Year: 1992


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This study is an extension of a previous study (Fogarty et al. 1987) that investigated student teacher stress in practice teaching for final year pre-service students in one teacher education program. Stage two set out to discover whether the patterns of stress were similar or different for subsequent third year groups and across different year levels of the one programme. To carry out the study, the team was funded from a competitive research grant from the Queensland Board of Teacher Education. The initial study was prompted by verbal indications that some students were experiencing stress related to their involvement in practice teaching. Results confirmed this to be the case for final year students in a three year pre-service diploma course. The analysis of responses to an initial open-ended questionnaire showed that there were forty stressors that produced stress for some students at least. These stressors were then incorporated into the final questionnaire which was distributed to 95 students at the Carseldine Campus of Brisbane C.A.E. (now Queensland University of Technology). The questionnaire was designed to measure both the frequency and the degree of stress caused by the forty stressors. The results showed a wide range of student response to the potency of various stressors and the stressor causing the most stress in practice teaching was 'heavy workload'. Factor analysis of the questionnaire produced five interpretable factors for practice teaching. The factors, ranked in order of their stressfulness from high to low, were:- overload, role ambiguity, relationships with school, busy work, and, interaction with children. These results indicated that it might be necessary to adopt strategies to reduce these stress levels but before embarking on such a process it was deemed necessary to confirm that the findings were not unique to a single cohort of third year students. The follow-up study was designed to investigate this issue and at the same time find out if the stressors experienced by third year students were significant for students across the three years of their diploma course.