Monday, January 28, 2013

Zeichner & Tabachnick (1981). Are the effects of university teacher education “washed out” by school experiences?

Zeichner, K. M., & Tabachnick, B. R. (1981). Are the effects of university teacher education "washed out" by school experiences? Journal of Teacher Education, 32(2), 7–11.

It now has become commonly accepted within the teacher education community that students become increasingly more progressive or liberal in their attitudes towards education during their stay at the university and then shift to opposing and more traditional views as they move into student teaching and inservice experience

The Commonly Accepted Scenario: The Liberal Impact of Professional Education and a Progressive-Traditional Shift in Teaching Perspectives

British and American studies seem to provide overwhelming evidence for the position that the impact of the college is "washed out" by school experience. Zeichner (1980) has outlined various explanations which have been offered in the literature for the shift in teaching perspectives that occurs with the onset of school experience. Cooperating teachers and others with evaluative power over student teachers and teachers (Edgar & Warren, 1969), the ecology of the classroom (Copeland, 1980), the bureaucratic norms of schools (Hoy & Rees, 1977), teaching colleagues (McPherson, 1972), and pupils (Spradbery, 1976) all have been seen to play major roles in the reversal of views formed at the university.

Alternative Scenario 1: The Low Impact of Professional Training and the Maintenance of Traditional Teaching Perspectives Throughout Professional Education

Lortie (1975) argues a position on teacher socialization that questions the existence of the supposedly liberalizing impact of university teacher education. He sees biography, as opposed to formal training or teaching experience, as the key element in teacher socialization. According to this view, teacher socialization occurs through the internalization (largely unconscious) of teaching models during the thousands of hours prospective teachers spend as students in close contact with teachers ("apprenticeship of observation"). The activation of this latent culture with the onset of school experience is seen as the major influence in shaping one’s conceptions of the teaching role and role performance. Formal training in pedagogy at the university is seen as playing little part in altering earlier and traditional teaching perspectives.

Alternative Scenario 2: Schools and Universities, Partners in the Development of Traditional Teaching Perspectives

Universities and schools work together to provide a powerful conservative force for defending existing institutional arrangements from close scrutiny and challenge. According to this scenario, the effects of the university are not "washed out" by school experience, but are in fact strengthened by school experience.

Bartholomew argues that universities are just as traditional as the schools with respect to practice. Although teacher education institutions encourage students to use liberal phrases and to affirm liberal slogans about the education of people in places other than the university, Bartholomew contends that the facts of social interaction in the colleges (e.g., separation of theory from practice) are similiar to those found in the schools. The emphasis in both the schools and colleges is generally on the transmission of approved views and information, and on students’ demonstration of mastery of this knowledge.