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Student Teachers’ Views on Theory and Practice Following the Study of Arts and Skills Subjects

Tarja Kröger, Ari Sivenius, Annu Kaivosaari
University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Abstract. There have been changes in how arts and skills are taught in teacher education that, among other things, have sought to strengthen the dialogue between theory and practice. To examine these goal-orientated changes, it is necessary to take an in-depth view of the situation after they have taken place, and thus to justify future-orientated perspectives. The aim of this study was to find out how theory and practice appear in the writings of student teachers after they had completed Arts and Skills in Education courses, which are part of multidisciplinary studies leading to the qualification of a primary school teacher. Do theory and practice remain separate from each other, are they extremes of each other or is there a dialogue between them, and what is the nature of this dialogue? The research material consisted of the students’ writings at the end of their final Arts and Skills in Education course. Writings were requested via e-form. The research material was approached according to the research literature on the relationship between theory and practice. The data were analysed using thematic analysis. The students’ views on theory and practice were coded into three themes: (1) no relationship between theory and practice, (2) a comparative relationship between theory and practice and (3) a dialogical relationship between theory and practice. These themes made it possible to distinguish the extent to which and how students link theory to practice, or vice versa. The research findings led the researchers to reflect on the development of teacher education and, in particular, arts and skills courses.

Keywords: arts and skills studies, practice, teacher education, theory, theory–practice gap

Tarja Kröger, Ph. D., is a lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland. She has worked for almost four decades at different levels of teacher education (practice school, craft teacher education and classroom teacher education). The pedagogy of craft education is at the centre of her teaching interests. Her research interests have focused on interdisciplinary approaches in arts and skills studies, diverse orientations in craft education, cultural heritage and intercultural aspects in craft education and material knowledge in craft education.

Ari Sivenius, Ph. D., is a university lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland, and as an adjunct professor for Education Science at the Tampere University. Sivenius leads the Pedagogical Tact research group (UEF). His research interests include the methodology of human sciences, politics of education and practical wisdom in education.

Annu Kaivosaari, Ph. D., is a lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland. Her research interests have focused on physical education and teacher education, especially on issues of gender, embodiment and equality.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2023. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2023. Rakstu krājums
Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 796 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-116-6