University-affiliated schools as sites for research learning in pre-service teacher education
This article proposes that the ‘teaching/practice schools’ formally affiliated to initial teacher education programmes at universities, can be utilised more optimally as research sites by student teachers. The argument is put forward with reference to the role that such schools have played historically in teacher education in the United States (US), and more recently, in the successful Finnish teacher education system, in which research is highly valued as a requisite part of a teaching qualification. The authors propose that the single component of these schools, which has historically distinguished them from schools for work integrated learning (WIL), is that they are also research spaces and have retained some of the ‘lab’ character of earlier schools, such as the one established by John Dewey. In such schools, the authors argue, students learn to be reflective practitioners by positioning themselves as researchers, who reflect on practice in a research-rich environment. In a pilot study, the authors found that university and school personnel hold different views about research in the schools. The article recommends that careful consideration be given to the research function in these public schools as part of teacher training.
Keywords: activity systems; Dewey; experimental schools; Finland; lab schools; practice schools; practitioner research;reflective practice; teacher education; teaching schools