Investigating the Effects of Professional Practice Program on Teacher Education Students' Ability to Articulate Educational Philosophy

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes in pre-service student teachers' ability to articulate a philosophy education during the field experience. Educational philosophy change for the participants (77) was measured by using Jersin's scale. Evaluations of scores involved comparison of pre and post the training program. Descriptive and differential statistics; frequency distributions, percentages, Z test and Fisher's Exact Test were used to examine the independence of the distribution of students on educational philosophies. The findings revealed that students' ability to articulate a philosophy of education did improve. A Fisher's Exact Test revealed statistically significant differences between pre and post-test scores in the distribution of students in Progressivism and Essentialism philosophies. The Z test results revealed that there are statistical significant change in Progressivism and Essentialism in favor of Progressivism. In contrast to those philosophies, the number and percentages of students under Existentialism remains the same before and after the onset of the program.

On the basis of the study's findings, it was concluded that the practicum along with the treatment program had significantly assisted the reflection and articulation skills of student teachers who experienced it ,and its retention and expansion were recommended for pre-service teacher training.

Keywords: Teacher education, pre-service student teachers, educational philosophy, teachers' beliefs, professional practice programs

Introduction

Researchers and educators acknowledge the complexity involved in teaching and in learning to teach effectively (Kane; Sandretto & Heath (2002). Lincoln (1986,); Daresh, and Playko (1995); Nolan and Hoover (2008) indicated that authenticity and clarity in espousing a particular educational philosophy are the first important ingredients in effective teaching. Even more critical in developing a framework for successful teaching practice is an ability to analyze personal beliefs, attitudes, and values as components that form the basis of a personal educational philosophy (Kagan, 1992; Pajares, 1992; Morine-Dershimer & Kent, 1999). Witcher; Sewall; Arnold & Travers (2001) confirmed that there will always be a set of beliefs, attitudes and values (implicit or explicit) that guide teachers practice and reflects the teacher's educational philosophy in all aspects of the education process.

Researchers such as (Gerges, 2001; Pajares, 1992; Wilke, 2004) believed that teachers are required to make their teaching decisions on an explicit educational philosophy to improve the quality of educational outcomes. Emerging from this research is an understanding of the central role that teachers' personal philosophy plays in the development of teaching practice (Beswick, 2005). Articulating an educational philosophy is an extremely powerful activity for reviewing professional and personal values to determine how personal behavior actually matches the platform or philosophy of education. The different perceptions and assumptions that teachers have about the nature of people (learner), knowledge (the curricula) and existence of its various elements (the environment) have led to differences in their teaching practices which are interrelated with educational philosophies as mentioned in different educational sources, such as Ozmon and Carver (1995); Reed and Johnson (1996); Gutek, (1997); Knight, (1998); Nodding, (1998).

Pre-service teachers tend to have beliefs (implicit or explicit) about knowledge, learning, and teaching (pedagogical beliefs) that align with a philosophy of education (Weber & Mitchell,

1996). In this context, Glickman, Gordon and Gordon (1998) indicated that there are three major educational philosophies that are directly related to the teaching process. Those are Essentialism, Progressivism, and Existentialism. Philosophical principals and educational applications of those philosophies were fully discussed in the above resources. …