A Vygotskian perspective on teacher education
Contemporary teacher education demonstrates the continued use of competency-based, personality-based and inquiry-based approaches. These approaches are commonly regarded as representing alternative paradigms for designing curriculum and pedagogy. From a Vygotskian perspective, characterized by the use of bridging concepts relating individual functioning and personal development to sociocultural process and setting, these approaches may serve to provide elements for a more comprehensive paradigm of professional development. Drawing on Vygotskian theory, a teacher-education environment offers support to trainee teachers for developing a professional identity. A central element is that trainees explore the practice of teaching for its underlying public meanings and as these meaning relate to their own structures of personal meanings. Such an exploration involves the shaping and testing of personally-meaningful action in professional practice. Commitment to meanings found to be valid and practicable constitutes the core of professional identity. The task students face in developing professional identity on the basis of an assignment of meaning to teaching needs an appropriate teacher-education environment. These conditions are worked out from a Vygotskian perspective on professional development.