From theory to practice: beginner teachers’ experiences of the rigour of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education programme
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This article focuses on how recent graduates perceive the rigour of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) initial teacher education (ITE) programme. The article is based on qualitative data collected from a purposely selected sample of 19 beginner teachers who graduated from two higher education institutions that offer PGCE programmes in the Western Cape. Data were primarily collected by means of open-ended semi-structured interviews and triangulated through document analysis. Results revealed how beginner teachers’ conceptions of rigour of the ITE programme differ considerably from those advocated by experts on teacher education. The authors of this paper recommend that if rigour in teacher education programmes is to be understood, voices of student teachers and other stakeholders (e.g. teachers, school principals, communities, policy makers) should be included in the design and development of teacher-education curricula. Inclusion of these voices might constructively complement existing conceptions of rigour and influence ITE curriculum policy for the benefit of all stakeholders. Nonetheless, it should be borne in mind that some of these conceptions of rigour might not be informed by theoretical underpinnings and can therefore not supersede those of the experts.