This project will be conducted as a qualitative case study following two subsequent groups of preservice teachers through their initial teacher education. To illuminate the cases I will use triangulation with different data sources, although with interviews as the main source. The data sources are:
- Focus group interviews of all students in the beginning of the initial teacher education
- In-depth individual interviews of selected students (student group 1)
- In-depth focus group interviews of selected students (student group 2)
- Written reflections about the role of theory (all students)
- Written assignments (exam)
- Curriculum and lesson plans
- Observation of the preservice teachers’ teaching in practicum
- Observation of student seminars at the university
The first interviews are conducted in the beginning of their teacher education. Being interviewed in focus groups of 2-3 students, the main questions are about the images they bring into the teacher education; questions about how to describe the competent teacher and good teaching, and also about their expectations for the education.
Some students are chosen for follow-up interviews in the end of their education- based on the aim of having students with different teaching subjects and a mix of male and female students – and the focus in these in-depth interviews are slightly different for the two student groups. For the first group, the focus is on how they understand the role of theory and also on how the articulate their theoretical knowledge in reflections on experiences from practicum. Results from these interviews are used to inform the focus for the second group, where the questions will be more connected to how they study, how they experience the intersection between the different learning arenas, and how their understanding of the role of theory in teacher education influences their learning processes. While the first group is interviewed individually, the second group will be interviewed in focus groups.