Learning to teach: A snapshot of second-year education students

Year: 1994

Author: Campbell-Evans, Glenda, Maloney, Carmel

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The process of learning to teach has traditionally taken place in training institutions where students undertake a standard teacher education course that aims to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes relevant for the task of teaching. This learning provides a foundation that integrates with the practice component of the training. The degree of success of this integration has long been a contentious issue for teacher educators and students alike. Where and how do students' knowledge and skill of teaching develop? More specifically, this research addresses two questions: what knowledge of content and pedagogy is demonstrated through students' classroom practice, and what do their actions in the classroom tell us about their understanding of teaching?

This research focuses on a sample of second-year Faculty of Education students completing a three-year Bachelor of Arts (Education) course. Data were collected from observation of the students in the classroom, written feedback about the specifics of the lesson, and individual and group interviews focused on general issues related to the practice. An interview schedule guided the interviews which were taped and transcribed verbatim. Issues emerging from the preliminary analysis include evidence of students' limited pedagogical content knowledge, reliance on teacher guidance and input, and preoccupation with personal survival. These findings have implications for teacher educators concerned with the nature of preservice teacher education courses.