Interactive Television and Problem Based Learning
Viable Delivery 'Technologies' for Rural Teacher Education
Traditional approaches to teacher education have incorporated on-campus face to face instruction, complemented by occasional forays into schools for classroom practice teaching sessions, demonstration sessions or a combination of microteaching, child studies or associated activities. Many researchers and students believe that participation in teaching experience is the most important source of pre-service knowledge about the teaching profession. To make teacher education courses as meaningful and relevant as possible, the project described in this paper used interactive television (ITV) to present real-life, rural teaching situations as examples of best practice and integrated them with problem based learning (PBL) scenarios focussing on day-to-day dilemmas faced by practicing teachers in multigrade rural classrooms. In past offerings of this class, student research and discussion of these scenarios has integrated the theory and practice from previous study in their teacher preparation course. The incorporation of ITV increased both the real time involvement of student teachers in their chosen profession and enhanced their understanding of concepts and skills central to effective teaching in rural multigraded classrooms. The approach described in this paper encouraged collegial analysis of problem situations and sharing of solutions and allowed various perspectives on a single teaching situation to be analysed and discussed on a professional basis with experts in the field.
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