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Keywords:

  • teacher education;
  • theory;
  • practice;
  • educational stories;
  • educational foundations

Abstract

A common complaint among those involved in teaching the educational foundations is the reluctance of many trainee teachers to engage in issues of educational theory. This is particularly apparent with those trainees who are more concerned with managing classrooms of children than grappling with what are often abstract and difficult ideas. This paper considers the current use of educational stories as a pedagogical strategy in teacher training, and a story that has been used in this way is presented. It is argued that teachers of the educational foundations disciplines can, via stories, appeal to the opposing tensions and schemata in students’ own minds, and this engagement can be enhanced when students are confronted with broader educational debates, perspectives and proposals. Stories provide abstract concepts with a necessary tension, they suggest a way of entering the theoretical via the concrete and they show students the personal relevance of certain debates, which may have previously appeared remote and obscure. The end result is that students are challenged to make decisions about matters of fundamental importance such as the kinds of teachers they will be and about the ethical commitment they will make to teaching.