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

Features of existing models of clinical teaching in initial teacher education

Clinical models of initial teacher education (CMPSTE) are those that prioritise and facilitate close alignment between sites of practice—the school—and the University in order to integrate theory and practice in initial teacher education. In these models, schools are an integral part of the design and delivery of the initial teacher education program, and contribute to the evolution and design of these programs. Clinical teacher education programs have gained traction in the United States, The United Kingdom and Australia (Burn & Mutton 2013).

Clinical models of Teacher Education recognise that practices in medicine, in which Universities are closely aligned with teaching hospitals, and the ‘theory’ learnt is contextualised in practice have value for teacher preparation, and this approach is adapted for an educational context (Kriewaldt & Turnidge, 2013; McLean Davies et al., 2015). Clinical programs allocate significant resources to the integration of theory and practice, and to leveraging teacher learning across the sites of learning and practice. To this end, they are often resource intensive, and require funding to become established and maintained (Conroy, 2013, McLean Davies et al., 2013). This results in some universities offering two kinds of programs, a regular program, and a more intensive clinical program.

Features of Clinical Models of Pre-service Teacher education:


CMITE enable pre-service teachers to spend significant time in schools alongside the classes they undertake at university. Programs either have students in schools for part of each day, or for a significant proportion of the week. This enables pre-service teachers to connect learning that is initiated in different institutional contexts.


Clinical programs have dedicated staff who work for a substantive time with pre-service teachers in schools, and school staff that are also involved in the university component of the program. These staff will facilitate the connection between theory and practice, and can also serve to provide additional support to schools (see Conroy et al., 2013; McLean Davies et al., 2013).


The focus on the integration of theory and practice in clinical teaching programs results in integrated assessment.  A key feature of these clinical assessment tasks is the way in which they require academic and school-based staff work closely together to support the pre-service teacher’s development and ability to critically reflect on their practice. New assessment processes and protocols (such as the Clinical Practice Exam at the University of Melbourne, and the Learning Rounds at the University of Glasgow - see McLean Davies et al., 2013; Conroy et al., 2013) have been developed to meet both the need to integrate theory and practice, and in response to the possibilities of the close partnerships that are a feature of these programs.


Burn, K., & Mutton, T. (2013). Review of 'research-informed clinical practice' in initial teacher education. Paper commissioned by BERA, presented at BERA-RSA Inquiry (London, BERA/RSA).

Conroy, J., M. Hulme and I. Menter. 2013. “Developing a ‘clinical’ model for teacher education.”  Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy 39(5): 557-573. DOI: 10.1080/02607476.2013.836339

McLean Davies, L., Dickson, B., Rickards, F., Dinham, S., Conroy, J., Davis, R. (In Press - Accepted February 2015). Teaching as a clinical profession: translational practices in initial teacher education – an international perspective. Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy.

McLean Davies, L. M. Anderson, J. Deans, S. Dinham, P. Griffin, B. Kameniar, J. Page, C.Reid, F.Rickards, C.Tayler  and D.  Tyler 2013. “Masterly preparation: Embedding clinical practice in a graduate pre-service teacher education programme.” Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy 39 (1): 93-106. DOI:10.1080/02607476.2012.733193