Understanding teacher preparation of the past: The student teaching block in agricultural education
Keywords:pre-service, school-based, teacher education
The preparatory experiences leading up to student teaching vary greatly. Understanding the evolution of the student teaching block can provide key guidance on what is needed for the student teacher of today and the student teacher of tomorrow. A historical narrative approach was used to understand the student teaching block as it has been developed and implemented historically in agricultural education. Six semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants who were current faculty at the rank of Professor in agricultural education and had been involved in agricultural education for at least 25 years. Four themes emerged through our analysis: (a) origins, (b) purpose and philosophy, (c) structural elements of the block, and (d) limitations and forward-thinking. Based on the findings, the purpose of the block as it relates to the agricultural education profession is to provide an intensive, immersive experience to prepare soon-to-be student teachers in an environment that provides an opportunity for practice and reflection before entering the classroom. It is recommended that periodic check-ins or seminars with student teachers be done to ensure they can reflect, share experiences, exchange ideas, discuss best practices, and learn from each other as they experience student teaching.
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