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Professional Experience and Project-Based Learning as Service Learning

Chapter in book
Authors Bill Eckersley
Kellie Tobin
Sally Windsor
Published in Kriewaldt J., Ambrosetti A., Rorrison D., Capeness R. (eds) Educating Future Teachers: Innovative Perspectives in Professional Experience
ISBN 978-981-10-5483-9
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Singapore
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Language en
Keywords Professional experience; Situated learning experience; Preservice teacher; Theory-practice divide; Boundary-crossing
Subject categories Educational Sciences


Professional experience is an essential component of initial teacher education. It provides preservice teachers with opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills in learning and teaching in school and early childhood settings. It engages preservice teachers in real situations that facilitate authentic learning typically supported by mentor teachers. These situated learning experiences enable undergraduate and postgraduate preservice teachers to develop skills and practices that meet national standards. In addition to more traditional professional experiences, some universities have developed school-university partnerships that engage their preservice teachers in professional experiences based on project-based learning. Three university partnership collaborations with schools (mostly located in low socio-economic status (SES) communities) are discussed in this paper in which curriculum-based ‘learning by doing’ (Dewey, 1897) projects are a priority. Projects typically identified by school partners and linked to school strategic plans and priorities involve preservice teachers forming small professional learning teams (that include university and school-based educators and teachers as researchers) who facilitate the planning, management and reporting of a project. These project-based learning tasks are facilitated and aligned to the traditional professional experience and often involves work-integrated learning and development of twenty-first-century project management skills: teamwork, leadership, negotiation, evaluation, collaboration, entrepreneurship and project management and research skills. In the three cases reported here, there is a focus on addressing social and educational inequality through the programs.

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