Estimated time required to complete this module: 8 h

Estimated time required to complete this unit: 4 h

Estimated time required to complete this unit: 4 h

Modelling good pedagogical practices 

Teachers are often reminded of the famous words: “He who can, does. He, who cannot, teaches” (George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903)

If teaching were in fact easy, why is there a continuous debate on what makes for an effective teacher education programme or what it is that master teachers do (well)? Remember that much of what experienced teachers do is, in reality, ‘invisible’ and contributes to the notion that teaching is easy.

Effective mentor teachers make these ‘invisible’ practices explicit to student teachers.

In Module 1 you were introduced to the notions of apprenticeship and cognitive apprenticeship. The point of traditional apprenticeship is to have an expert show apprentices how to do a task, assisting them to do it until such time as the apprentice is proficient enough to accomplish the task independently (Collins, et al., 1991). The essence of cognitive apprenticeship is making thinking visible. Observing a teacher at work, even when the teacher intentionally provides modeling, scaffolding, fading and coaching, is inadequate for mentoring a student teacher. The student teacher also needs to gain access to the reasoning that underlies expert teachers’ actions.

Modelling of powerful practice must be coupled with making the thinking and tacit processes underlying teachers’ actions explicit to student teachers.

Many mentor teachers neglect explicit modelling of pedagogical practice because they are so much part of their day-to-day teaching that they no longer think about them. Excellent mentors explain their thinking to student teachers and include the role of context in determining teaching decisions.