10 SES 12 B, Research on Programmes and Pedagogical Approaches in Teacher Education
School practicum is an area of interest for researchers, teacher educators and teachers (Lawson et al., 2015). Therefore, a large number of research studies have focused on the importance of the teaching practicum and its various aspects. Researchers state that the teaching practicum is one of the crucial elements of teacher education programs. Zeichner (2010; cited in Azkiyahi and Mukminin, 2017) pointed out that the teaching practicum is one of the most critical components of teacher education regarding the quality of teachers. In the teaching practicum context, new teachers can implement theoretical ideas learnt during their coursework in teaching practicums even though they may face difficulties when circumstances differ from their expectations (Gilliland, 2018). The teaching practicum is aimed to build student teachers’ pedagogical competence by providing opportunities for them to apply knowledge, skills, and values they have learntr in the classroom as Azkiyahi and Mukminin (2017) stated. Previous studies on teaching practice (i.e. Castañeda-Trujillo & Aguirre-Hernández, 2018; Busher, Gunduz, Cakmak & Lawson, 2015; Kroll, 2004; MacDonald, 1993) have examined the issue from different perspectives. However, it has been observed that there is not much focus on evaluating the teaching practice in a holistic way. Ferreira (2009) suggests, based on Duke & Stiggins (1997), that the evaluation of teachers in the teaching practicum should include a review of the following areas as most integral to the teaching profession: pedagogical, professional, organizational and personal. Even though it is difficult to see the whole picture of the practicum, this piece of research aimed to present a holistic evaluation of teaching practicum based on pre-service teachers’ viewpoints.
In qualitative research, it is extremely important for participants to value their own understanding of their experiences (Arshavskaya, 2016). In other words, ‘qualitative’ methods are used to answer questions about experience, meaning and perspective, most often from the standpoint of the participant, as emphasized by Hammarberg, Kirkman and Lacey (2016). The participants of this research were 4th year pre-service teachers (n=58) from the Education Faculty of a state university in Ankara, Turkey. Qualitatively designed research was carried out in two stages. In the first phase, participants were given open-ended questions reflecting their experiences and observations during the teaching process of the study. The participants were asked to answer the questions at a suitable time. The open-ended questions were as follows: 1.What are the aspects you find most useful in teaching? 2. What were your strongest and weakest sides in the teaching practice? 3. What were the most important benefits of observing teachers at the school during the teaching practice? 4. What were the most important benefits of monitoring the teaching practice process with other teacher candidates? 5. What were the most important contributions of students to you in the process of teaching practicum? What were the most important contributions of the university teacher to you in the process of teaching practicum? 6. What are your expectations from the teaching practice process? 6. What are your suggestions for the teaching practice process? After this stage, ten volunteers were interviewed. The aim of the interviews was to provide an insight into the views of the participants. Content analysis was utilized in this study since qualitative research contributes to an understanding of the human condition in different contexts and of a perceived situation as indicated by Bengtsson (2016). In the analysis process, data from open-ended questions and from the interviews were analyzed separately. In the text analysis for the questions, the coding was completed first, followed by the creation of categories. Coding is a way of mapping data as Elliott (2018) suggested. Each question was analyzed individually, and as a result of the analysis, a holistic assessment study was performed which reflected the views of the candidates on teaching practice.
The teacher candidates in the study stated that the most important dimension which improved them in the process of teaching was being in a real classroom environment. They also reported that it was beneficial for them to share their experiences with other teacher candidates. While the teacher candidates differed in the ways they perceived themselves to be strong and weak in their teaching practice, their expectations from this process pointed to some common points. The prospective teachers were more likely to be in a real classroom setting, and observing the classroom environment was beneficial for them. In addition, they stated different expectations regarding other stakeholders, the mentors, students and the university teachers. Based on the data obtained from the research, a model reflecting a holistic assessment of teaching practice based on the opinions of prospective teachers was developed. The study is expected to make important contributions to researchers working in the field by discussing the results in relation to teacher education, comparing the results with other research findings and evaluating them.
Arshavskaya, E. (2016) "Complexity in mentoring in a pre-service teacher practicum: a case study approach", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 5(1),2-19, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-07-2015-0021. Azkiyahi S.N. and Mukminin, A. (2017) In Search of Teaching Quality of EFL Student Teachers through Teaching Practicum: Lessons from a Teacher Education Program, C E P S Journal, 7 (4). Bengtsson, M. (2016) How to plan and perform a qualitative study using content analysis, Nursing Plus Open (2), 8–14. Busher,H.; Gunduz, M.; Cakmak, M. & Lawson, T. (2015) Student teachers’ views of practicums (teacher training placements) in Turkish and English contexts: a comparative study, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 45:3, 445-466, DOI: 10.1080/03057925.2014.930659. Castañeda-Trujillo, J. E., & Aguirre-Hernández, A. J. (2018). Pre-service English teachers’ voices about the teaching practicum. HOW, 25(1), 156-173. https://doi.org/10.19183/how.25.1.420. Elliot, V. (2018) Thinking about the coding process in qualitative data analysis. The Qualitative Report, 23(11), 2850-2861. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol23/iss11/14 Ferreira, C. R. (2009) Evaluation in the Teaching Practicum of the English Program at the Universidad de la Amazonía, Profile Issues in Teachers` Professional Development, Profile no.11 Bogotá Jan./Apr. Gilliland, B. (2018) Teacher research during an international practicum, ELT Journal, 72 (3), 260–273. Hammarberg, K., Kirkman, M. & de Lacey, S. (2016) Qualitative research methods: when to use them and how to judge them, Human Reproduction, 31 (3), 498–501. Kroll, L. (2004) Constructing Constructivism: How Student Teachers Construct Ideas of Development, Knowledge, Learning and Teaching. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice 10 (2), 201–221. Lawson,T.; Çakmak, M.; Gündüz, M. & Busher, H. (2015) Research on teaching practicum – a systematic review, European Journal of Teacher Education, 38:3, 392-407, DOI: 10.1080/02619768.2014.994060 MacDonald, C. J. (1993). Coping with stress during the teaching practicum: The student teacher's perspective. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 39(4), 407-418.
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