This paper investigates the effects of a teacher education program designed to help teacher candidates integrate theory and practice within a “realistic” approach to teacher education (Korthagen, 2001). Specifically, we were interested in the experiences of novice teachers who are graduates of a four-year teacher preparation program designed to link theory and practice. This research is part of a longitudinal qualitative study that investigates the impact of transformative pedagogies by mentor teachers and teacher educators throughout teacher candidates’ field experiences in years one and two of the program, practica experiences in years three and four of the program, and their initial year of teaching after graduation. In 2019-20, we conducted extensive interviews with twelve novice teachers who had recently graduated from our four-year teacher education program.
Our research provides insight into the impact of the programmatic implementation of a realistic approach to teacher preparation by investigating experiences of novice teachers. It provides an example of how one university is strategically attempting to connect academic and school-based practices through a realistic approach to support novice teachers’ ability to develop effective practice. In addition, the study suggests that a realistic approach to teacher preparation can impact novice teachers’ choice to view the teacher profession as a long-term career. In the era of high teacher attrition (Carver-Thomas & Darling-Hammond, 2017; Clandinin et al., 2015), this study suggests that transformative pedagogies designed to provide sustained realistic experiences within field-based, integrated education courses have a positive impact on novice teachers’ professional practice.
Kevin O'Connor, Mount Royal University, Canada