In Search of Teaching Quality of EFL Student Teachers through Teaching Practicum: Lessons from a Teacher Education Program

By Azkiyah, Siti Nurul; Mukminin, Amirul | CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, October 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

In Search of Teaching Quality of EFL Student Teachers through Teaching Practicum: Lessons from a Teacher Education Program


Azkiyah, Siti Nurul, Mukminin, Amirul, CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal


Introduction

A large number of studies have focused on the importance of the teaching profession and the quality of teaching. Those conducted by Creemers (1994), Darling-Hammond, (1997), Fullan (2001), Harris, (2002), Harris and Muijs (2005), and Van Der Werf, Creemers, De Jong, and Klaver (2000) for instance have shown that teachers are key players in any educational innovation. In other words, teachers facilitate the necessary knowledge, understanding, skills and value for the rewarding lives of their students (Bruinsma & Canrinus, 2012; Kyriacou, Hultgren, & Stephens, 1999; Lortie, 1975; Low, Lim, Ch'ng, & Goh, 2011; OECD, 2005; Richardson & Watt, 2006). Additionally, Richardson and Watt (2006) and the OECD (2005) address the fact that teachers play a key role in developing future generations who are expected to be self-directed learners, able and motivated to continue learning over their lifetimes. Therefore, it is crucial to pay attention to student teachers especially concerning their pedagogical or teaching competencies (to be referred to as 'teaching quality') because they are future teachers. In addition, compared to other factors, such as teachers' beliefs, teachers' teaching experience, and teachers' knowledge, teaching quality has been found to explain differences in student achievement (Creemers & Kyriakides, 2008; Muijs & Reynolds, 2010). Thus, investigating this competence is significant, also because it provides a fundamental basis for determining some recommendations especially for teacher training institutes to better prepare their graduates, particularly in the context of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) student teachers.

Moreover, existing studies on student teachers focus more on professional identity (e.g. Cattley, 2007) and student teachers' beliefs, attitudes and expectation (e.g. Chan, 2004; Garmon, 2004; Shinde & Karekkati, 2012; Zheng, 2009). In line with classroom activities, previous studies on student teachers have emphasised the strategies of assessment such as the promotion of reflective teaching (e.g. Astika, 2014; Lee, 2007). Thus, information on the teaching quality of student teachers remains unclear. However, based on systematically search internet resources, abstracts and databases including ERIC, academic Search Elite, Libris, Google Scholar, and journal sources such as Emerald, Sage, Science Direct, and Open DOAR, to date, in Indonesian contexts, not much research effort has been devoted to examine the teaching quality of student teachers, especially when they take teaching practicum except for Sulistiyo, Mukminin, Abdurrahman, and Haryanto (2017) who found that teaching practicums 'provided suitable but limited experience for student teachers to translate their knowledge learnt at university into the real practice of teaching at school levels' (p. 712).

Additionally, Zeichner (2010) pointed out that the teaching practicum is one of the most critical components of teacher education that affects the quality of teachers. The teaching practicum is important for bridging the gap between what student teachers have learnt in the program and the reality of teaching practice in schools (Darling-Hammond, 2006). The purpose of this study was to investigate the teaching quality of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) student teachers when they conducted their teaching practicum.

The Context of the Study

Indonesia, as the context of the study, adopts a 6-3-3-4 school-based education system consisting of six years of primary, three years of junior high, and three years of senior high school, and four years of tertiary education (undergraduate degree). As stated in MoNE (2013), the Indonesian government has declared a system of a nine-year basic education since 1994, which stipulates that all children aged between 7 and 15 years should obtain a basic education containing primary and junior secondary school education. Senior secondary schooling and tertiary education have two paths: general and technical/vocational school education, while higher education is an extension of secondary education consisting of academic and professional education. …

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