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An exploration of the value of an educational excursion for pre-service teachers

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Abstract:

This paper addresses the question: What is the value of an educational excursion for first year students enrolled in a 4 year pre-service professional teacher education degree at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa? The excursion is an integral part of a first year module that focuses on the personal and professional development of teachers. This article compares the nature of student learning during the excursion with students’ learning and interaction in the traditional formal lecture room and argues that it operates as two different activity systems. Drawing on student reflections, questionnaire data and focus group interviews and using Veresov’s notion of ‘dramatical collisions’ and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory as a lens, this study highlights and explores the unforeseen dynamics and tensions created during the excursion. It focuses on the importance of social interaction during the excursion and how it affords students the opportunity to learn how to live and learn together and to work co-operatively in a natural setting. The major findings are that the excursion provides a different learning environment for personal and professional development and this assists students in planning their professional trajectory. These, it is claimed, hold much promise for teacher education.

Keywords: dramatical collisions; educational excursion; pre-service teacher education; teacher professional development

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2011.576771

Affiliations: University of Johannesburg, Science and Technology Education, PO Box 291346Melville,Johannesburg,2109, South Africa

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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