Identifying the developmental phases encountered by beginning teachers during an internship.

Year: 2001

Author: Cameron, Robert

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Throughout the 1990's there have been reports world-wide that have requested teacher education programs to closely consider their courses for beginning teachers in better preparing them for the world of teaching and in providing the teaching profession with competent practitioners. Internships were seen as a possible means of achieving this and providing teaching with the practitioners to fulfil the pre-requisites of a beginning teacher. The question remained though, how do we know that the graduates of a teacher education program are " ready to teach" and to play their part as a team member in the education of children? This paper investigates the developmental phases encountered by beginning teachers through their involvement in an internship program. This internship is a component of an initial teacher education course at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. The paper describes the nature of the research and reports the results of a five-year study of the internship program. This research identifies four developmental phases through which interns progress over their 10 -week internship experience. Each phase is identified and explained utilising the range of data available. These data were collected utilising qualitative methodologies including focus groups, intern reflective journals, and semi-structured interviews with participants and field notes of intern classroom practices and behaviours collected during the internship. A process of triangulation was utilised to confirm, describe and interrogate the patterns and relationships identified in the data and to understand the phases of intern development. This paper will contribute to the literature about beginning teaching and the role that an internship approach can play in providing the teaching profession with competent beginning teachers.