UBC Theses and Dissertations
English as a second language (ESL) student teachers’ perceptions of change in their practical knowledge over the course of a 20-hour practicum Cook, Melodie Lorie
Although studies in student teachers' perceptions of change in their practical knowledge over the course of a teaching practicum have been undertaken, almost no studies exist reporting perceptions of change by student teachers in the field of English as a Second Language (ESL). One study researching such changes in ESL student teachers' practical knowledge, over a sixteen-week period, found that changes occurred in student teachers' abilities to set up and carry out lessons, use classroom space, select content, and treat student errors. Another study, using dialogue journals as a method of data collection, found that over a tenweek practicum period, student teachers reported changes in their perceptions of methods and activities, teaching techniques, and lesson organization. The present study seeks to add to the body of knowledge in this area by investigating the changes which occurred in five ESL student teachers' perceptions of their practical knowledge over the course of a 20- hour practicum. It also describes these student teachers' comments as to how aspects of the teaching course content and practicum might have been developed or expanded to facilitate their practicum experiences. The study found that changes in teachers' perceptions of their practical knowledge occurred in different areas, depending on such agents as student-sponsor teacher relationships, rapport with students, and experiences during the practicum period. Absence of change was attributed to several factors, among them, that some of the scaled items used for data collection may have been exclusively applicable to elementary and secondary school classrooms, as well as the short nature of the practicum. Expectations of the student teachers in their practicum settings is also another factor affecting absence of change. All of the student teachers thought that modifications to the course content (i.e., a more practical and less theoretical focus), and a lengthening of the practicum component would have been beneficial in heightening their feelings of competence and confidence in teaching. Further studies should attempt to document changes in student teachers' perceptions, matching them with actual teaching abilities perceived through the practicum period, by way of participant-observation, interviews with student teachers, sponsor teachers, practicum supervisors, and ESL students. Research regarding sponsor-student teacher relationships and gender is also recommended.
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