Voices from the coalface - Student perceptions of implementing a TPA

Year: 2019

Author: Galstaun, Vilma, Cotton, Wayne, Brownlee, Patrick

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Using the Life Course model of project development, this paper is grounded in the implementation phase and considers the voices of our pre-service teachers as we move towards sustainable approaches to incorporate the AfGT into our initial teacher education programs. The current climate in teacher preparedness focuses on a final capstone assessment for pre-service teachers to demonstrate that they are classroom ready upon graduation. Voices of pre-service teachers (PST) in the introduction and implementation of a teaching performance assessment (TPA) are sometimes neglected as institutions move towards developing their organisational structures and systems to comply with the demands of accreditation for initial teacher education. Educational reform and high stakes assessments mandate standards for teacher quality, thereby designating assessments and initiatives that will assure standards that need to be attained. However, researchers such as Friedman, Galligan Albano and O’Connor (2009) claim that our pre-service teachers’ voices are often excluded from the power-brokering conversations that mandate what they are to teach and how they model this teaching for their future classrooms. Many mandated initiatives see our PSTs as passive recipients of these changes (Cochran-Smith and Lytle 1994; Fullan and Hargreaves 1996), where they quite often feel afraid, incompetent and powerless in affecting the decisions that are made around the assessment of their teaching performance (Friedman et al., 2006). It is therefore important for pre-service teachers to be included in these processes for program change and implementation so that their participation in these activities are included and operationalised to assist in changing mindsets and minimising some of the resisting forces.

This paper explores the students’ voices as they engage with the AfGT as a preparation instrument for achieving classroom readiness. The importance in hearing the voices from the coalface provides us with engaged and motivated students who are informed and respected as part of the process of our implementation activities.