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Title: An examination of student teachers' concerns, experiences & perceptions about teaching practice opportunities in one Libyan university
Author: Khmag, Khulod Abulghasem
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 1824
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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Teacher Education in Libya has been struggling for decades now. Teacher Education institutions in particular, teachers, have been criticized for the way student teachers are prepared for teaching (Swuaed, 2014; Batilmal, 2012) and some have been blamed for pupils' underachievement. As a teacher educator at Azzawia University in Libya, the researcher had always been intrigued to learn how teacher education courses were being organised and taught since she herself graduated from Azzawia University without any type of practical teacher training. After the daunting experience of having to teach herself how to teach, the researcher wondered how other university students felt and thought about their teacher education courses. Thus, the researcher decided to speak informally with a number of students and university colleagues in the Department of English at the School of Education in Azzawia University about the nature of the teacher education course. Colleagues expressed concerns about the current ways in which the teacher education course was organized (in particular during Year 4) and had doubts about whether the sequence of the programme was arranged appropriately. They argued that what the School of Education lacked was an effective teacher education programme, which would equip student teachers with sufficient pedagogical knowledge and practice experience in order to teach effectively, and thus achieve positive outcomes for pupils. During the interactions, student teachers also expressed their frustration about what they saw as too much emphasis by university tutors on the 'theory' of becoming teachers and insufficient if any persisting emphasis on more practical elements and school-based teaching opportunities in the programme. This concern heightened the researcher's interest in investigating the development of greater school-based experiences for pre-service teachers. By this, the researcher found it necessary to first, examine student teachers' concerns, perceptions & experiences during a teaching practice placement opportunity. Second, to reflect on the implications of the findings of this research study, to determine the extent to which these can improve the teacher education provision at the target university in addition to other universities around Libya by reviewing the programme aims, scope and sequence. By conducting such research, student teachers might possibly have a smoother transition into the classroom, find their coursework more relevant and beneficial, and may be able to transfer more of their university-based learning into the classroom. There is no doubt that research that provides data on Libyan student teachers' concerns, perceptions and experiences of their ITE and examines their levels of preparedness and confidence to undertake the task of teaching in schools in Libya, will hopefully make a major contribution to the underdeveloped area of research related to teacher education in Initial Teacher Education programmes in Libya and provide new ideas and perspectives to restructure and reform initial teacher education programmes in Libya. In this research study, a mixed methods approach was adopted, using interviews, a questionnaire and observations as means of collecting data from the research participants. Quantitative data was gathered from one cohort of 40 (originally 150) student teachers from the English department using a 'Teacher Concerns Questionnaire' and then tracked in-depth, four student teachers' development journey through some school-based teaching opportunities across a period of 7 weeks (originally 12 weeks), encompassing their experiences within the school environment, their feelings about teaching practice (TP) and teaching and overall their feelings of preparedness to become teachers. Qualitative data was gathered from four target student teacher participants, who were considered as mini-case studies in this research, through interviews conducted prior, during and after observations and student teaching lessons during the teaching practice placement. Findings showed despite the positive experiences encountered during the teaching practice experience, classroom management and pupil behaviour were consistent challenges and impacted upon student teachers' lessons and development. Results showed that student teachers had idealistic views and expectations of what they expected to find prior to entering schools. A major conclusion was how student teachers were made to feel so unwelcomed and isolated in school by staff and school teachers in addition to occasionally being undermined by school teachers who refused to view them as real teachers. Another major conclusion from this study was amidst all the challenges (internal posed by the school and external through the conflict), student teachers were genuinely upset that teaching practice had to come to an end and felt the need to spend more time in schools. This is a clear indication of their determination and resilience towards learning to become teachers. Another conclusion from this was that the Teacher Concerns Questionnaire could be applied within an Arabic context, in this case Libya. A brief example, for instance, the results from the TCQ conducted on the Libyan research participants showed that the strength of concerns for classroom management and pupil behaviour increased across survey results and persisted on even after securing teaching posts in private sectors. This might suggest that more applied attention to strategies to manage classroom management in the ITE programme in Libya are needed. The use of the TCQ and the results from the questionnaire could help in restructuring the Teacher Education Programme in Libya as it will assist in revealing what student teachers might be concerned with before and during their teacher education programme. Findings also showed that through student teacher's development during their ITE, student teachers learning occurred and changed over the period of teaching practice through trial and error (repetition of lessons), observation and modelling of the researcher in this case, problem solving (pupil behaviour) and making sense of theory learned at university once they started teaching practice.
Supervisor: Kinchin, Gary Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available