Fufy Demissie


This paper outlines how examining student teachers’ perceptions of the use of seminars in HE led to reflections about the role and significance of seminars in initial teacher education (ITE).   Whilst the generic literature on student learning provides useful insights about how they approach their learning and tutors’ teaching  strategies, we know little about students, and in particular student teachers’[1] perceptions of seminars (a learning context that can nurture important HE attributes such as reflection, reasoning and judgement).  The study focuses on student teachers and reports on the findings from a series of in-depth interviews with five second year undergraduate primary teacher education student teachers in a post-1992 English university.  Their accounts present seminars as rich and multi-layered learning contexts that draw on their peers’, tutors’ and families’ practices, and characterised by instrumentalist judgements about the extent to which seminars ‘enabled’ or ‘disabled’ participation and teacher preparation. This paper's contribution is in problematising seminars, a common learning context for student teachers, and highlighting the ways in which the study led to pedagogical reflections about the purpose, value and potential of university-based seminars for teacher preparation.

[1] The term 'student teacher' is used to refer to those undertaking a teaching degree although 'student' is sometimes used for stylistic purposes. All other references to 'students' refer to those on non-teaching degrees.