A socio-cultural perspective on learning to teach
School of Education
This research explored learning to teach by taking a socio-cultural approach and by seeking the ‘voices’ and stories of seven pre-service teachers in their final (fourth) year of a Bachelor of Education course at an Australian regional university. The socio-cultural approach involved asking universal questions about who, what, where, when and how they believe they have learnt to teach, which relate to the personal, contextual and professional aspects that influence learning to teach. The extent to which these aspects are utilized and integrated by pre-service teachers assert three orientations to learning to teach. Common and central to all three orientations were the personal aspects. These were found to have the greatest influence on pre-service teachers’ learning. However, where the personal aspects were dominant to the exclusion of contextual and professional aspects, as described in the pragmatic orientation, pre-service teachers’ conceptions of teaching and learning did not change or changed minimally during the initial and formal learning to teach experience. This was the case for one pre-service teacher in this study. In contrast, when and where all three aspects were activated and integrated, as in the integrated orientation, pre-service teachers reported profound learning and mind set changes that resulted in strongly held and lived visions of teaching and learning. Three pre-service teachers were described as representing the integrated orientation. Somewhere, in between these extreme orientations, was the impact of personal and professional aspects and the impact of personal and contextual aspects (the transitional orientation).In this paper I will describe how I explored and examined the learning to teach experience using a socio-cultural lens.