10 SES 05 C, Reflectivity in Teacher Education
Teaching practice contributes to pre-service teachers’ development in several aspects (Beck & Kosnik, 2002; Brooks, 2006; Burton, 1998). Practicing in the field provides opportunity for pre-service teachers to use the theoretical knowledge they acquired through their education.
There are various studies investigating pre-service teachers majoring in different fields of science which focus on their views about teaching practice courses (Boz & Boz, 2006; Oksuz & Cevik, 2014; Yenilmez & Ata, 2012). Many of them emphasize the suggestions about how to conduct teaching practice course from the perspective of pre-service teachers, mentor teachers, and/ or supervisor teacher in the faculty. However, pre-service teachers' first teaching practices have been overlooked by the researchers. We emphasize first teaching practice as it is officially the first and usually an unforgettable experience among pre-service teachers' teaching experiences. It is known that pre-service teachers usually attribute an emotional meaning to their first teaching practice which has an important role on their future carrier. From this point of view, in order to focus on the very first experience, the aim of this study was to investigate self-reflections of pre-service elementary mathematics teachers on their experiences at the collaborating school.
It was considered necessary to report some of the definitions of important terms used in this study. The following definitions were explained constitutively in order to provide clear understanding for the readers.
Pre-service elementary mathematics teachers (PEMTs): PEMTs were the seniors at a private university in Turkey majoring in Elementary Mathematics Education (EME). PEMTs spent six hours a week under the supervision of mentor teachers at collaborating schools in the context of Teaching Practice course. They also attended the faculty meetings two hours a week to share their observations and experiences about their teaching practices. PEMTs were teacher candidates who are going to teach mathematics students at fifth to eighth grade after the graduation.
EGT 406 Practice Teaching course: EGT 406 is a compulsory course for undergraduate students including teaching practice at collaborating schools for six hours a week during the semester. The course requires class observation, active participation to educational activities, planning and designing lesson plans, and preparation for teaching.
Aim of the study:
Pre-service teachers, before flying solo in a classroom as in-service teachers, are given opportunities to develop their teaching skills through observing their mentor teachers, preparing course materials, taking on at least one instructional responsibility by themselves, and experiencing about how to control the classroom in the context of Teaching Practice course (Allen & Wright, 2014). Such experiences are valuable for pre-service teachers as they might affect their future experiences whether positively or negatively. In order to meet positive outcomes from teaching experience, reflections taken from pre-service teachers are considered as having an important role as they give opportunity to monitor their own teaching process. With those reflections, PEMTs are able to identify and correct any unexpected teaching behaviors. Thus, enabling pre-service teachers to reflect about their own experiences was the main concern of this study. From this perspective, the aim of this study was to reveal pre-service elementary mathematics teachers' self-reflections regarding their first teaching practices at collaborating schools. Based on this aim, the research question was identified as follows. What are the pre-service elementary mathematics teachers' self-reflections about their first teaching practice at collaborating schools within the context of EGT 406 Teaching Practice course?
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