Supporting Presence in Teacher Education: The Connection between the Personal and Professional Aspects of Teaching

Feb. 24, 2009

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 25, Issue 2, February 2009, P. 297-308

The current study follows one individual student teacher during a period of one single school year in which she was supported in developing ‘presence’ while teaching. The notion of ‘presence’ was formulated by the teacher herself. It also coincides with the growing interest in this aspect in psychology and in theories about becoming a teacher. In her supervision, the so-called core reflection approach was used, which strongly builds on the concept of presence and on positive psychology. Based on analyses of audio taped supervisory sessions, six stages were identified in the teacher's development. These stages are described and related to theories about positive psychology and core reflection. The supervisor's interventions leading to the transitions between the stages were identified, analyzed, and related to key principles of core reflection. It appeared that the teacher's growth not only led to experiencing ‘presence’ while teaching, but also to a greater use of her personal qualities. Taken together, it appeared that after the supervision the teacher was much more ‘in flow’, and that she was more effective as a teacher. In this paper, both the teacher's growth and the supervisor's interventions are described in detail, and illustrated using quotations from supervisory sessions, logbooks, and interviews. A case is made for connecting professional and personal aspects in supervising student teachers.

Updated: Mar. 30, 2009