|Becoming a Primary School Teacher in Trinidad & Tobago, Part 2: Teaching Practice - Experience of Trainees (CIE, 2000, 54 p.)|
|Chapter 1: Background To The Study|
One of the main goals of teacher preparation programmes is to help trainees to develop into effective, practising teachers. In the Trinidad and Tobago context, this goal is pursued at the primary level through both in-college courses and field experiences in cooperating primary schools.
The question of how trainees can best be prepared to become effective classroom practitioners has been engaging the minds of teacher educators world-wide. Calderhead and Sharrock (1997) note that, in grappling with this issue, some teacher educators have been at pains to make a clear distinction between teacher education and teacher training:
It has been argued that teacher education is involved in the all-round education and development of teachers, emphasising teaching as a profession involving well-informed judgment; whereas teacher training refers to a more mechanistic approach to teacher preparation, more akin to a craft apprenticeship involving the mastery of well-defined routines. (p. 192)
Calderhead and Sharrock argue, though, that such a distinction might not be very useful since the process of learning to teach is likely to embody aspects of both teacher education and teacher training:
Such a distinction, however, may be simplistic and unhelpful. Obviously, learning to teach does involve the acquisition of certain knowledge and skills that are essential to adequate classroom performance. It is also the case, however, that learning to teach involves being able to reason about one's actions, being able to justify particular strategies, understanding the subject matter, children and their ways of learning, and having a conception of the purposes of education and the ways in which schools operate in order to promote education. (p. 192)
The sub-study reported in this paper comprises one segment of a two-part study that was designed to investigate the process whereby primary school teacher trainees in Trinidad and Tobago learn to teach. The other sub-study - Becoming a Primary School Teacher in Trinidad and Tobago, Part 1: The Curriculum in the Teachers' Colleges - explored the primary teacher training curriculum as documented, espoused, and enacted within the Teachers' Colleges. This sub-study presents a detailed description and analysis of the arrangements for field experiences in practical teaching (hereafter referred to as teaching practice) and the actual teaching practice itself.