Student-teachers’ understanding of the role of theory in their practice

  • Chiwimbiso Kwenda CPUT
  • Stanley Adendorff CPUT
  • Cina Mosito CPUT
Keywords: role of theory in practice, student teachers


In the current educational context there are calls worldwide for a shift from the perspective which treats theory separately from practice, to a more organically evolving, more grounded conception of theory which integrates campus-based courses with school teaching and learning. This study adopts a guided reflection conceptual framework in making sense of student teachers’ understanding of the role of theory in their practice. A qualitative design is employed. The aim was to establish how student teachers think about theory in their teaching. Following a survey aimed at identifying a relevant sample for a guided reflection, a focus group interview was conducted with a sample of twelve 4th-year student teachers. Data analysis involved transcribing, coding and classification of the codes into themes. Findings indicate that contrary to popular notions of student-teachers not being sure of what is meant by ‘theory’ in the practice of teaching, they have very particular and nuanced understandings of the position and role of theory.

Author Biographies

Chiwimbiso Kwenda, CPUT
Stanley Adendorff, CPUT
Cina Mosito, CPUT
Research Articles