Student teachers in Singapore: Impact of early field experiences

Year: 2012

Author: Lim, Kam Ming, Hui, Chenri

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Early field experiences (EFE) that occur at an early stage after entry into teacher education programmes is regarded a critical phase that could have significant implications for the development of student teachers' knowledge and skills, as well as their beliefs on teaching and learning. The purpose of this study is to examine the role and learning outcomes of two types of EFEs of 16 student teachers in a 1-year Posgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) programme in the National Institute of Education, Singapore (NIE). The two types of EFE occur before and after the student teachers' commencement of their initial teacher education programmes.  This presentation will briefly review recent literature on EFE in teacher education programmes. Features of the NIE EFE will be described. It is not the goal of this study to compare the effectiveness of the two types of EFE; rather the goal is to examine the role they play in the overall learning experience of student teachers and the learning outcomes associated with them. Therefore, this study investigates two questions: 1) What are students' overall experiences of EFE? 2) What do the students learn from EFE? Semi-structured interviews regarding EFE were conducted with the 16 student teachers and qualitative techniques were applied to analyze the data. Results indicated that providing early field experiences prior to their formal entry into the initial teacher education programme is beneficial and help student teachers' development of knowledge, skills and teaching beliefs. Finally, recommendations are provided for designing early field experiences in ways that maximize the impact of the experiences on student teachers' perceptions, knowledge and skills toward their future role as teachers.