Bridging the Theory-practice Gap: Pre-service Teachers’ Voices on Internship Experiences
Levy Morchio, Denise
MetadataShow full item record
The gap between theory and practice has been widely reported in teacher education and internships have been identified as a privileged way to bridge this gap. Nevertheless, there is not enough research on how early childhood pre-service teachers translate educational theory into their teaching practice during internships, especially in university programs that follow an evidence-based educational approach. This study explores the case of Chile, where university-level training for early childhood teachers is mandatory, and examines how early childhood pre-service teachers integrate theory and practice during internships. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with N = 10 Chilean pre-service early childhood teachers from two university-level programs. The results indicate that pre-service teachers are able to make meaningful connections between theory and practice during internships, both by applying the acquired theoretical knowledge during training and by reflecting on their teaching practice during university courses. Enabling and hindering factors such as the support and feedback provided by supervisors and mentors are critical in the pre-service teachers’ experience. This study contributes to research and practice with a comprehensive overview of the key elements involved in the process of integrating theory and practice during teaching internships.