The process of designing Initial Teacher Preparation Programmes is discussed using five examples of recent innovations in this field, two from the 'North' and three from the 'South'. After briefly describing the case studies, the analysis stresses the importance of understanding the historical, socio-economic and cultural contexts in which such programmes emerge, and the political and epistemological tensions which many exist. It then reviews the structural and institutional parameters, such as length, location, time and organisation of the courses, and raises the issues of what the trainees bring with them. Finally curricular strategies are examined, by looking at the aims and objectives, the content and teaching/learning processes, and comparing how these are dealt with in the different countries. The conclusions point to some emerging trends, but emphasise the contextual nature of such programmes.
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