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Recent approaches in the study of learning describe it as an interactive process. Learning is seen to take place in the participation framework, between the person and his or her environment, rather than in the individual mind. This study examined the construction and development of expertise as a situational and contextual process, with the learning environment forming the arena and "partner" for individual learning and development. Subjects were nine student teachers in a college for kindergarten teaching in Finland. Data were collected from 1991 to 1994 in two areas: individual data and environmental data. Individual data were gathered through observations and video recordings of student teaching sessions and through student interviews and diaries. Environmental data were gathered from written documents (for example, curricula), supervisor evaluations and interviews, and observation. Preliminary findings suggested that the development process of expertise during teacher education can be described as a continuum of situational learning experiences. The situational experiences were constructed in the interaction process between the learner and his or her environment (which contained both physical and social dimensions). They formed a kind of path for the development process which was constructed according to the characteristics of the interaction partners and the nature of the interaction. The nature and development of this path seemed significant for the quality and content of learning. (Contains 16 references.) (EV)

Descriptors: Context Effect, Educational Environment, Foreign Countries, Higher Education, Kindergarten, Learning Processes, Models, Preschool Education, Preschool Teachers, Student Teachers, Teacher Education

Autor: Karila, Kirsti


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