The gap between theory and practice in teacher education has led to much criticism regarding the effectiveness of teacher education. In this article, the causes of this gap are discussed and related to a framework for teacher behaviour and teacher learning. Using this framework, the so-called "realistic approach" to teacher education has been developed, which marks a new direction in the pedagogy of teacher education. This approach, developed at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, is described in this article, and its basic principles are discussed. Several evaluative studies into the realistic approach show its positive outcomes. Important conclusions are presented for (1) programme design, based on (2) a view of the intended process of student teacher learning, (3) the pedagogical interventions and arrangements used, and (4) the professional development of teacher educators.
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