n South African Journal of Higher Education - Making conceptual connections visible to students in professional programmes : the case of initial teacher education

Volume 30, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Degrees that prepare students for professional practice require that links be made across successive courses (for conceptual progression) and across concurrent courses (for networking and coherence). This article analyses compulsory coursework offered by five universities that participated in the Initial Teacher Education Research Project (ITERP). The analysis shows that the compulsory courses provide student teachers with opportunities to learn about different elements related to teaching: learners and learning, knowledge and curriculum, pedagogic decision-making, and the context of education in South Africa. However, the generic nature of compulsory coursework means that these topics are studied without links to students' phase and subject specialisations. Making these potential links explicit requires intentional and sustained collaboration between the lecturing teams responsible for compulsory and elective courses. This article identifies conditions for enhancing the visibility of conceptual connections to students, including strong academic leadership of programmes, and ensuring that lecturing staff understand the conceptual framework that underpins programme design.

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