Maria Mamoura, Postgraduate studentsʼ historical literacy development during their practicum. The role of learning community, Προσχολική & Σχολική Εκπαίδευση, 4|2016, 212-225


Student teachers that enter in a practicum program bring their own conceptions and beliefs about teaching and teacher’s role; they have a well-developed set of personal beliefs about teaching prior to entering their teacher preparation program. These personal beliefs or preconceptions could form new experiences and perspectives. Historical literacy, which returns as aim in epistemology and teaching of history, is defined by concepts, prominent among which retains the ability to develop historical reasoning. In this research historical literacy was investigated on the basis of fourteen post-graduate students’ ability to generate historical reasoning during a post-graduate course of History Teaching. A qualitative case study was carried out during the winter semester 2013-2014 in the post-graduate Program “Theory, Praxis and Evaluation of Educational Work” (Department of Education, University of Athens, Faculty of Philosophy, Education and Psychology). Fourteen (14) post-graduate students, enrolled in a postgraduate teacher education program had to conduct their compulsory practicum in Greek secondary schools during the second semester of their studies. The first semester, they attended the course “History Didactics” (the one of the two teachers of the course is the author of this paper). The aim of this study is to investigate whether and to what extent 14 post-graduate students cultivated the capacity of developing historical reasoning during the teaching of the course and during the six-month practicum in several school settings. Special focus was on developing the capacity of a) connection of historical events of the past with the present, b) interpretation of historical events through the examination of opposing historical sources, c) doing historical questions to students, which are key components of historical reasoning. The research questions of the survey are: a) What were the initial conceptions of the post-graduate student teachers for history teaching and b) whether and to what extent these conceptions seemed to vary and / or be transformed, concerning the developing of their historical literacy? Research data were collected by: a) transcribed teaching implementations of 14 students, b) transcripts of two-hour discussions between student-teachers and their university supervisor, which conducted after every teaching implementation, and c) transcripts of interviews of student teachers at the end of their practicum. Data were analyzed with the method of grounded theory. Data analysis revealed that the characteristics and dynamics of student teachers’ learning community formed during the university course and enlarged in two-hour discussions, were the central point for the development of their historical literacy. Specifically, mutual respect, climate favoring innovation, risk taking, the knowledge problematization and the supportive role of the university supervisor strengthened post-graduate students, who originally had a weakness in the production of historical reasoning, to conquer the specific components.

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