Source: Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Volume 16, Issue 2 May 2008 , pages 125 - 140
The purpose of the study was to report on the changing sources of support structures utilised by pre-service teachers during a series of school experiences (SEs). A sample of pre-service teachers was interviewed after their final SE. These students were in their last year of a four-year Bachelor of Education degree at a college in southern England. The interviews were semi-structured and focused on categories that originated from previous research. Sources of support were both formal (college tutors and teacher tutors) and informal (other pre-service teachers, host families and other teachers).
It appeared that the respondents moved from formal to informal sources of support as they progressed through the series of SEs. They particularly valued immediate professional support and advice from their teacher tutors and also the social support of their pre-service and teacher colleagues. This supports the view that learning to teach is a constructivist activity where novitiates move from peripheral participation on SE into a full community of practice (the world of teachers) as suggested by situated learning theory. A further theme that emerged was that of the split responsibility for assessment between college tutors and teacher tutors.