Student-teachers' perspectives on positive and negative social processes in school

Aug. 15, 2007

Source: Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Volume 13, Issue 4 August 2007, pages 399 - 410

In recent years, the Standards for Qualified Teacher Status in England have placed new emphasis on student-teachers' ability to become integrated into the 'corporate life of the school' and to work with other professionals. Little research, however, has been carried out into how student-teachers perceive the social processes and interactions that are central to such integration during their initial teacher education school placements. This study aims to shed light on these perceptions.

The data, gathered from 23 student-teachers through interviews and reflective writing, illustrate the extent to which the participants perceived such social processes as supporting or obstructing their development as teachers. Signals of inclusion, the degree of match or mismatch in students' and school colleagues' role expectations, and the social awareness of both school and student-teacher emerged as crucial factors in this respect. The student-teachers' accounts show their social interactions with school staff to be meaningful in developing their 'teacher self' and to be profoundly emotionally charged. The implications for mentor and student-teacher role preparation are discussed in this article.

Updated: Mar. 14, 2008