An Evaluation of the Aims of the Faculty School Partnership Sheme by Mathematics Student Teachers and Their Mentors

Article excerpt

After the radical change of the teacher training programs in Turkey the partnership process started to become the area of interest among the teacher training community. In the new model the idea is the mutual learning between mentor and student teachers as an essential element for both the growth of the student teacher and the professional development of the mentor teacher. The aim of this study is to investigate how the mentor teachers and student teachers evaluate the aims of the partnership scheme, in regard to how they perceive these aims are relevant for the three actors in the process: student teachers, mentors and faculty supervisors. Data was collected from 146 student and 34 mentor teachers of mathematics within 2004-2007 periods with the APQ questionnaire and was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. Findings indicate that the attitudes of student teachers and mentors are negative in general towards the process. Student teachers see their benefits as coming after those of the faculty supervisors. Mentors view themselves as having the least benefits from the process. Possible reasons for these trends were discussed under the light of the research literature.

Keywords: Mathematics Education, Faculty School Partnership; Student Teaching; Mentoring, Teacher Education; Professional Development.


The Context of the Study

Reform in Turkey on the teacher training programs (Koc, et al., 1998) implied a radical change from the past teacher training practice by increasing the quality of the training of teachers of subject matter by developing a new curriculum which redefines the role of departments of subject matter teaching (e.g. teaching mathematics). This brought forward the design of new courses focusing towards equipping future teachers with skills of teaching in their own area and obviously such courses is to be given by the people who knows 'mathematics' and 'education' equally well.

The courses introduced by the current program can be grouped into three main categories: courses about the subject such as mathematics; general pedagogical courses (e.g. introduction to education), and courses that pertain to the teaching methods and practices of the subject (e.g. teaching mathematics). The practical component of this final category includes the field courses that are named as 'school experience' and 'teaching practice' given in the final semesters which are framed in the faculty-school partnership scheme. In these courses students are required to observe the practices of school teacher and do practice teaching in the actual environment of the real classroom under the mentorship of the school teachers and guidance of their faculty supervisors in a collaborative manner. In this period teacher trainees spend a total of 10 hours per week in the school (4+6) and three hours in the faculty for feedback (1+2), whereas in the old program there were only three hours of practice teaching all take place in the school with no feedback hour in the faculty. This is a radical improvement both in terms of quantity (hours spent in school) and quality.

The aim of these courses is to provide opportunities for the trainee teachers to observe and practice the skills and knowledge they learned from the courses and from the teaching of experienced teachers. The faculty supervisors provide a theoretical basis for the skill that the trainee teachers are expected to develop. They also provide and explain the tools for classroom observation. These observation tools are in the form of either semi open or structured questions or about the events related to the skill under consideration. For example, an open ended question may ask from the trainees to write a small paragraph about what they see after the first few minutes of the lesson just after the teacher enters the classroom. Trainee teachers, then go to the schools makes the assigned observations. …


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