“I Came with a Notebook and Pens”: A Study of Student Teachers’ Perceptions about Learning
It goes without saying that learning is a central axis of teacher education programs. As future teachers, it is important that students understand their own learning and learning processes. As teacher educators, understanding our students' thoughts about learning helps us help them achieve their professional development goals. Examining these thoughts in light of our educational intentions helps us learn about ourselves and continue our own professional development as teacher educators.
At the end of the first year of a two-year program our students prepare a “middle of the road” summative journal entry where they are asked to step back and look at their learning journey in light of the ongoing portfolio they assembled during the year. Through narrative analysis of approximately 40 of these journal entries, we explore our students’ perceptions of their own learning and that of others. Our research looks at questions such as what do they think learning is all about after a year in the program? How do they view their own learning processes and learning preferences? What do they think about pupil learning? How are these issues connected?
Our analysis also allows us to better understand the learning processes they have experienced during the year. For example, a process of 'unlearning' can be identified in the following statements describing students' reactions to their first encounters with the program:
"The first day I came equipped with a notebook and pens. It wasn’t what I expected to learn and write. It’s all talking … then I started asking questions."
"I always thought that academic learning was when everyone sits and listens to the lecturers and acquires the necessary knowledge."
This presentation will look at our students' insights about learning which will be discussed in light of our educational intentions.
Keywords: Teacher Education, Narrative Analysis, Learning about Learning
Dr. Bobbie Turniansky
Teacher Educator, ACE Program, Kaye Academic College of Education
Dr. Smadar Tuval
Teacher and Counselor Educator, ACE Program