Board Games: the Protectors of Nature. All the products are left available at the Graduate Programs Library.
Below are excerpts of some residents’ Final Program Reports. There can be found expressions that reveal the anguish generated by conflicts and tensions inherent in the early teaching career, as described by Beach and Pearson (1998) . Various memorials highlight that these conflicts are minimized or resolved in the Third Space created, the extensive site training establishing interfaces between academia and school reality, between practical experience and theoretical formulation and between concepts and practical experience.
“A lot has been said and I still have a lot to say. The experiences I have been through and the lessons I have learned during the Residency Program would certainly not fit within the Final Program Report. There are forms of learning that cannot be expressed in concrete terms that cannot be put into words, even if we know they exist and enrich our lives”.
“Finishing one more stage in the Residency Program signifies the beginning of a new phase in my professional trajectory, seen in the light of new perspectives. I now see an increasingly endless horizon of possibilities in education. I believe that the ideas I have learned in the Residency Program are viable in real-life teaching situations due to the importance given to experience in real teaching practice. The residency program helped me to find the guiding light I needed for reflecting on my professional life. Sharing experiences with fellow residents and the advice given by CPII teachers were essential to the process of adding more knowledge (theoretical and practical) to my five years’ experience as a teacher”.
“Coming to the end of my residency and having only one requirement to comply with (the Final Product), I find myself filled with daring, sometimes blown-up, intentions of sharing what I have learned in the Residency Program with my colleagues who, like me, especially during our initial years of teaching, have been assailed by the feeling that ‘something is lacking’―ex- perience, maybe, a feeling of security, practical knowledge of day-to-day teaching―needs that teacher training courses do not successfully meet”.
“The PRD … signified a lot to my professional life in view of the fact that the high-quality work in education done by CPII teachers has served as a guideline for my professional development and critical thought. I had come to this conclusion at the end of the first semester; nevertheless, having reached the end of the Residency Program, I have something more to say: this program is absolutely essential, especially for many beginning teachers who are beset by doubts, fears and feelings of insecurity. The Program’s emphasis on real teaching practices and the development of critical thought was essential to my professional growth. Observing classes and class activities, attending workshops and meetings with experienced teachers opened new doors for teaching students not only in my home school but for all the students I may have in the future”.
“The workshops, lectures and seminars contributed a lot to my professional development and made me reflect on my teaching practices. The course has changed me as a professional. Observing classes and receiving suggestions from more experienced teachers encouraged me to reach out beyond the limits of ‘my’ classes”.
“I would like to congratulate and thank everyone, Coordinators, Supervisors, Masters and Doctors who helped me over my residency course to write this Final Report. The Program contributed immensely to my professional growth. It should be replicated in other educational institutions since it fosters interaction and union between educators and students. On finishing this course, I feel I have taken a big step in understanding and realizing my responsibility as an educator. Seeking new methodologies and technologies to be used in teaching-learning processes is the obligation of every teacher and educator”.
The categories of Beach and Pearson (1998) can be identified in these fragments. The anxieties and tensions of the early years of professional practice can be found there, at the same time we can see how they find in the experience ways to resolve such conflicts. The experience in different school situations, together with the sharing of teaching practices with more experienced peers, brings new ideas and different perspectives. The reports also demonstrate how the program instigates investigative postures and confidence in the change of attitude that makes it socio-historically contextualized and helps the professional to move forward to effective educational practice.
The concept of Third Space (2010) helps to recognize in their words the search for better construction of his professional career. The convictions attained by the residents about their achievements translate what is proposed in the Program to constitute a Third Space in Education. The Residents show how they have experienced the integration of conceptual issues to the development of specific solutions to the contexts of their professional activities, by developing educational constructs that combine disciplinary concepts. They make clear how this develops in the educator a critical view of the school reality and the needs of the agents of the teaching-learning process. They emphasize how, by offering the resident partnership with more experienced teachers during school experiences and sharing teaching actions and creating different spaces for reflection, action, creation and self-assessment, PRD gave them conditions to intertwine theoretical foundation and application in educational settings.
The reports also show how PRD develops in the educator a critical view of the school reality and the needs of the agents of the teaching-learning process, understanding, analyzing and developing creative responses to the nodes of learning. The experience in different school situations, together with the sharing of teaching practices with more experienced peers, brings new ideas and different perspectives. So the reports highlight the pillar of research in the framework of the Third Space-based interaction of the pillars of theory, practice and research. The Program makes residents aware of the duty to seek new methodologies and technologies for improvement of education.
6. Expectations and Adjustments
The success of the PRD Pilot Project in 2012 led to the implementation of a more comprehensive program in 2013. Based on the experience acquired in 2012, PRD-2013 continues the process of building more democratic and efficient teaching strategies and improving the efficacy of activities carried out in the Program.
Considering the impact and the results obtained by the Program, CAPES agreed to increase the number of scholarships by 80% in relation to PRD-2012. This increase came about as a result of an evaluation of the effects of PRD-2012, made according to the parameters determined by Antheiul et al. (1986) : the participants’ reaction, what they learned, to what extent they succeeded in making use of theoretical knowledge in actual teaching practice, and its impact on program organization. Based on the reaction of the participants, of the funding agent, of CPII as a whole, and especially on the participants’ change of attitude towards teaching as described in their Final Program Reports, it was demonstrated that the results were very positive, considering all four aspects of the evaluation.
A more comprehensive Program required adjustments, the most important being the addition of several subjects such as French, Philosophy, Visual Arts, Drawing and Music. Another adjustment called for the inclusion of a teaching area which would involve teachers working in lower elementary school grades. It has been observed that there is a considerable group of teachers working in initial elementary school grades who are eager to acquire better teaching qualifications. CPII, which opened its doors to students in this age range in the 1980s and has done cutting-edge work in this academic phase with very successful results especially in literacy teaching, has plenty to share, with regard to experience and successfully tested teaching practices. CPII teachers working in this segment were also eager to take part in the Residency program and promptly answered the call for supervising teachers and area coordinators.
The new area is certainly complex and hybrid in nature. It focuses on the beginning grades in elementary school, usually referred to as basic education grades where students acquire literacy and numeracy skills and are introduced to natural and social sciences, aside from forms of artistic and physical expression. Since the area deals with processes involving cognitive maturation in children during the beginning years of school, the especial needs of this area must be met by those who have had especial training in doing so. CPII teachers who work in these grades possess these qualifications, not only because of the group’s collective experience but also by the fact that most teachers in this group are holders of MSc or PhD degrees.
Other changes―academic or organizational―were also affected. As there was an increase in the number of Program participants, measures were taken to ensure that Program activities were carried out properly without disturbing the normal educational processes in the schools where the residents did their work. To this end, residents were assigned to different CPII campuses as evenly as possible, so as to cover a bigger geographic space, thus promoting more interaction between residents and supervisors. Contact with professionals in these campuses has enabled residents to gain new attitudes and other forms of knowledge.
It also became necessary to make changes in the distribution of Program activities in order to meet the needs of the target audience―recent graduates teaching in municipal or state schools that received a low Educational Development (IDEB―Índice de Desenvolvimento de Educação Básica) rating. Changes were made based on suggestions and comments given by Pilot Program participants. One of these is a decrease in the work load to 420 hours, making it possible to fit the Program in the space of one school year. Since it was deemed that this change would affect neither the Program’s final results nor its objectives, it has been incorporated into the program’s structure. More emphasis is now given to academic-teaching activities.
The Teacher Residency Program at CPII is a model for a continuing program for teacher training, providing a Third Space in the educational field. It aims not just to provide a link between theory and practice but to integrate conceptual issues of teaching practices with the cognitive development of teaching constructs in the light of established concepts regarding the subject in question. These enable the resident to develop a critical point of view concerning real school conditions and also the needs of learning-process agents.
The experience in different school situations, together with the sharing of teaching practices with more experienced peers, brings new ideas and differentiated perspectives. A space that allows for constant reflection, action, creation and self-assessment supports the development of abilities to understand, analyze and work out creative solutions to the actual conflicts experienced by resident teachers in their teaching practice.
The PRD actions such as meetings with peers, participation in workshops, elaboration of interdisciplinary projects and joint assessments provide the teacher resident a practice with theoretical support of more experienced peers academically and professionally. The residents’ immersion in the research groups of the CPII Professional M.Sc. Program on Basic Education Practices provides a focused academic research environment for typical practice of what is conceived as Third Space.
Partnership with more experienced teachers during school experiences and share of teaching practices gives opportunity for the resident to develop conditions of critical thinking, pedagogical experimentation, and integration between the theoretical basis and its application in the educational context. These conditions instigate also investigative postures and confidence, enhancing the transformation of thoughtless repetition of attitudes into systematic and reasoned reflection, fundamental for the historically contextualized presence appropriate to effective education. The framework established, with activities in the areas of teaching and administration, facilitates the integration of heterogeneous and plural knowledge, associating the knowledge of the subjects, the curriculum, the vocational training and the experience.
The experience at CPII reflects in the residents, not as a model to be emulated and repeated, but as a set of experiences, experiments and observations that can generate a critical stance and the maturity to identify and select what they can incorporate into their own living experience as a teacher, to meet the challenges of their daily lives and to create their own style of teaching that leads to higher success rates in the teaching-learning process.
The authors are grateful to the support of Coordination for the Improvement of University Level Personnel (CAPES)―Ministry of Education of Brazil and Special; thanks to the professors and leaders of the Colégio Pedro II. Special thanks to Dr. Silvia Becker, who contributes greatly to this work and is no longer with us.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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