The use of collaboration and reflection in a paired student teacher placement
Weldon, Jeanna Michelle
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This study paired two student teachers and placed them into one science classroom. Their use of collaboration and reflection was investigated as the student teachers worked together in learning to teach science. A social constructivist theory guided the study as well as research from the areas of peer collaboration and reflection. Observations, interviews, and audiotapes of their co-planning sessions were used to interpret the data. The results revealed that many collaborative interactions emerged. However, two specific collaborative interactions were significant: division of teaching responsibilities and giving two explanations of the science content. Specific responsibilities that were divided among the student teachers were administrative issues, science content preparation, and science teaching. The student teachers gave two explanations of the science content while explaining the science content, giving directions, answering questions, and disciplining students. Reflection impacted the paired student teachers’ learning to teach science in significant ways. Several instances triggered reflection including dilemmas that occurred during student teaching and student feedback. From their reflection, the student teachers experienced growth in science teaching. This growth was evident in the areas of management, science content, and pedagogical content knowledge. Finally, this study uncovered the different mechanisms that were used to facilitate reflection. The specific mechanisms were the student teachers’ knowledge base from being a learner and suggestions, tensions, and support that were shared with their partner.