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The dissonance between the socialisation experiences of student teachers during their own schooling and practicums and university-based teacher education programmes is indicative of the broader theory/practice dichotomy in education. While this dichotomy is of considerable interest to all teacher educators, studies of students’ pre- and post-placement professional beliefs are rare. The authors availed of the publication of alternative curriculum pathways for Ireland to investigate the curriculum beliefs of student teachers immediately before and after their final school placement. Important contextual aspects of the study including school and teacher culture and the proposed curriculum pathways are introduced. The stark contrast between student teachers’ preferences and their views regarding the feasibility of the various pathways and their commitment to pupil-centred learning are among the main findings of the current study. A positive relationship emerged between respondents’ curriculum preferences and their grades in curriculum studies. These emerging themes are considered from the perspectives of student teachers’ beliefs about pupil learning, the theory/practice dichotomy and the importance of developing school–university partnerships.

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Journal Article

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