Dilemmas of Practice

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Weaven, Mary, ed. (2012) Dilemmas of Practice. Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW.


This book presents a collection of narratives from Australian education settings. Every story in this collection, except the last, has been written while the authors were pre-service teachers. The final story, An ‘Ill’-Conceived Choice?, was written by a graduate teacher in her first year on the job. We have included it here because it serves as a reminder that the ethical issues that confront pre-service teachers don’t suddenly disappear upon graduation; they remain as a challenge for the obvious reason that teaching is a complex profession and ethical dilemmas are an integral part thereof. The settings for these cases range from metropolitan to rural and then through to as remote as it is possible to be (see An ‘Ill’-Conceived Choice?). We have included an early childhood classroom (see The Photo Puzzle), a cohort of students who have recently arrived in Australia (see Crossing Unspoken Boundaries) and a number of settings that could be anywhere at any time. Many of the stories combine a strongly pedagogical focus with the mechanics of classroom management. To Teach or Not to Teach Shakespeare?, Shhh, Please and Best-Laid Plans all grapple with the dilemma of how best to convey content knowledge so that authentic learning can take place. In To Teach or Not to Teach Shakespeare? we see a reflection on the perennial dilemma of deciding appropriate content for a specific group of students. Shhh, Please recognises the need for quiet, and ponders various ways to achieve it. Best-Laid Plans has as its starting point a well-prepared lesson on film appreciation that, because of the physical arrangement of the room, took an unexpected turn. Had the author not been so well prepared, with such a thorough knowledge of her content, the lesson could clearly have gone awry. A plethora of compelling moral and ethical issues arises from Rosie’s Snacks. They include the problem of deciding when it is permissible to intrude upon the property of a student in order to prevent what could be considered as self-harm. Hope for Henry outlines a situation where a pre-service teacher developed a range of successful strategies for relating to Henry – a boy who presented special challenges – only to discover that the strategies were dismissed by Henry’s mentor and his progress was halted. Student safety – and how to identify and react to an unsafe situation – is a strong theme running through several of the stories. Locked In is clearly focused on the safety of the pre-service teacher, while the serious aspects of a self-acknowledged chair swinger are dealt with in Chair Swinging. The Curious Incident of the Injured Student recounts a worrying situation where the pre-service teacher, well versed in first aid, was convinced that a student was genuinely injured, and yet the supervising teachers, basing their judgement on prior knowledge of the individual, insisted that no medical intervention was warranted. Together, these writings present genuine portrayals of significant moments in professional experience.

Item type Book
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/35680
Edition 1st
Official URL http://www.pearson.com.au/products/S-Z-Weaven-Mary...
ISBN 9781442549302
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords Teaching practice; Pre-service teachers; Teaching philosophy
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