Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author James, Angela Antoinette firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-05022009-182337 Document Title How student teachers construct and use phronesis to enhance their professional development Degree PhD Department Curriculum Studies Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof J A Slabbert Supervisor Keywords
- empowered individuals
- professional development
- dysfunctional schools
Date 2009-04-20 Availability unrestricted AbstractIn the present context of South African education many learners may be denied access to the modern world, and from developing as empowered individuals for a world of uncertainty, due to inadequate schooling. The learners’ poor results in national and international studies and dysfunctional schools, for example, are clear evidence of inadequate schooling. If we are to improve schooling, and hence, the quality of teaching and learning in South African schools, we need to address the quality of teacher education that student teachers receive as part of their professional development. These improvements in schooling will depend on how student teachers are professionally developed, not to teach, but to facilitate learning. It is on this basis that I explore how student teachers construct and use phronesis to enhance their professional development. Within this question I explore the student teachers’ baseline phronesis when they enter the programme and how the student teachers utilise the contribution of the mentor teacher and the specialisation programme to construct and use phronesis to enhance their professional development.
An interpretive, mixed methods, case study participatory action research methodology was used to explore these research questions. The participants in this study were three Postgraduate Certificate in Education Life Sciences student teachers, the specialisation lecturer, mentor teacher and the researcher. The context of this study was in the setting of a radical, innovative teacher education programme at the University of Pretoria, which focused strongly on the construction and use of phronesis. A variety of data collection instruments, including visual data, personal profile questionnaires and document analysis were used to collect the data. Ethical and research rigour issues were attended to and implemented.
The findings are presented in four case study participatory action research cycles, each having a particular context and purpose. The descriptive data from each of these cycles was analysed to develop responses for the research questions. The finding in response to research question one indicated that the student teachers’ beliefs, emotions, desire and vision for the type of facilitator that they wanted to be influenced their perception of a facilitator of learning. Furthermore, their awareness of the challenges and constraints that ‘teachers’ experienced when teaching in particular contexts did not deter them from becoming facilitators of learning. The mentor teachers’ contributions were: direct with regard to providing support in designing learning tasks, resources and assessment feedback. Indirect contributions were in terms of the student teachers developing the need to generate ideas for effective practice and to change their beliefs about the role of a facilitator of learning, and the impact of this role on the learners’ work ethic and relationships. The contributions of the specialisation programme were in terms of challenging and changing student teachers’ beliefs about the role of a facilitator of learning and the development of learning practice in authentic contexts.
The student teachers constructed and used their phronesis to enhance their professional development. Incorporated in each student teacher’s practice theory are their personal and professional transformations on their journey to becoming facilitators of learning.
© University of Pretoria 2009
Please cite as follows:
James, AA 2009, How student teachers construct and use phronesis to enhance their professional development, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05022009-182337/ >
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