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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren

Rehearsing Teaching Professionally (ReTPro) – Building Purposeful Teaching Repertoires to Bridge Theory and Practice in Teacher Education

Alternative title: Øvingsrommet

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

ReTPro`s (Rehearsing Teaching Professionally) primary objective is to help establish a teacher education (TE) in which pre-service teachers (PSTs) are provided opportunities to rehearse being a professionally practicing teacher, even when they are on campus. The PSTs alternate between rehearsing, practicing, and reflecting on their own and others' teaching to develop rich and reflective professional teaching repertoires. This takes place in collaboration with teacher educators, teachers, fellow students, and pupils. We call such an arena the Rehearsal Room to show that we develop and examine what it means to work rehearsal-based in TE and what this entails for those involved. In collaboration with our partner schools, we focus on inclusion didactics, critical thinking, and democratic citizenship. Even though there is international agreement that democratic citizenship is desirable and should appear as an integral part of education, the concept itself is complex and often difficult to grasp. In addition to qualification, the rehearsals emphasize socialization, the purpose of which is to become part of the social community, and subjectification, which is about autonomy and judgment (Biesta, 2017). In ReTPro, we thus develop the PSTs' teaching repertoire of targeted actions that take care of these three pedagogical objectives. First, we develop teaching repertoires for mathematics and English where we use the teaching methods learning dialogue and pedagogical drama to meet the new national curriculum`s values of inclusion and democratic citizenship. Learning dialogue and drama are methods that in their own way facilitate the development of judgment through dialogical meetings. ReTPro is a collaborative project between Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, the municipalities Haugesund and Stord and three primary schools, one in Haugesund and two in Stord. We also collaborate with the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and the University of Limerick in Ireland.

ReTPro`s overall ambition is to establish a practice-based supportive framework for teacher education (TE) in which pre-service teachers (PSTs) are provided opportunities to develop diversity-sensitive didactics (DSD) as part of their professional teaching repertoires. This approach implies a systematic redefinition and restructuring of TE to implement ReTPro as an explorative analytic space, and rehearsal as a tool for learning teaching and for TE research. In light of the current changes to TE in Norway, building on the insights from a pilot and wrestling to understand how best to bridge the gap between theory and practice, ReTPro will develop a conceptual space between practicum schools and teacher education at campus. We envision that ReTPro becomes a space where PSTs alternate between enacting and investigating their own and others’ teaching, all of which is supported and reflected on by teacher educators, school mentor teachers and peers. While there is a general international consensus that democratic citizenship as a status and as a mode of behaviour is desirable and should be fostered as an integral component, the concept itself remains a complex and often elusive one. To meet this didactic challenge, we will elaborate on DSD as a strategy for exploring and developing democratic citizenship because DSD is based on students’ personal and cultural strengths, cognitive capacity and previous experiences and makes school learning relevant for them by drawing on their cultural knowledge, life experiences, frames of reference and languages. Our vision is aligned with Biesta’s claim that teaching is also about giving students orientations to the world, qualification in terms of deep learning, socialisation in terms of becoming part of tradition and subjectification, in terms of autonomy and judgement. ReTPro therefore aims to develop PSTs’ diversity-sensititive teaching repertoires of purposeful actions where skills, qualities and dispositions are embodied.

Funding scheme:

FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren