Becoming a teacher: Research on the work-integrated learning of student teachers

Volume editor
Josef de Beer
Volume editor
Neal Petersen
Volume editor
Herman J van Vuuren


This book disseminates original research on learning in and from practice in pre-service teacher education. Authors such as Lederman and Lederman describe the student teaching practicum (or work-integrated learning [WIL]), which is an essential component of pre-service teacher education, as the ‘elephant in the room’. These authors note that 'the capstone experience in any teacher education programme is the student teaching practicum… [a]fter all, this is where the rubber hits the road'. However, many teacher educators will agree that this WIL component is sometimes very insufficient in assisting the student teacher to develop their own footing and voice as a teacher. This is the ‘gap’ that this research book addresses.

Most of the chapters in the book report empirical data, except for two chapters that can be categorized as systematic reviews. WIL is addressed from various angles in the chapters. Chapter 6 focuses on research on what makes Finnish teacher education so effective. In Chapter 4, researchers of the University of Johannesburg disseminate their findings on establishing a teaching school (based on Finnish insights) in Johannesburg. Chapter 3 highlights the challenges faced in open and distance learning teacher education contexts. Several of the chapters disseminate research findings on alternative interventions to classic WIL, namely, where “safe spaces” or laboratories are created for student teachers to learn and grow professionally. These could either be simulations, such as software programmes and avatars in the intervention described in Chapter 2;  student excursions, as the findings in chapters 5, 7 and 10 portray; or alternative approaches to WIL (e.g. Chapters 11 and 12).

The book is devoted to scholarship in the field of pre-service teacher education. The target audience is scholars working in the fields of pre-service teacher education, work-integrated learning, and self-directed learning.

The book makes a unique contribution in terms of its extensive use of cultural-historical activity theory as a research lens and, secondly, in drawing on various theoretical frameworks.  Both quantitative and qualitative research informed the findings of the book.


  • Chapter 1
    The journey of becoming a professional teacher: Policy directives and current practices
    Herman J van Vuuren
  • Chapter 2
    TeachLivE™: Learning from practice in a mixed-reality teaching environment
    Carisma Nel, Elma Marais, Lisa Dieker
  • Chapter 3
    The value of work-integrated learning for professional teacher development programmes in open distance learning
    Divan Jagals
  • Chapter 4
    Work-integrated learning and teaching schools: The University of Johannesburg teaching school experience
    Sarita Ramsaroop, Nadine Petersen, Sarah Gravett
  • Chapter 5
    The first-year student teacher as a self-directed learner
    Neal Petersen, Josef de Beer, Elsa Mentz
  • Chapter 6
    Self-directed learning in teacher education: Lessons from Finland
    Elsa Mentz, Josef de Beer
  • Chapter 7
    The affordances of case-based teaching that draws on drama in pre-service teacher education
    Josef de Beer, Marthie van der Walt, Byron Bunt
  • Chapter 8
    ‘WIL goes POP’: The role of a professional orientation programme in addressing the apprenticeship of observation in first-year Bachelor of Education students
    Carolina Botha, Elizabeth M Reyneke
  • Chapter 9
    The role of reflection as a vehicle for self-directed learning during work-integrated learning of student teachers
    Juliet Rens, Lounell White, Lettie Botha
  • Chapter 10
    The role of work-integrated learning excursions in preparing student teachers for diverse classrooms and teaching social justice in South African classrooms
    Tswakae Sebotsa, Neal Petersen, Melissa Speight Vaughn
  • Chapter 11
    A hybrid model building on prolepsis for effective practice teaching in pre-service life sciences teacher education
    Josef de Beer, Sarah Gravett
  • Chapter 12
    An alternative model for work-integrated learning in South African schools
    Izak Oosthuizen, Lloyd Conley, Carolina Botha


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