teacher education, the university, and the schools. Oxford Review of Education, 34,3, p 271-274.

Redman, C. (2014). The Melbourne Graduate School of Education Master of Teaching; A Clinical Practice Model, in Successful Teacher Education: Partnerships, Reflective Practice and the Place of Technology, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, p11-29.