Linking theory and practice during a high school practicum: case study of preservice history teachers in Quebec




History teaching, Practicum, Didactics, High school, Pedagogical Content Knowledge


  • We need to understand how future teachers make sense of theory and practice during a didactics course and a practicum field experience.
  • Different assignments can show us how future teachers think about history teaching and teaching practices.
  • Theoretical links are superficial and relate to the nature of assignment even though future teachers demonstrate a progression in their view of teaching practices
  • We need to ensure greater coordination between partner schools
  • Different assignments foster different modes of reflection on practice and we must encourage this variety.

Purpose: This article presents a case study exploring how future teachers combine scientific knowledge and practical knowledge during a history didactics course and practicum field experience in history teaching in Quebec high schools.

Design: Through a thematic analysis of the written assignments submitted during the practicum and conceptual maps designed as part of the didactics course, links between theory and practice are highlighted.

Results: Future teachers’ referring to different types of knowledge depends on the expectations specified for each written assignment, and shows discourse with little critical distance. However, the concept maps show a more complex representation of teaching practices which can be explained by both the didactics course and the experiential and practical knowledge gained through the practicum.

Implications: This composite of experiences puts initial teacher training into perspective along a continuum that requires consolidating university expectations and varying school practices. Closer collaboration is needed between the different actors involved in both theoretical courses and practical training.

Author Biography

Vincent Boutonnet, Université du Québec en Outaouais

Vincent Boutonnet, PhD, is Associate Professor at the Departement of Education, University of Québec in Outaouais. His research interests gravitate around practical training, teacher education, teaching practices and the use of media to teach history (video games, film, documentary, etc.). He also collaborates with a team of professors on different projects such as civic education, evaluation tools for teaching history or the use of media.


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