An analysis of the development of teacher belief constructs during teaching practice and in the novice year of teaching : a case study of English language teachers in the Malaysian context
If you ask a group of people "What are the qualities of a good teacher?" they are more likely to say that a teacher must be knowledgeable, compassionate, firm and fair. If you ask the same group of people "How do we prepare teachers to have all those good qualities?" you are more likely to get as many suggestions as there are people in the group. We all seem to agree on the quality teacher we want but we are less in agreement about the ways in which we might achieve those objectives. Over the years several models of teacher education have been suggested. These models testify to the continuous search for the best way to prepare teachers. There are varying viewpoints on whether teachers are better prepared if they spend more time in school so that their knowledge is acquired through practical means or whether teachers should receive sufficient knowledge on campus studies before they are let loose. What is sufficient theoretical and practical knowledge for the beginning teacher anyway? Do we know enough about how the participant on the teaching program makes sense of the knowledge acquired from the program when against his/her life experiences? This study explores the process of learning to teach by eight young women on the B.Ed degree link program as they prepare themselves to become English language teachers for secondary schools in Malaysia. The study follows their progress as they make the transition to beginning teachers. Specifically, the study explores the construct of their beliefs about teaching and learning prior to teaching practice, during teaching practice and in the post-training situation. Discussion of the findings from this longitudinal study is followed by recommendations for improving the preservice program and the support for beginning teachers in the novice year of teaching.