A Comparative Investigation of Student Teacher and Mentor Beliefs During Teaching Practice

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This paper will present the results of comparative research focusing on student teachers’ beliefs and mentors’ beliefs during teaching practice. This research was part of the evaluation of the Teaching Practice course which is offered to final year students of the Faculty of English Studies of the University of Athens within the framework of the Pre-Service EFL Teacher Education Programme that the Faculty offers.
Research has repeatedly shown that student teachers have well entrenched beliefs and attitudes about teaching and expectations about the role of the teacher which have been formed on the basis of their own experiences as pupils and images of “good” teachers (apprenticeship of observation). These inherent beliefs are stable and act as filters through which student teachers interpret new information and approach classroom practice. Their beliefs strongly influence their own developing practice and what and how student teachers learn during teacher education programmes. Research has shown that practice teaching experiences may help student teachers in modifying their preconceived ideas about teaching and classroom instruction when encouraged by experienced mentor teachers to confront and reflect on their beliefs. But mentor beliefs need to be compatible with the aims of the pre-service teacher education programme in order to positively influence student teacher beliefs. The research thus sought to investigate the compatibility of student teacher and mentor beliefs and the extent to which these were in line with principles of the pre-service teacher education programme. Student teachers’ and mentor’ beliefs were investigated through questionnaires administered to 100 students before and their mentors after teaching practice. The results of the questionnaires were particularly revealing as regards the effect of the experienced mentor teachers and the school culture on student teacher’s beliefs and provide useful insights for the design of teacher education programmes.

Keywords: Student-teacher Beliefs, Knowledge, Mentors, Teaching Practice, Teacher Education, Life Long Learning
Stream: Teacher Training and Professional Development
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Comparative Investigation of Student Teacher and Mentor Beliefs During Teaching Practice, A

Dr. Evdokia Karavas

Lecturer, Faculty of English Studies
Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Athens

Athens, Greece

Evdokia Karavas holds a doctorate from the University of Warwick where she specialized in the evaluation of ELT curricula, educational research methods and English language teacher education. She is a lecturer in the Faculty of English Studies at the University of Athens and co-coordinator of the Pre-service teacher education programme. She also tutor for the Hellenic Open University on the MA programme in ELT where she teaches the Course design and Evaluation module. She has also coordinated the development of and co-authored material for open and distance learning of the Hellenic Open University. Within the wider context of the research, evaluation and development work for the Greek state language proficiency exams known as KPG, Dr Karavas has been responsible for the development and design of speaking module of the KPG in English and is now responsible for the training of oral examiners and markers for the KPG exam. She has taken part in conferences within and outside Greece and her research interests include curriculum/ programme evaluation, EFL didactics, educational research methods, teacher education and development. She has publications in these areas in local and international journals.

Dr. Mary Drossou

Adjunct lecturer, Faculty of English Studies
Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Athens

Athens, Greece

MARIA (MARY) DROSSOU. Μ.Α. in Language and Linguistics (University of York, England), Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics (Faculty of English Studies of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She has carried out research in Greece, England and the USA. She has participated in many conferences and symposia held in Greece and abroad and she has served on committees of conferences organized by the Faculty. Since 2002 she is a teaching associate in the above Faculty, where she has been teaching for many years as a postgraduate student, a visiting research scholar and as a special collaborator in the initial teacher-training programme of the Faculty. She has extensive experience in the development and evaluation of teaching materials and educational software for the teaching of English as a foreign language. Her research interests and publications include discourse studies, particularly advertising discourse and she is involved with ELT pedagogy, as well as self-access learning and the use of new technologies in ELT. Finally, since 2001 she is a member of the research project team for the English language proficiency national exams (KPG). Her more recent publications are the articles: “Periphery viewing the world: Myths about language” Proceedings of the 4th International Conference of the Hellenic Association of English Studies (HASE) 2004 and “The use of L1 in the EFL class” Proceedings of the International Conference of the Greek Applied Linguistics Association (GALA) 2006.

Ref: L09P0347