Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Prospective Teachers' Beliefs and Perceptions about Teaching as a Profession

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Prospective Teachers' Beliefs and Perceptions about Teaching as a Profession

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate how of a group of prospective teachers' beliefs and perceptions about teaching (as a profession) change as they complete a teacher education program offered by the Curriculum and Instruction Department at an Eastern U.S. University. Considering the fact that there is quite a difference between prospective teachers' entering and exiting perceptions and beliefs about teaching as a profession, there exists a need to provide new insight into the reasons causing this difference. The findings indicate that field experiences gave the prospective teachers the opportunity to modify their self-perceptions about teaching careers.

Key Words

Prospective Teacher Beliefs; Prospective Teacher perceptions; Teaching Practicum; Teacher Education Programs; Negative Experiences.

What are prospective teachers' beliefs about teaching as a profession as they enter teacher education programs? How are these beliefs and perceptions impacted by the field experiences they have in their program of study? How do prospective teachers frame the concept of teaching as they enter or exit their programs of study? These kinds of questions have been asked many times in the literature (Ezer, Gilat, & Sagee, 2011). The story of how prospective teachers experience teacher education programs begins with a questioning of who they are and what beliefs they bring to their training. The answers to such questions evolves over time as prospective teachers progress through teacher education programs, which in return may impact teachers' beliefs and perceptions about teaching. Regardless of what beliefs prospective teachers hold, one may wonder about the extent to which prospective teachers' initial beliefs are subject to change by the experiences they gain in teacher education programs, especially those related to subsequent field experiences gained during teaching practice. For example, as prospective teachers begin their field experiences (as outsiders coming into the field), the ideas they have about teaching and schooling may differ from what they think about the teaching profession after their field experiences because during their field experiences, they become players in the classroom (either as a teacher or as a participant observer) and they see to what extent the theory they learn about in courses matches with the practice. The difference between entering and exiting beliefs may also be because prospective teachers may not consider "teaching[as a] complex process that begins and ends with students" (Enerson, 1997, p. 12), whereas field experiences give them the opportunity to think about and experience different parts of classroom teaching. In other words, with the help of field experiences, they have a better awareness of the complex dynamics of the classroom (Collier, 1999; Çakmakci, 2009). Therefore, investigating the impact of this transition from being a prospective teacher in a teacher education program to a prospective teacher in the field has the potential to inform educators about what to do to ease this transition process.

Purpose

1. What are participant prospective teachers' beliefs about choosing teaching as a profession as they begin field experiences?

2. What specific experiences impact the participant prospective teachers' beliefs and perceptions as they both progress through and complete their field experiences in their program of study?

Considering the fact that there is quite a difference between prospective teachers' entering and exiting perceptions and beliefs about teaching as a profession, there exists a need to provide new insight into the reasons causing this difference. Identifying the nature of this gap may not only allow educators to get clues about how to close it but may also enable them to revise field experience courses currently being offered within colleges of education to increase the quality of teacher education programs.

Relevant Literature

Traditionally, student teaching has been seen as the bridge between theory and practice. …

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