The Limitations of Front-end Loading in Undergraduate University Programs

By Jeanne Maree Allen and Mark Richard Sinclair.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper shows how Mead’s theory of emergence can prove explanatory in how the theory-practice gap is co-created and sustained in front-end loading university programs. Taking teacher education as an exemplar, we argue that the trainee teacher encounters different and oft-times conflicting environmental, social and cultural conditions in the two “fields of interaction” of the training program, namely, on-campus work and in-school experience. The argument draws on interview and focus group data collected via a study of first-year graduate teachers of an Australian teacher education program. We conclude that role taking and self-regulated behaviour within the two environmental fields of interaction in front-end loading programs inhibit the trainee professional from exercising the power of agency to implement theory learned at university in practice in the workplace. Further, we propose that Mead’s theory of emergence proves effective in explaining a major limitation of front-end-loaded university programs.

Keywords: Academic Knowledge, Front-end Loading University Program, Limitations in University Programs, Pre-service Teacher Education, Theory and Practice

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.9-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 838.911KB).

Dr. Jeanne Maree Allen

Senior Lecturer in Education Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Jeanne is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania. Before entering the university sector in 2005, Jeanne spent an extensive career in secondary teaching and leadership, both overseas and in Australia. Areas of research interest are the theory-practice gap in pre-service teacher education, school-university partnerships, work integrated learning, and the beginning teacher’s experience. During and since the writing of her PhD thesis, Jeanne’s publication output has included an edited book, three book chapters, ten academic journal articles and seven peer-reviewed conference papers.

Dr. Mark Richard Sinclair

Senior Lecturer, Education Group, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Mark is the Coordinator of Professional Experience at The University of Technology Sydney. Mark has been involved with Teacher Education for fifteen years. He has published in this area as well as in Higher Education more generally. His current research interest is developing better roundness of fit in pre-service teacher training.

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