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Educação & Realidade

versão impressa ISSN 0100-3143versão On-line ISSN 2175-6236

Educ. Real. vol.44 no.4 Porto Alegre  2019  Epub 11-Nov-2019

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/2175-623688073 

OTHER THEMES

The Practicum of Social Sciences at Two Ibero-American Universities

Liliana Angélica Rodríguez PizzinatoI 
http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1414-936X

Xosé Manuel Souto GonzálezII 
http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1480-327X

IUniversidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas (UDFJC), Bogotá - Colombia

IIUniversitat de Valencia (UV), Valencia - Spain


Abstract:

The article presents a comparative study of some of the perceptions of future teachers at the University of Valencia (Valencia-Spain) and Francisco José de Caldas (Bogotá-Colombia) regarding their teaching performance. The sources used for the analysis were their practice reports, prepared after giving class. This study is carried out from a qualitative perspective verging on a case study, which allows us to understand a phenomenon in a detailed way. The initial training of professors in the didactics of social sciences is influenced by their perceptions, which show differences between classroom practice and the theory proposed in universities, forgetting educational practice.

Keywords: Practicum; Pedagogical Practice; Educational Models; Social Perception

Resumen:

El artículo presenta un estudio comparativo de algunas de las percepciones que tienen futuros docentes de la Universitat de Valencia (Valencia-España) y Francisco José de Caldas (Bogotá-Colombia) sobre su desempeño docente. Las fuentes utilizadas para su análisis han sido los informes de las prácticas elaborados finalizada su intervención de aula. El trabajo se realiza desde una perspectiva cualitativa acudiendo al estudio de caso, que permite comprender un fenómeno de manera detallada. La formación inicial de profesores en didáctica de las ciencias sociales se ve influenciada por sus percepciones, que manifiestan diferencias entre las prácticas de aula y las teorías que se proponen en las universidades, olvidando la praxis educativa.

Palabras-clave: Prácticum; Práctica Pedagógica; Modelos Educativos; Percepción Social

Introduction

The study1 arises from the authors’ concern regarding professional practice in initial and/or ongoing training stages, following work started more than two decades ago. Another interest lies in the importance of comparative studies in educational research, since, as stated by Sartori (1984), they shed light on similarities and distinctions that are unknown or assumed, based on a criterion of homogeneity whose class identity validates the comparison.

The question posed for the central concept of this research involves asking whether, in both the Practicum in Secondary Education Teaching: Geography and History at the University of Valencia (UV) and the Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences at the Universidad Francisco José de Caldas (UDFJC), there are some prejudices regarding the act of teaching, due to the social representation of the profession. In other words, how is the future teaching activity established using a combination of pedagogical theories and more specific academic disciplines. As such, we can consider the following conjecture: memories of their time as students and the superficial perception of the educational environment condition the teacher training in the centers analyzed.

Thus, our comparison focuses on the common phenomenon of pedagogical practice, looking at two areas of higher education that share teacher training as their mission, but which use different educational models to carry out this task. These models are consecutive and simultaneous: the first is used at UV and, according to Lorenzo, Muñoz and Beas (2015), is characterized by the predominance of scientific training over pedagogical training and the analysis of practice. As regards the latter, as summarized by Murillo (2006) and underpinning the work at UDFJC, this strategy gives equal importance to the scientific and pedagogical components, which are developed in a cross-cutting manner from the beginning of the training process.

The globalization of the education system is determined by the hegemony of jargon that is based on the skills acquired, which entails a large number of jobs and reports which are not always well integrated (Orellana; Almerich; Carmona; Hangings; Jardon; Jimenez; Pears; Senent, 2015). If we are able to identify the similarities, we will be able to diagnose the problems that affect most Ibero-American countries and establish a methodology to anaylse them.

The comparative analysis of teaching performance, called Practicum at UV and pedagogical practice at UDFJC, was carried out using qualitative methodology applying the case study, considered by Smith (1978) as a limited system that, in particular, provides the possibility to understand detailed situations which may be encountered. Likewise, Stake’s approach (1999) is assumed, which identifies the case as specific, complex and in operation, given its systemic and integrated nature.

Similarly, the study relies on the analytical comparison of similarity criteria (Neiman; Quaranta, 2009) which draws conclusions from the analysis and comparison of related elements of the phenomenon being researched. To do this, 80 UV and 70 UDFJC practice reports2 were used, prepared between 2017 and 2018, corresponding to that academic year in the Practicum and two semesters in the Bachelor’s degree (second academic period in 2017 and first of 2018). From this period, a sample of 42 and 39 reports respectively was chosen. The selection responds to completeness criteria, fulfilling the agreed aspects in the structure of the reports, clarity in the reflection on the practice process and solidity of the discursive construction.

On the basis of the above, the article is organized in five parts: the first presents a general conceptualization of teacher training and practice; the second describes the normative and curricular characteristics of university pedagogical offerings. The third part presents features of the research methodology used and the most significant results of the analysis of the practice reports, in the field of social science didactics. The fourth part addresses the contrast between the most representative perceptions found in the case study and the fifth outlines the conclusions of the research.

Conceptual Approaches to Teacher Training and Practice

The word practice is a polysemic concept that refers to at least two different meanings. On the one hand, the skill or ability to perform a certain action; on the other hand, the exercise carried out under the direction of a teacher who prepares students for a certain profession. In both cases, these definitions can be assumed in teacher training. But, moreover, in the academic field, the term practice invites us to carry out a conscious reflection, which has been called praxis.

Bourdieu (1972) contributes to the analysis of educational practice from the concept of habitus, which allows individual actions to be cohesive with their social context, where the State exercises a symbolic power that conditions particular decisions. Complementarity between personal and structural decisions has been studied through social representations, which has led to some researchers in the Sociology of Education demonstrating concordance between the praxiology of Bourdieu and the construction of preconceptions and stereotypes that are generated in a cultural world, with values and ideas that survive beyond individual decisions (Domingos Sobrinho, 2016).

In the case at hand, we have decided to understand school practices, such as decisions made by a future teacher, under the guidance of another more experienced teacher, but within a school system that defines the time and place in which school visits, classroom observations or first time teaching in a school take place. In this context, ideas, judgments and feelings are generated that seem to be natural, but that respond to symbolic premises passed down from higher up. That is why we will analyze the exercise of the teaching office using presuppositions of theoretical reflection on practice, which we will call praxis.

The emergence of educational systems determines the training models of teachers in the early nineteenth century in Europe, which are implemented in different countries. These models are the consecutive and the simultaneous3. The consecutive model, represented by the French case, involves predominant scientific training, allocating a lesser role to pedagogical training and application in school. The simultaneous model corresponds to the Prussian case in which scientific and pedagogical training are equally important.

To advance the training described, students, in the case of the consecutive model, receive university training in a certain field and subsequently undertake specific post-university teacher training. In simultaneous training, one must hold a degree corresponding to higher secondary education and, in some cases, a certificate of aptitude for tertiary education.

The above allows us to establish relationships between perspectives of initial teacher training and the pedagogical action that then develops. In this regard, (Martin del Pozo; Porlán, 1999) propose three formative approaches:

  • In the image and likeness of traditional teaching, based on a modelling process in which the future teacher imitates others with more experience, in which practice advisers turn out to be an important reference.

  • In technical competences, based, as stated by Gimeno (1986), on the prior formulation of operational objectives, the design of activity sequences to be achieved and the use of evaluation techniques according to the degree of achievement of the set objectives.

  • As a first phase of professional development, consider the impact on the thought processes, beliefs and pedagogical conceptions of teachers.

This last position has been developed for more than thirty years by the School Research and Renewal Project Group (IRES), which we share. In this vein, García (2000) raises the need to link training to praxis; that is, to conscious reflection of the exercise of teaching. The processes mentioned, by Porlán, Rivero and Martín del Pozo (1998), are embedded, even before the decision to become a teacher, and are projected on their actions. Thus, practice is based on pre- and post-intervention thoughts, judgments and decisions that teachers apply as fundamental elements to understand teaching. A theoretical assessment of this relates to the professor-researcher paradigm proposed by Sancho and Hernández (2004).

It is important to note that the orientation of teacher training developed in the last few decades of the twentieth century, which is characterized by the privilege of systematic knowledge, especially that of a scientific nature rather than professional, was maintained in Colombia until the end of the century, when a reform of Bachelor programs took place and pedagogy was established as a fundamental discipline of the profession (Colombia, 1998). For this reason, there is talk of a simultaneous educational model based on the pointed change that was strengthened by the aforementioned regulations in 2016. In the case of Spain, the Practicum maintains the orientation, which, according to Schon (1992), suggests a consecutive model. This first presents the relevant basic and applied sciences and finally a Practicum in which future teachers can learn to apply professional knowledge based on research into the problems of the daily activity.

This relates to the existing debate about the degree of importance given to theory or practice in initial training. In this regard, De Tezanos (2016) states that one doesn’t exist without the other, and that the construction of theory requires rigorous reflection on teaching, because that is how it becomes a reality and the trade and meaning of being a teacher is fulfilled. For their part, (Madalena; Souto, 2018) propose that the theory-practice relationship is an essential concern, outlining positions that give greater value to action because they consider theoretical reflection to be unhelpful, and others claim that it important to have teaching professionals teach others about their profession.

The basic question in initial teacher training is to understand the image that future teachers create of their profession. As we will show with empirical data, this is the result of an emotional and rational construction that is elaborated in contrast with the school environment they knew as students. As Schön (1992) points out, they express a representative idea of what is acquired, executing what the future teacher seeks to be an expert in. The problem is to know the extent to which the traditional exercise of school activity is assumed to be natural by future teachers and how that influences the perception of school practice as a set of ritual tasks. This diagnosis occurs, as we have pointed out, within the theoretical framework of social representations.

In the face of this problem, we raise the conjecture that the professional skills of the teacher are learned by reflecting on the daily experience in a school environment of confluence between university, school and community; that is, in a theoretical reflection on the practice (Jiménez; Lopez; Moreno, 2015; Sancho; Hernandez, 2004). Hence, it is important to generate a broad knowledge of the learning processes of educational praxis experienced by future teachers and on which they usually declare deficiencies in their training.

As can be seen, there is a significant trend in the university field that standardizes teaching performance directly with its action. This relates to Schön’s approach (1992), which considers the existence of an epistemology of practice and trade, based on learning by doing, which combines instruction and dialogue while giving greater relevance to the latter. Therefore, this epistemology is not aimed at only learning to do, but corresponds to a reflective approach, which implies a distance from the action itself and that involves maintaining a constantly attentive academic position.

In short, an epistemology such as that mentioned is reflective in nature and implies the investigative nature of the future teacher, arising from particular situations one may encounter, and trying to respond to them in an exercise of critical reflection which also produces pedagogical knowledge.

Another reflection associated with the above was proposed by Souto, Pardo and Marí (2012) and relates to the skills of future primary and secondary teachers, whose professional profile should be oriented to be a mediator rather than an instructor; to show sufficiency in the contents of the discipline they teach; to know the family and school environment; to assume their task with critical thinking so that they can adequately address diversity in the classroom; to work in a collegial manner with other teachers to enrich their daily performance; to teach values rather than knowledge with an academic character.

Exploring students’ perceptions of their pedagogical action is carried out from the perspective of social perception, raised by Vander Zanden (1990) and Baron and Byrne (2005). This allows us to study the images created by subjects and groups when faced with interconnected social phenomena. Therefore, whether they are shared social perceptions or not, this allows us to understand phenomena associated with teacher training and praxis in the classroom. In this vein, reference to the analysis of social representations is justified, as indicated by the specific works of Jodelet (1984) and Sammut, Andreouli, Gaskell, Valsiner (2015).

Examples of the above are seen in studies such as those carried out by Alsina and Batllori (2015) and Cortés, Cano and Orejudo (2015), in which perceptions are directed towards future professional competences based on the idea of a reflective teacher with a realistic vision of teaching. In addition, it exposes the relationship of these skills with regard to the experiences gained from the Practicum and the individual work values of the training of the future teacher. This suggests processes of pedagogical interaction with colleagues, leading to, with the support of the theory, active and collegial construction of knowledge regarding teaching attitudes during the initial training.

Characteristics of Pedagogical Practice in the two Universities

The educational norms in each country present the general orientations of teacher training. Thus, in Spain, Article 9 of Royal Decree 1834/2008 of 8 November stands out, which indicates that, in order to teach in compulsory secondary education, baccalaureate, professional training and language teaching, it is necessary for teachers to have an official Practicum diploma accrediting their pedagogical and didactic training. Likewise, ECI Order 3858/2007 of 27 December establishes the requirements for verifying these diplomas and defines a duration of 60 credits for the official Practicum diplomas.

As regards Colombia, the Ministry of National Education states, in Resolution 2041 of February 3 2016, that undergraduate programs must have between 160 and 180 credits, to ensure that students acquire preparation in pedagogical practice, can understand and appropriate the dynamics of the classroom and its context, as well as recognize the differences and modalities of the training of schoolchildren, associate them with the discipline being taught and with the situations, events or phenomena that this discipline entails. As can be seen in Table 1, the characteristics of both programs allow us to make appropriate comparisons.

Table 1 General regulations on teacher training 

Institution/Level of training Title General regulations Credits/Percentage dedicated to practice Ages of future students in school
UV Postgraduate Practicum Secondary Specialization Geography and History Basic law 2/2006 RD 1393/2007 Order ECI/3858/2007 60 total 16 of practice 37,5% 12 to 18 years old Secondary Education and Baccalaureate
UDFJC Undergraduate Bachelor's degree in Social sciences Resolution 2041/2016 Circular 014/2016 160 total minimum 50 of practice 32% 12 to 18 years old Basic primary and secondary

Source: Self-prepared.

The vision of the educational trade on an institutional level is also a bit different. At the UV, the Practicum is a course aimed at acquiring the knowledge and skills required for the professional exercise as a teacher in the context of real work. The acquisition of knowledge and skills relates to the observation and analysis of the educational reality; the knowledge of the educational center; the educational planning of the center; the educational practice observed in the classroom; the educational intervention of the students of the Practicum and the critical assessment of the teaching and learning processes, which corresponds with the Final Piece of Work in the Master’s. At the UDFJC, the pedagogical practice is conceived as a field of training that allows for a gradual and complex move towards the school institutional dynamics in general and the classroom, depending on the teaching tasks of social sciences in particular.

In any case, what is observed in line with the items established in previous articles (Souto; Dark man; Coelho, 2012; Palaces; Jiménez; Souto, 2015), is that the similarities between both countries allow us to deduce, as previously mentioned, trends that are being established on a global scale, as affirmed by Torres (2017). A clear intention to reduce education to a cultural conservative question is noted here, which affects the indoctrination of students and teachers and reaffirms stereotypical social representations of the professional practice.

The development of practices is organized in accordance with the level of undergraduate and postgraduate training synthesized in table 2. In the Practicum, a total of 16 credits are considered, 10 of which correspond to external practice and 6 to the Final Piece of Work in the Master’s. In the Bachelor’s degree, 50 credits of pedagogical practice is undertaken, to introduce the student to school environments, and to the reflection and practice in these settings of their future performance.

Table 2 General Characteristics Pedagogical Practice 

Practicum of secondary at UV
Semester Process and/or Stage Dedicated time Activities
I Observation 4 weeks. Observation of and support to practicing teachers Observation of the school and classrooms, as well as collaboration with teachers in the programming, monitoring and evaluation of students
II Pedagogical intervention 8 weeks. Pedagogical intervention Intervention as teachers in the classroom Application of teaching units Elaboration Final Piece of Work for the Master's
Bachelor's degree in Socials sciences at UDFJC
Semester Process and/or Stage Dedicated time Activities
III Observation as a articipant 4 weeks Characterization of school contexts
IV 4 weeks Ethnography in the classroom
V 4 weeks Practice in community education
VI Intervention 8 weeks Design of classroom projects in the area of social sciences
VII 8 weeks Design of classroom projects in the area of social sciences
VIII Innovation 8 weeks Pedagogical project and systematization of experiences I
IX 12 weeks Pedagogical project and systematization of experiences II
X 12 weeks Pedagogical project and systematization of experiences III

Source: Self-prepared using institutional documents4.

In this regard, the Practicum at the UV takes place during the twelve weeks indicated for its fulfillment in each academic year, the first part of which focuses on the critical observation of the reality of teaching and, from the second week until its completion, is aimed in particular at the development of teaching practices and the drafting of the Master’s Work. At the UDFJC, pedagogical activity takes place from the third to the tenth semester, organized in three stages: observation, intervention and innovation.

In the UV Master’s Degree, the places where the content of the Practicum is developed correspond to centres of compulsory secondary education, baccalaureate and vocational training and language schools, agreed with the educational administration through collaboration agreements. The Bachelor’s degree involves preferably public educational institutions of basic and middle education, with which there is an agreement of intent between the two parties and, in some cases, a formal agreement.

On the other hand, the hands-on practice in the two programs benefits from teaching advice. For the Practicum, this involves a tutor of the corresponding specialty from the university and a tutor in the specialty from the center where they are practising. Likewise, in each school (external to the University), there is a coordinating professor for the practice that is being carried out in the establishement. For the Bachelor’s degree, the accompaniment is ensured by a practice director who is a teacher of social sciences at the university and, if he accepts the role, the staff teacher at the school would be counted on as tutor. However, these cases are exceptional because there is no contractual recognition for this work.

With regard to the time spent in schools, the observation of the context plays a fundamental role in the two programs, the purpose of which involves bridging the gap, with a guided approach, to the reality of school in relation to its usual dynamics, difficulties, interactions and possibilities. The time dedicated to observation is significantly different in the two universities, which relates to the educational models mentioned above, in which disciplinary training is privileged over pedagogical training at the UV and which, at the UDFJC, are developed in parallel and simultaneously.

Similarly, classroom performance is essential in the two training programs, emphasizing the recognition and teaching exercise of the topics of history and/or geography at the UV and social sciences at the UDFJC. In this way, the future teacher is encouraged to reflect on his praxis in school scenarios, through the subject(s) allocated, with specific schedules and responsibilities. It is important to point out that the different durations allocated to classroom work in each program also generates different activities.

At the UV, school intervention is characterized by the development of classes according to thematic units of history and/or geography agreed with the tutor of the institute. For its part, the UDFJC classes are first developed from a preset curriculum, then the design, organization, implementation and evaluation of social science classes is carried out. In addition, during the innovation stage, the practice student creates, executes and systematizes a project in an educational institution on the teaching of social sciences and/or cross-cutting projects linked to ethical-political academic training.

As regards the evaluation in the Practicum, this is shared between the tutor from the center and the university with 50% each, considering attendance, punctuality, interest, commitment and fulfillment of the planned activities, the elaboration of the final practice report and the completion of various follow-up tasks. For the Bachelor’s degree, the evaluation is mainly carried out by the university professor (coordinator of the process), since the commitment of tutors in institutions depends on their own will. The evaluation takes into account the completion, design, implementation and systematization of pedagogical projects. Self-assessment by students is also valued, the percentage of which is at the discretion of the director of practice and his organization model.

As part of the evaluation of the Practicum, the reports written by the student at the end of the intervention period are also included, in which he analyses the work done and reflects on his teaching exercise in terms of design, implementation and evaluation of educational actions carried out in the classroom. As regards the Bachelor’s degree, each of the practice stages involves the preparation of a report marked by the emphasis of the training stage that is the subject of evaluation.

It is important to take into account some differences between students on the two programs. At UV, they are professionals in a specific discipline who study the Practicum so that they can perform as teachers in schools, and, as such, their ages range from 25 to 30 years old. At UDFJC, students are young graduates from basic secondary education, who wish to obtain a vocational degree in social sciences, so their ages range from 16 to 20 years old.

Main Results of Information Analysis

The Practicum reports are handled using the qualitative data analysis software ATLAS-Ti, with which the perceptions of the trainees are categorized from the statements contained therein. For the case study, the statements are organized into families and codes. Families are a set of elements that share a quality and the codes correspond to basic units of analysis, represented in keywords, expressions and/or similar topics that are defined for the interpretation of reports (Table 3).

Table 3 Categorization Summary 

Codes Refers to expressions used by the trainee... Frequency Practicum Frequency Bachelor
Family Ideas about school disciplines and contents
Teaching of content Related to the knowledge needed to develop content in class, supported by disciplines or other knowledge. 77 52
Classroom activities Related to in class practice rather than thematics, methodology and evaluation. 87 43
Family Ideas about the teaching profession
Attitude towards the teaching profession Related to what they say regarding their position on their teaching profession. 55 41
Teaching performance Related to the actions they define to develop their teaching practice. 48 26
Being a teacher Related to pedagogical aspects they would like about teaching. 70 48
Family Ideas about pedagogical knowledge
Perception of the educational environment Related to the impressions they have of the school context. 112 47
Educational image Related to the representation created through pleasant and/or unpleasant contact they have had with teachers at school. 69 36
School memories Related to situations, ideas, people, episodes they remember from their own school experience. 20 62
Emergent family Culturally situated pedagogical knowledge ideas
Feelings after teaching practice Related to the impressions left by the practice undertaken. 69 54
Personal knowlegde Related to individual and/or social knowledge that occurs outside the school environment. 10 28

Source: Self-prepared using material from ATLAS-Ti5.

The aforementioned organization makes it possible to develop a deductive coding process that, according to Maxwell (1996), applies prior and pre-established categories to the information to identify levels of recurrence in them. Thus, the two programs coincide most often in the family of ideas about the teaching profession, related to being a teacher and professional practice. Secondly, we find the family of ideas about school disciplines and content, related to disciplinary, experience-based, school, academic and/or professional knowledge and to the field of teaching at the cognitive, procedural, attitude and value-based level.

In third place are the codes related to the family of ideas about pedagogical knowledge, which considers the perceptions of the future teacher of their performance in practice and the school environment where they are working. Finally, the analysis produces a family called ideas of culturally placed pedagogical knowledge, which recognizes the value of both the areas of knowledge typical of the profession, and that of socially valued activities, in which cognition distributed, in terms of Cole and Engrestron (2001), provides the vision of a knowledge produced not only in the formality of academics, but in the social processes in which they participate.

On the other hand, the relationships identified in the expressions used by Practicum students show the impact that the perception of the educational environment by them has on the activities in the classroom, the teaching of content, the sensation of teaching, the image and their teaching attitude. Thus, recognition of the school context is a source of information that provides an important reference for the student to develop a pedagogical and methodological model in the classroom (Figure 1).

Source: Semantic networks self-prepared using the ATLAS-Ti secondary practicum case6.

Figure 1 Secondary School Practicum Semantic Relations Network at UV 

It is worth noting that the what and the how to teach are important for students, albeit to a lesser degree than the images created by the work of the school’s tutor and other teachers with whom they interact during the Practicum. In this vein, the content to be taught in the classroom is significantly valued in the specialization of the degree obtained; they feel more confident developing the subjects during classroom interventions. On the other hand, personal knowledge and school memories are expressed through classroom activities and can influence their teaching style despite recording the lower frequencies.

With regard to the above, the Bachelor’s degree presents the opposite situation since it is the school memories that influence the teaching style and teaching of content. For its part, the perception of the educational environment is directly linked to the attitude towards the teaching profession, which has a greater correlation with other codes such as the image of teaching, the feeling of teaching by the trainee and teaching performance (Figure 2).

Source: Semantic network self-prepared using ATLAS-Ti Practice of high school case7.

Figure 2 Semantic Relations Network Bachelor of Social Sciences at UDFJC 

One aspect is shared with the students of the Practicum: the importance, though not the predominance of the teaching of content in the pedagogical exercise, which for future graduates is represented in the disciplinary management of the social sciences; this is shown in the ability to clearly convey the programmatic contents of the course in which they develop their practice. Teaching performance presents the fewest references in the reports, not because future teachers downplay it, but because they value slightly more the positive and/or negative aptitude that they have for it.

While school memories are a valuable reference for the pedagogical action in the Bachelor’s degree, their link to personal knowledge seems not to be so noticeable given the evocations they gave of previous school experiences. On the other hand, the image of teaching and the meaning attributed to teaching by the student of the Practicum, suggests perceptions of relative importance in the reports, even though in informal conversations during the process it seemed to be more highly represented.

Contrast of Perceptions about Teaching Performance in Programs

The similar and distinct perceptions which were more representative in the two programs are exemplified by a selection of statements illustrating the view that future teachers have of the praxis aspect of their training. The perceptions that come closest correspond to the relationship between theory and practice, teaching professionalism and the development of teaching (Table 4). We can observe how the social representation of school knowledge is seen as natural, expressed through the high relevance of memories of the syllabus.

Table 4 Shows Converging Perceptions 

Perception Practicum Fragment Bachelor Fragment
Relationship between theory and practice In this vein, it may be that theory and practice are a little different, since what we find on a day to day basis in the classrooms of the IES makes it difficult to translate theory into practice. Moreover, considering that we had no practice as teachers, we experienced further difficulties in carrying out certain theories (Student 9). The model guides the practice and the comprehensive framework complicates and instils rigor into the teaching-learning processes so common in schools (Student 10).
I have been limited by not remembering the syllabus taught in subjects that I have not done since my studies, i.e. History and Geography. The latter seems to be a great feat of memory and more about procedures than cumbersome. Imagining myself with it away from the teachers, I wonder if I will really have that memory capacity of information (Pupil 18). The importance of the teacher today is to be a mediator between knowledge and students, always thinking and re-thinking each of their practices, to be on the right path where society is in need of social transformations and critical citizens. (Student 12).
Teacher professionalism It is important to negotiate both the rules and the consequences, so that the student is aware of what will happen if he/she does not follow the rules (Pupil/a 36). We are not neutral subjects and, as teachers, we have ideological and cultural biases, and therefore our role is not to indoctrinate, or militarize the thoughts and behaviors of those who pass through our classes. We must present points that are even against these embedded ideological perceptions in order to build critical subjects who can think for themselves, and who can assume the freedom to think and act (Pupil 39).
Practice of teaching The bad news is that this way of working requires constant attention by the teacher. If not, as is the case here and in other courses where the digital platform is handled a lot, students spend the whole lesson wasting time on the internet, and not doing the work requested (Pupil 13). A good teacher should create opportunities for his students to go further, develop their self-esteem, that is, to give due importance to affective and valuable aspects. Although cognitive processes are fundamental in teaching and training, they are not everything. It is important to teach things for life (Pupil 32).

Source: Self-prepared with ATLAS-Ti quotations8.

The identified perceptions about the relationship between practice and theory and its role in initial teacher training, as stated by Imbernón (2011), maintains an idea of division between them, as well as between application and research; this means that future graduates privilege one over the other. This could be explained from a socio-critical perspective (Carr, 1996; Kemmis, 1998), which considers education as an intentional activity carried out by the teacher, with a more practical than theoretical character to develop cognitive and social skills in school children.

Perceptions of teaching professionalism relate to the professional character of studies, which, in initial vocational training, is proposed by the applicability of apprenticeships, in contrast with an academic position whose sense and meaning is exhausted in the knowledge addressed at the university itself. Therefore, some perceptions raise not only the importance of academic knowledge, but also of advancing cognitive learning, attitudes and social factors that can be useful in the future teaching profession, such as creating opportunities for students to go further.

In this regard, we must stress the importance of focusing on the professional environment; for example, the poor recognition of the work of Practicum tutors in schools, while this aspect is non-existent in the organization of the equivalent phase in the Bachelor’s degree in social sciences, thus having an impact on the initial training of their trainees.

Perceptions of the practice of teaching are not limited to reproducing what is indicated to students of the Practicum from elsewhere, as Merchán states (2007), but they act as producers of school and pedagogical reality. In this area, classroom teaching involves ways of acting for future teachers with specific logic that they reject, accept and/or adapt on their initiative, and are thus considered more assertive in the professional field. Furthermore, the practice of teaching as well as the conceptual premise could also be assumed as a social praxis, which is related to the guidelines that implicitly regulate interactions in the classroom and/or to the social nature of schooling.

With regard to perceptions in which expectations and fears are identified, we see some difference between the students of the Practicum and the Bachelor’s degree, in relation to the point of practice and the accompaniment thereof, the meaning of teaching and school memories (Table 5).

Table 5 Sample of Teaching Expectations in Practice 

Perception Practicum Fragment Bachelor Fragment
Meaning of the practice I think that what we learned throughout the Practicum was generally positive and it would be good to implement it in the classroom but it is a very complex task for which we would require experience that we do not currently have (Student 24). Planning challenges us through the theoretical input and support that, from the perspective of the construction of units and curricula, also calls into question the training we receive as graduates (Student 10).
Meaning of the teaching I identify diffculties in the lack of awareness of the teaching team, in the execution of our work as students of the Practicum of a new creation and in the newness of it (Student 9). Sometimes I'm a little afraid of not knowing how to handle situations and waking up one day and seeing that I'm that teacher who goes to read a book, or stands up in front of the board and talks and talks but is not actually doing anything with his life or that of his students, so it is imperative as far as I am concerned to be changing and reinventing myself, to see that there are more possibilities than complaining, that you actually can be happy with what you do (Student 14).
School memories In classroom practice, my role of guiding some troubled students in so far as possible stands out, because from my personal experience as a troubled and repeat student, I have tried to make them understand through my life experiences the importance of study in their lives (because in many cases they do not seem to care), having given, on more than one occasion, some motivating words that, in my opinion, have had certain effects (Student 18). Far from the comfort zone of school and classmates I have know all my academic life, university has allowed me to find out and discover things that for me were distant and unknown. New perspectives and angles from which to see life, different social and political currents, as well as different proposals of goals in life (Student 11).
I have been able to observe didactic phenomena that continue to be maintained despite the passage of time, since from the student perspective and now from the teacher's perspective, I can affirm that they are practices that have very positive results on students (Student 34). The experience of recent years in school have allowed me to closely understand the possibilities and degree of influence that the teacher has on his students. It even allowed me to discover and be part of the personal and institutional transformations that a teacher can generate inside the school, when proposed. Moreover, in the framework of my teaching training process at university, I have been able to discover other scenarios like study groups and brainstorming that provide another dimension and possibilities to carry out the teaching profession (Student 21).
Accompaniment of practice As far as the classes are concerned, my tutor at the center recommended that I have a first contact, that is, for two or three weeks or so I just observe, to see what's going on in the classroom. I think it was more about "so that you can see what we face every day" (Student 6). When I arrived at the internship, I thought that the curriculum at school and with the course teacher would be flexible, but what I came across was great rigidity both in the subject program and in the incumbent teacher. Although not linked in the process, it does question the practice process (Student 3).

Source: Self-prepared with ATLAS-Ti quotations9.

Perceptions of the meaning of practice are close to a pedagogical knowledge consisting of curricular, practical and reflective elements as proposed by some authors (Tardif, 2004; Francis; Marín, 2010) that connect and interact in a systemic and multidirectional manner. Therefore, the pedagogical knowledge that is typical of pedagogy is a knowledge built on different spaces and times (Almonacid; Merellano; Moreno, 2014), during the initial teacher training process, which in turn is shared and redefined during the professional exercise in school classrooms.

The complexity of the practice requires a background that we do not currently have and that questions the training we receive as graduates. This is a challenge that must be considered by universities. In this regard, our contribution aims to gather theories of educational sociology (especially Bourdieu) and Social Psychology (such as the social representations of Moscovici), in order to interpret school practice as an educational praxis.

In relation with perceptions of the meaning of teaching by students of practice, they attribute high value to the accompaniment they receive in the process of practice, which has a greater importance in the Practicum than in the Bahcelor’s degree, since the role played by UV tutors and educational institutions is a benchmark for knowledge of their context, curriculum planning and creation and classroom development (that’s what we face every day).

Known studies on practice undertaken in secondary schools (Císcar; Fita; Galán; Fonfria de la Torre, 2011; Cortés; Cano; Orejudo, 2015; Jiménez; López; Moreno, 2015; Madalena; Souto, 2018) reveal aspects of the professional teaching culture which have an impact on initial training, such as activity design and the construction of identities. In this vein, the Research & Action practice with the study of experiences and analysis of educational contexts have been very useful. Similarly, school memories show their connection with the present, and allow us to identify social representations in individual cases of teachers in training. This facilitates the analysis of implicit theories (Rodrigo; Rodríguez; Marrero, 1993) which are shaped by sociocultural patterns and forms of social interaction (I was able to test didactic phenomena which are still being used...).

As regards perceptions of the accompaniment of the practice, we observed, in the case of Valencia, a different assessment of the tutors of the secondary and university environments, which invites us to dig deeper into the coordination required. This is precisely what a joint training program developed in the academic year 2017/18 has sought to achieve (Madalena; Souto, 2018).

This relates to Schön’s approach to the Practicum (1992), which considers it to be a scenario designed and intentionally thought out to learn a specific action. Therefore, it is plotted in a context similar to that of professional praxis, generating spaces for reflection on this exercise as new teachers together with others with greater experience in this type of practice. Thus, when a student starts the Practicum, they confront, in a tacit or declared way, the important processes of teaching work such as learning to evaluate one’s own performance critically and propositionally, building a powerful image of a thoughtful performance, learning to value your own position and progressively building a pedagogical route through which you can get from where you are to where you want to be.

Conclusions

This study shows the impact of the conceptions of students from the Practicum and Bachelor’s degree on their teaching expectations. The analysis of the practice is thus relevant to the training of teachers, as shown by the different seminars and declarations in Spain regarding the reform of initial teacher training. In these discussions, it has been concluded, in line with our research, that awareness of the teaching profession needs to be promoted; i.e. the analysis of teaching praxis.

However, this is not easy to achieve, as has been partially shown in different studies. Thus, in the study carried out with 93 students of the Secondary Practicum school courses in Valencia10, the differences in expectations were checked before starting the intervention phase and its subsequent evaluation. For example, in the programming phase, they tried to organize the contents in the form of blocks that related to social problems, but when the action was remembered, it did not happen this way.

Despite recognition of the problems that arise in the same assessment of the practice, it is noted that it is possible to influence innovation from the research carried out in the Practicum, both in the areas of experimental and social sciences (Solbes; Fernandez; Dominguez; Cantó; Guisasola, 2018; Souto, 2018), something that has been pursued for thirty years in the Gea-Clío project (Ramírez; Souto, 2017) and which shows how this improvement in teaching is slow and complex, as has been pointed out in the assessments and academic work related to this curricular project.

Finally, it can be said that the study of school praxis is an essential process in teacher training in the two programmes, but in the case of the Practicum it should be expanded in time for its completion, as well as to intensify the process of work in the classroom in contrast to observation, so that the future teacher works with the students from the beginning to the end of the course and can reflect on the changes and effects that can be implemented in the classroom. In addition, it is necessary for the accompaniment to not be exclusive to the university, because we have shown that in Bogota the school only receives trainees, but does not commit to monitoring the work in the classroom.

On the other hand, taking into account the positive assessment of the practice by future teachers, studies such as the one carried out of their perceptions on it should be expanded not only in terms of the number of participants and courses, but also with more representative images to reflect on possible changes to undergraduate and postgraduate training approaches.

1This article is part of the project: Social representations of school content in the development of teaching skills, R&D Projects for Knowledge Generation and Scientific and Technological Strengthening of the R&D+1 System (BOE 28/08/2018), with reference PGC2018-094491-B-C32.

2Reports at the two universities do not have equal nominations for presenting the pedagogical experience of the practice; however, they account in terms of meaning of the same aspects: characterization of the school context (educational center, primary teachers and students), description of the pedagogical practice carried out, successes and / or misadventures in its development and reflections on the value of practice in the formative process.

3This model, under the same principles of the simultaneous, takes the name of shared when pedagogical training is developed in addition to Normal Universities and Schools.

4Informational guide to the Practice course 2017-2018. University Practice; DE4-Procedure for the management and review of external practices integrated into the curriculum and Modifications of qualified registration.

5Version 8.2.1 (550) Windows/Mac. Student individual user license (2018-2020). Germany.

6Version 8.2.1 (550) Windows/Mac. Student individual user license (2018-2020). Germany.

7Version 8.2.1 (550) Windows/Mac. Student individual user license (2018-2020). Germany.

8Version 8.2.1 (550) Windows/Mac. Student individual user license (2018-2020). Germany.

9Version 8.2.1 (550) Windows/Mac. Student individual user license (2018-2020). Germany.

10The surveys were conducted upon returning from the Practice phase; that is, the general memory and perception of the students of the 120 hours they had performed in schools was valued.

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Received: November 11, 2018; Accepted: June 24, 2019

Liliana Angélica Rodríguez Pizzinato is a full-time teacher of the Bachelor of Science plant in social sciences. Geopaideia research group. Director of Itinerant Research. ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1414-936X E-mail: larodriguezp@udistrital.edu.co

Xosé Manuel Souto González is PhD Director in Didactics of Experimental and Social Sciences and Master in Secondary Education Teachers. University of Valencia. ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1480-327X E-mail: xose.manuel.souto@uv.es

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