Systematic Selection of Innovative Pedagogies in Teacher Education Courses and Practica

Systematic Selection of Innovative Pedagogies in Teacher Education Courses and Practica

Neal Shambaugh (West Virginia University, USA) and Katharine Brownfiel (College of William & Mary, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9232-7.ch010


The purpose for teaching is to prepare learners for lives in the 21st century. The availability of new forms of teaching to achieve 21st century learning outcomes across learner differences benefits from tapping a systematic approach for pedagogy selection. For those working in teacher education, the chapter first summarizes issues about new pedagogies, including the perspective of the preservice teacher. A systematic approach to selecting innovative pedagogies uses seven prompts. The first three review student needs including (1) teacher knowledge of student differences, (2) learning outcomes, and (3) the realities of the school setting. A second set of prompts address teaching decisions including (4) assessment of learning outcomes, (5) the mix of teaching models and strategies, (6) the enabling features of the new pedagogies during implementation, and (7) the adjustments of teaching decisions based on the responses to the above prompts. Recommendations for best practices and research directions are provided.
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Introduction: Teaching As An Informed Practice

What makes any pedagogy innovative is how it creates a unique learning environment to assist a range of learners to achieve 21st century learning outcomes. This definition is based on the stance of the authors which views instruction as an outcome-referenced, conditions-based activity (Ragan, Smith, & Curda, 2008). Different categories of learning outcomes exist including behavioral, cognitive, social, and affective. Achieving these outcomes, according to Gagné (1965), requires different internal conditions or states of mind that the learner brings to learning and external conditions or external influences, such as instruction and personal experiences. The issue for teachers remains of how to assist students to achieve these learning outcomes. Teaching involves determining what activities and experiences, based on the nature of the content to be learned and leaner characteristics, best support that learning.

Educators choose pedagogies to create learning environments which assist students to achieve specified learning outcomes. New forms of teaching or innovative pedagogies are not delivered in isolation but are complemented by other teaching models and strategies that address the nature of what is to be learned. Increasingly, 21st century learning outcomes have been specified for higher order thinking such as critical thinking and problem solving. One example of an innovative pedagogy is Project-Based Learning (PBL), which is based on an outcome-referenced perspective focusing on the conditions and strategies for problem solving and supporting outcomes (Hung, Jonassen, & Liu, 2008). PBL taps complementary forms of external conditions or teaching models, such as inquiry, cooperative learning, simulation, cognitive structuring (e.g., advance organizers), and role play (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2014). Teaching includes other general purpose teaching strategies, such as review, classroom management, and re-teaching. Teacher education programs provide a collaborative educational venue where teacher educators, cooperating teachers, and preservice teachers implement and model innovative pedagogies. Another attribute to innovative pedagogies and the new technologies that may underlie them is that they provide a motivating topic for educators to explore and learn from each other.

This chapter describes a systematic approach to select these new forms of teaching by using a set of seven prompts or questions to guide their selection Another chapter in this Handbook written by the first author examines how to evaluate the use of these pedagogies during teaching and more formally after a sufficient test and formative revisions have taken place. This chapter supports one of the purposes for the Handbook in that public school teachers be responsive to changing student needs and demonstrate teacher effectiveness, as required by increasing pressures of accountability (Ronfeldt, Brockman, & Campbell, 2018). The conceptual approach to this chapter is that innovative pedagogies are selected, not in terms of novelty or what is currently in vogue, but to address an ongoing awareness of student characteristics and needs, and that new forms of teaching serve to assist these students to better understand and apply what they learn in school. A feature of such informed practice is the continual appraisal of who the students are and their needs, re-thinking learning outcomes, and how new forms of teaching support those students with those outcomes.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Preservice Teachers: Students enrolled in a teacher education program which features placement in a public school. Also known as teacher candidates.

Practicum: A college course in which teaching activity occurs in an educational setting, usually a public school.

Driving Question: A teacher prompt but developed by students for student research, problem solving, and designing.

Entry Event: An activity used by a teacher to introduces students to a compelling question, issue, or problem and an activity that stimulates their curiosity to learn more.

21st Century Learning Outcomes: The knowledge, skills, and attitudes students need to succeed in their personal and professional lives and contribute to the society in the 21 st century.

Cooperating Teachers: Public school teachers responsible for observation and working with students from a teacher education program.

Professional Development School: A college or public school that formally commits to ongoing improvement of teaching, including preservice and professional teachers.

Program Evaluation: A systematic approach for determining the “success” of a program.

Instructional Design: A systematic process for the design, implementation, and evaluation of educational interventions.

Professional Development: The term used for activities in which educators improve their knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

Teacher Educators: Higher education faculty with teacher education responsibilities.

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