Preservice teachers’ views: issues for learning to teach SOSE in an overcrowded curriculum

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Davey Chester, S, Hudson, P & Hudson, S 2013, 'Preservice teachers’ views: issues for learning to teach SOSE in an overcrowded curriculum', International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 19-29.


A cohort of third-year preservice teachers (n=24) was given the opportunity to observe and participate in Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) in primary classrooms through a series of school visits during a semester-long unit. These visits were designed to give preservice teachers opportunities to connect SOSE teaching theories studied in the university setting to SOSE teaching practices within schools. This study investigates the extent of the preservice teachers’ opportunities to observe SOSE teaching in the primary school. Responses from a survey showed that the majority of preservice teachers only agreed with 6 of the 25 items associated with the six categories (personal-professional skill development, system requirements, teaching practices, student behavior, feedback to students, and reflection on practice). Written responses from the questionnaire concurred that most had not experienced SOSE teaching. Various issues are discussed around providing preservice teachers with SOSE teaching experiences. School executives, teachers and university staff need to be part of the process to ensure preservice teachers are receiving quality SOSE teaching experiences that will assist in their pedagogical development. A wider question is also raised through this paper. If preservice teachers are unable to experience quality SOSE teaching in school visits designed for such a purpose, does this signal a changing emphasis in education that leaves the social sciences and humanities off the education agenda?