Learning to teach in ILEs on practicum: Anchoring practices for challenging times

Emily Nelson, Leigh Johnson


With fast-paced and profound change underway in schools, Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs) pose significant challenges for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes also. Even within a pre-service programme where preservice teachers spend two days of every week in schools and so are aware of and informally involved in ILAs, these environments and the pedagogies they require pose significant challenges for practicum preparation. In this article we report on a small-scale focus group study that explored how preservice teachers learn to teach in ILEs on practicum. We investigated how they grapple with teaching in ILEs at a time where alignment between our ITE programme and bespoke ILE developments in practicum schools is not assured. Our findings suggest that although ILEs offer preservice teachers new and unfamiliar challenges for practicum, such as orchestrating and taking responsibility for larger, more flexible groupings of learners, ILEs also offer opportunities for enhanced collaborative support and pedagogical responsibility. We also identify key anchoring practices that our preservice teachers utilise to make sense of the unfamiliar with the familiar.


Innovative Learning Environments; Initial Teacher Education; Primary Education; Socio-spatial Theory

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DOI: 10.15663/wje.v22i3.374


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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015