The Professional Handbook: Developing Professionalism and Reflective Skills while Connecting Theory and Practice through Technology

The Professional Handbook: Developing Professionalism and Reflective Skills while Connecting Theory and Practice through Technology

Sara Winstead Fry (Boise State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-897-5.ch020
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Abstract

The Professional Handbook is a teacher education assignment that allows preservice teachers to use technology to connect theory and practice while also developing their reflective skills and professionalism. The assignment involves compiling information in an easy-to-use website that preservice teachers can access while engaged in their semester-long student teaching experience and once they are employed as inservice teachers. This chapter describes the Handbook’s essential goals, discusses its use in an instructional methods course, and makes recommendations for modifying the Handbook’s format for use in any teacher education course while preserving the framework provided by the assignment’s essential goals. The chapter serves as a resource for teacher educators looking to use technology to enhance the quality of teacher preparation assignments.
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Background

This chapter is grounded in two beliefs about teacher education assignments. First, assignments can have a pragmatic purpose yet also help preservice teachers learn sophisticated theoretical frameworks and research-based approaches for teaching. Second, one assignment can be designed to achieve multiple goals that support the preparation of beginning teachers. The Professional Handbook is such an assignment, and it has three overarching goals: 1) reduce the gap between theory-based teacher preparation experiences and inservice teachers’ practice, 2) increase preservice teachers’ technology skills, and 3) foster the development of preservice teachers’ reflective skills and professionalism. These goals provide the overarching framework for the Handbook, and this section reviews related literature. The term “student teaching” is used throughout this chapter, and for the sake of clarity it is defined as a culminating, semester-long field experience in which a teacher candidate ultimately assumes responsibility for (nearly) all of the planning, curriculum, and instruction in a classroom under the supervision of a mentor teacher and a representative from the teacher preparation institution.

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