Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Volume 33, Issue 4, pages 391 – 404. (November 2010).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The current study presents perceptions of student teachers during their internship period, regarding various aspects of teaching and components of the teacher education program they were about to complete.
The purposes of the study were: (1) to examine the perceptions of student teachers, at the internship period of their training, regarding the teaching profession and the role of the teacher; (2) to examine the perception of student teachers, at the internship period of their training, regarding their teaching preparation and their identity as teachers.
The sample comprised 97 student teachers in their fourth year of studies for a BEd degree, in a Hebrew-speaking college in central Israel. 97% of the participants were females.
All were first-year novice teachers who participated in an internship program and attended a supervision training course at the college. 83% of the participants spoke Hebrew as a mother tongue, 9% spoke Russian as a mother tongue, 4% were native speakers of Arabic, and 4% were native speakers of other languages.
Data were collected through questionnaires which included both a structured and an open-ended part. The questionnaire measures the attitudes and perceptions of student teachers with regard to five aspects of the teaching profession and teacher education: (1) motivation for teaching, (2) conceptions of teaching-learning, (3) roles of teachers, (4) components of teacher education, and (5) agents of training.
Prominent among the findings regarding the motivational aspects of teaching, is a perception of the profession as granting intrinsic rewards. Teaching is perceived as according self-realisation, providing a sense of purpose and mission, and enabling lifelong development.
Furthermore, participants in this study enjoy a high level of self-efficacy in teaching: some 80% of graduates feel that they can successfully fulfill their teaching duties. The students also noted the improvement in their sense of self-efficacy as one of the major changes that took place during their training.
Another interesting finding in this study, which relates to the motivational aspect, was a low level of commitment to continue working as a teacher. Although graduates feel that teaching gives them intrinsic rewards and that they are capable of succeeding as teachers, only about half the graduates estimate that they will continue working as teachers in the near future.
In addition, the findings revealed that the component perceived as most important to the teacher's role is delivering universal values, followed by educating toward appropriate behavior and prevention of violence, and developing the pupils' unique personal abilities.
In contrast, the roles perceived as less important are imparting knowledge, helping pupils attain academic achievements, and leading social change.
Findings regarding perception of learning-teaching processes reveal a clear preference for a constructivist approach.
The present findings reveal that graduates perceive the practical work and the didactic classes as more important to their training than the classes on discipline subject matter or classes on education. Furthermore, both the didactic instructor and the mentor teacher are perceived as making a greater contribution than the subject-matter teachers and those who teach education and auxiliary subjects.