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To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner. Im not a teacher, only a fellow student.

Soren Kierkegaard1

CHAPTER I
Introduction

This chapter guides the reader through the organization of the thesis, with the aim of providing a better understanding of the way information is presented. First, it offers a brief rationale for the research study and the chapters of the thesis. Then, it explains the terminology employed further in the thesis, defining terms such as teacher training, teacher development and teacher education. The last part of this chapter refers to the particularities of the Romanian education context of the research, set within rapidly changing times and reforms. It explains that failure in implementing reforms in education is due to a lack of informed change agenda.

1.0.

Introduction to the research study. A personal account.

Being a teacher is not something that I always knew I would like to do. Becoming a teacher is an ongoing journey with many twists and turns that will never cease, and this is the

19th century Danish philosopher and theologian, father of Existentialism (1813-1855). Quote from Letter to Hans Peter, Kierkegaard's cousin (1848). http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Soren_Kierkegaard

beauty of it. As Coelho2s Shepard in search of his treasure, I have discovered things along the way that I would have never seen had I not entered the path of this journey.

There is only one way to learn [] Its through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey. (Coelho, 1993: 132) And I have learned a lot of new things. Some of them were things that I had already experienced, but they were not really new, but that I never perceived before because I was accustomed to them.

Youve got to find your treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense. (Coelho, 1993:122) I discovered my passion for teaching and every day in the process of learning to teach meant a new discovery about myself as a person and as a professional. This research study represents a moment in my journey when I decided to stop, to look back in order to find my way forward. Until that moment, I had been a student teacher, who became a qualified teacher. Then in order to understand better what I was doing in the classroom, I started researching my own teaching and the learning environment in search of improvement. The enquiry expanded and included fellow teachers who shared their experiences. I consider it a preliminary research which gave me some insight into the needs of novice teachers when they started teaching and the implications for their preparation. This brings us to the present moment when the research study represents an attempt to understand teacher development within initial teacher education and the role that reflection plays in the process of learning to teach. I have chosen to refer to these issues as reflections on my own
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Paulo Coelho (1993) The Alchemist, London: Harper Collins Publishers.

development as a teacher and as a researcher. Reflections on my peers views of their professional development helped me identify and problematize common emerging issues in learning to teach. The interest in reflection is justified by the belief that fellow teachers and myself have learned from our own experiences, by making sense of the processes we were going through individually and interacting with each other, by means of reflection. For these reasons I chose to investigate an initial teacher education programme in my own context, namely in Bucharest, Romania.

This study presents the phenomenon through the eyes of the people involved in the educational process. From this perspective, interpreting the world is subjective. Since knowledge is individually constructed, then understanding teacher development would be appropriate through the eyes of the meaning-makers, the people involved in the development process. Therefore, the subjects of this investigation are trainees, trainers and co-trainers in this programme. The focus is on their views of the training, the concept of reflection, whether or not the training fostered/promoted reflection by means of different methods/activities/processes, and the ways they regard these processes in relation to their understanding of professional development. I need to mention that the enquiry into means of promoting reflection within the programme, originates from wanting to know more about implications that learning through self analysis have for teacher education. In other words, as Pollard (2002) believes, if reflection is fundamental to teacher learning, TE programmes should foster/promote reflection by using a series of

methods/activities/processes in practice.

1.1. Organisation of the thesis

The presentation of this study is structured as follows:

Chapter I introduces the reader to the content of this study. First, it offers the researchers expression of how this research came to be. It clarifies the complex notions of teacher training, teacher development and teacher education (see Figure 1, p. 8) and their meanings as used further in this study. These constructs differ depending on the context and I wish to make their meanings in this thesis clear. Second, it presents the reader the Romanian education context as it pertains to this research since this needs to position the study in its context for a better understanding of its development. Finally, it presents my reflections on professional development as shaped by my learning experiences as a student, teacher trainee, teacher, teacher trainer and researcher. I also discuss my fellow teachers understanding of their own learning and professional development, in a preliminary or informative phase of this research and the way these reflections have influenced my view of the profession and shaped my research interests. The research questions are discussed here in relation to a social constructivist approach to research which is explored in the latter part of this chapter.

Chapter II reviews literature on teacher education from different theoretical perspectives. It explores aspects of learning to teach, such as teacher knowledge, teacher beliefs, motivation for learning and the influence of the social context in which learning occurs. Then, from a social constructivist perspective of teacher learning, reflection is given special

consideration as an integrative part of the learning processes and as a tool for professional development. There are discussed several methods to develop the capacity for reflection within an ITE programme.

Chapter III offers a rationale for the development of the research study within the qualitative paradigm which determines the methodological approach. Case study, which was considered to respond best to the qualitative nature of my research questions, is discussed in terms of characteristics and claims of generalisation, validity and reliability. The selection of research tools, namely open-ended questionnaires, interviews and postobservation reports, also subscribes to the qualitative approach. The process of data collection is presented in its informative and case study phases.

Chapter IV and Chapter V present the analysis of the data in relation to the four research questions. They first consider the analysis in terms of data management and procedures. Then, each research question is answered by triangulation of data from trainees, trainers and co-trainers involved in the teaching and learning environment. Chapter IV presents the data answering the first research question related to teacher development. Chapter V addresses the answers to the other three research questions on reflective processes. The latter concludes with a discussion of the findings.

Chapter VI is divided into two parts. In the first part the role played by the Phase I research in informing the case study is discussed alongside a summary of emergent themes. In the second part, personal considerations of the journey of professional development are

presented and the implications of the study for further research in terms of a systematic approach to change through supported reflection conclude the study.

This research addresses fellow teachers, teachers at the beginning of their career, teachers involved in TE and educational authorities in Romania. It is a call to bring together insights into the process of learning to teach, the role of reflection and its implications for TE.

a) Terminology

As literature defines the notions teacher training, teacher development and teacher education differently according to various epistemologies, historical perspectives and/or study interests, I will provide clarifications on the use of the terminology in this research study.

Head and Taylor (1997) make a distinction between training and development and regard them as two complementary components of teacher education. Teacher training is seen as concerning knowledge of the topic to be taught, and the methodology for teaching it, while teacher development is concerned with the learning ethos which is created through teacher and learner interaction (Woodward, 1991). In other words, teacher training focuses on classroom skills and techniques, while teacher development has to do with interpersonal

skills and awareness of how they are affected by ones attitudes and behaviour. Underhills (1988) statements illustrate this idea:

Argument for training: I believe that my effectiveness as a teacher depends largely on my pedagogic skills, and my knowledge of the topic I am teaching, and on all the associated methodology. My teaching is only as good as the techniques or materials that I employ, and I improve by learning more about them. I acknowledge that the kind of person I am affects my teaching, but I dont really see what I can do about this other than by further training and by gaining experience. (Underhill, 1988:54) Argument for development: I believe that my effectiveness as a teacher depends largely on the way I am in the classroom, on my awareness of myself and my effect on others, and on my attitudes towards learners, learning and my own role. I value my facility with pedagogic skills and my knowledge of the topic, but it is the me that operates them that primarily influence their effectiveness. I teach only as well as the atmosphere that I engender. (Underhill, 1988:54) James (2001) also understands teacher education as incorporating notions of teacher development and teacher training, but offers a wider view than Underhill. For James teacher education aims to develop the whole teacher in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes while fostering teachers own needs and aims. Training focuses on preparing them for a career-long learning. In this context teacher training caters for overcoming deficits in teachers knowledge and skills, as learning is short-term and convergent and leads to predetermined outcomes. In contrast, teacher development aims to extend teachers existing knowledge and skills. It can be an individual driven action, more flexible than training, as it addresses divergent learning issues (ibid.).

Figure 1 below (p. 8) illustrates the idea of complementarity between teacher development and training as part of teacher education.

Figure 1. Teacher Education: development and training (Underhill 1988; Head and Taylor 1997; James, 2001).

Taking a different point of view, Wallace (1991) makes a distinction between teacher training and education on the one hand, and teacher development on the other hand. He considers that training and education is presented or managed by others, whereas development can be done only by and for oneself. Williams and Burden (2004) distinguish between teacher learning and education. They consider that in order to be of value a learning experience should contribute to a persons whole education as well as to a specific aspect of it. An important aspect of an educative experience is that learners perceive the value of the task for themselves and relate it to their own development. In other words, teacher development meaning learning to teach is a continuous process. For Day, Pope and Denicolo (1990) in-service education incorporates continuous professional development. Glatthorn (1995) highlights teacher development as an accumulation of teaching experience and of developing an ability to critically evaluate ones own practice. In a 8

similar manner, teacher development can be viewed as the professional growth in critical thinking and in the contributions made to a teaching community (Little, 1992). Figure 2 therefore illustrates the idea of teacher training as part of teacher education as it relates to a more general process of development.

Figure 2. Teacher development: training within TE.

Acknowledging the literature mentioned above, I consider that teacher development is a concept that refers to a life-long process of learning to teach. Teacher training is part of the teacher education process as an organised, formal, institutionalised form of learning which takes place under different forms/formats (courses, programmes, etc) throughout ones teaching career. When we research its synonyms, such as instruction, and its etymology,

the Latin word instructio, we get the operational dimension of the concept defining a complex action of being taught in an organized system.

Teacher education provides the background for enabling the teacher to perform in any teaching context. The etymology of the word also suggests the complexity of the phenomenon: The Latin education = growth, nurture, formation; educo, educare = to grow, to nurture, to instruct; educo, educere = to raise, to build. Teacher education consists of both formal (courses, trainings, conferences, interaction with experts and literature) and informal education (understanding culture, students, different sources of feedback, etc) (Pennington, 1990).

I believe that teacher development represents the accumulation resulting from teacher education (initial and continuous teacher education courses, interaction with experts and peers, interactions with students, literature, etc) supported by personal factors such as motivation, self awareness, disposition to learn, perceived self-efficacy (see Chapter II), and an ability to adapt to change (see Chapter VI). This idea of teacher development as an accumulation of processes and experiences that are interconnected is illustrated in Figure 3 below.

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Figure 3. Teacher development: a collage of processes and experiences.

INITIAL TRAINING TEACHING EXPERIENCE INSERVICE TRAINING

ABILITY TO ADAPT TO CHANGE

INTERACT WITH EXPERTS

TEACHER DEVELOPMENT
PERCEIVED SELF EFFICACY INTERACT WITH STUDENTS

INTERACT WITH PEERS

LEARNING MOTIVATION

Therefore, from this point forward, the terminology I employ in this study will refer to:

teacher development as a life-long process of learning to teach continuously


adapting to changes. It represents the totality of learning actions and educational influences that result in psychological and social development of teachers (The Romanian Dictionary of Pedagogy, 2000). Development means keeping myself on the same side of the learning fence as my students (Underhill 1988:4). Development means change and growth (Head and Taylor, 1997).

teacher education (initial and continuous) as teacher preparation for


performance in any teaching situation. The term teacher education will be

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referred further as defined in The Romanian Dictionary of Pedagogy (2000): an effect of a model proposed by society, as a process which involves the

development of all internal resources of a human being, and as a complex activity of transforming personality.

teacher training (pre-service and in-service) as an institutionalised form of


learning to teach. Teacher training will be further referred to as a specific activity within the educational process that takes place according to pedagogical objectives established within an educational system.

The terminology employed by the Romanian legislation regarding teaching and the preparation of teachers, is adapted in the text of this thesis according to the meanings established above. Romanian educational documents employ the term formation in phrases such as initial teacher formation or continuous teacher formation. The term was replaced in this thesis by education, with a similar meaning in phrases such as teacher education. In the same documents, the terms preparation or perfecting are used in phrases such as the departments for teacher preparation or the perfecting of teachers by means of exchange programmes. They were replaced in this thesis by training in phrases such as departments for teacher training or the training of teachers by means of courses.

From this point forward acronyms such as TE will be used for teacher education, ITE for initial teacher education and ITT for initial teacher training throughout the thesis.

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b) The Romanian education context of the research study

The reader needs to become familiar with the context of the present study in order to understand the urgent need for research in the Romanian reform process and to appreciate the particularities of the research findings.

I will first refer to the state of the Romanian education in the two decades since the revolution. I will present the main stages in the reform process. I will critically analyze the official reports of the Romanian authorities and European educational bodies on the status of the reform and on the implementation of the reform measures, with special consideration on TE.

Then, I will comment on the Romanian reform of TE from the perspective of European recommendations for the national system, including Romanias attempts to achieve accession to the European Union in the late 90s and its success in January 2007. These have shaped the design of educational policy and decision-making (Birzea, 1996). Therefore, reform needs to be regarded from the perspective of national educational structures trying to align Romanian education to European standards (Potolea and Ciolan, 2003).

Finally, I will consider the reform process from the perspective of changes at an individual level, of the teachers that had to accept and adapt the reform decisions in respect of their teaching, and their role in the success or failure of the reform measures. 13

1.3.1. The Education Reform in Romania - A process of continuous changes

The Romanian educational system has been characterised by a continuous process of reform for the last 18 years determined by social and political changes at national level. In December 1989, social movements led to a change of government. The new system adopted a democratic stand which represented a major turning point in the development of Romanian society (Vachudova, 2005; Carothers,1999; Margineanu, 1997). The transition from the rule of the Communist system that governed modern Romania for more than 54 years after the Second World War, was a long and complicated process, as it involved not only reforms at administrative level but also changes in the mentality of individual citizens (Mironov, 2007).

Education was also affected by changes in ideology, reflected especially in curricula and textbooks (The National Observatory, 1999). As expected, reforming a whole system required time and involved a series of difficulties to be overcome (Corrales, 1999; Scott, 2002). There was no previous experience of democratic reforms, so the first attempts to reform the education focused on the rejection of educational values of the former system (Isoc, 2007). The places left empty were filled with democratic models of education borrowed from Western Europe without much concern for the functionality of these models in the Romanian context (Ivan, 2007a; Enachioiu and Toma, 2007; CPAEPEC, 2007; Council of EU, 2004).

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The lack of experience in reformation was doubled by the engagement of politics in education (Selcu, 2007). Since 1990, Romanian education has been led by 11 ministers. Although education was not the subject of a political campaign (Ivan, 2007a), and no party had a clear politicized education programme (Daun and Sapatoru, 2002), nonetheless the educational policy changed according to one partys orientation for every ministers mandate (Selcu, 2007). This involved changing the structure of the managing teams in schools, inspectorates and the ministry according to political convictions, which led to instability and inconsistency from one mandate to another (Opris, 2007a; Daun and Sapatoru, 2002). This dynamic of change (Ivan, 2007a), lacking professional reasons and strategy, made education one of the most unstable systems set within the general instability of Romanian society. Each ministry dealt with fundamental issues for Romanian education such as decentralization, competence, quality, administration, funding, motivation, the need for dialogue and communication, as newly established priorities (CPAEPEC, 2007), and began a range of reform projects. A recent report of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis and the Elaboration of Educational and Research Policies (CPAEPEC), released on 6th July 2007, mentions the effects of these political decisions on education: From 1990 till now, any reform initiative was reprimanded by another reform initiative of the following minister of education. The system accumulated useless tensions affecting negatively pupils and parents alike; the idea of reform itself was compromised. We need to end these partisan and unproductive approaches by means of a National Agreement for Education, that could unite all responsible parties to establish the main measures of restructuring the educational system and the agenda of their implementation, regardless the government party or opposition interests (CPAEPEC, 2007:10). It is important to understand the instability of Romanian reform in order to comprehend the reasons for which the measures taken were more obvious in the legislative reforms and less

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present in schools. The transitional phase for education was considered to have lasted until 2000 (The Institute of Educational Sciences, 2001). Measures taken within this period aimed at defining the goals, the domains, the forms and the structure of education.

1.3.2. The Main Legislative Measures in the Education Reform

The first important official document attempting to develop a new approach to education was the organic Law of Education in 1995 (Education Act 84/1995, Margineanu, 1997, Nicolescu, 2002) which proclaimed that the free, full and harmonious development of the human individual, of one's independent and creative personality is the educational ideal of the Romanian School (Education Act 84/1995, Art.3 Paragraph 2, p.1). It defined the reform attempts and set a clear strategy for reform (Voicu, 2007).

A second important document was The Statute of Teachers in 1997 (The Institute of Educational Sciences, 2001). This law defined the statutory position of teachers within the education system (Education Act128/1997). Although the pre-1989 regulations concerning teachers were not considered fully in keeping with the post-1989 Romanian society, most of them remained unchanged1. As before, teachers were employees of the Ministry of Education represented in each Judet (county) by the Inspectoratul Scolar Judetean (County School Inspectorate) and, in some respects, benefited from conditions of employment

There is a new Statute of Teachers law draft for public debate in 2008. The draft brings changes regarding post graduate education requirements for management positions, protection, bonuses, evaluation of performance and wages according to performance (http://www.ftr.ro/profesorii-se-lupta-cu-un-statutnefinisat-2546.php - last accessed on 22.01.2008).

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similar to those of civil servants. Their appointment, transfer, activities, remuneration, appraisal, rewards and dismissal were all nationally regulated. The two major categories of teacher were permanent teacher1 and substitute teacher2. ITE became compulsory and the workload of teachers was reduced, while more bonuses and performance-related incentives were introduced.

The two fundamental laws in 1995 and 1997 focused on regaining stability of the entire educational system and on regulating activities related to financial and human resource management and school administration (The Institute of Educational Sciences, 2001). The changes were minor or contextual, as the philosophy and the content of education remained unchanged. The stabilizing purpose of the two fundamental laws is also proved by the series of amendments which remained at principle and strategic levels, not at the operational one. In other words, these laws did not comprise real reform measures due to their general character and their subsequent application3 (ibid). It is necessary to appreciate that the process of reforming a whole educational system is long and difficult to implement (ibid.). Although a strategy for reform was established and legal structures and support were created, some of the reform acts remained on paper (Josan, 2007). Top-down decisions were based on educational models borrowed from
1

A permanent position in a school is granted by a titularizare exam that qualified teachers (university graduates that had attended and passed all the courses of pedagogical module) take after completing their undergraduate studies. This position is enforced by another similar exam, the definitivat exam after two years of teaching in schools.
2

A substitute teacher occupies a temporary position in a school, either as qualified (university graduates that had attended and passed all the courses of pedagogical module) or unqualified (university graduates that had not attended all the courses of pedagogical module). 3 The application of the national curriculum in 1998-1999; the establishment of the National Service of Examination and Evaluation in 1998, of The National Commission for Evaluation and Accreditation in Preuniversity Education in 1999 (Law No.196/1999), of the National Center for Teacher Education and of the National Center for Educational Managers in 2000, which restructured in a joined institution in 2001 by Government Decision 604/2001.

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successful systems across Europe, in an attempt to align the Romanian education to international standards or comply with funding requirements1 (Green, 1999; Iucu and Pacurari, 2001; Iucu, 2004).

Therefore whilst some reform projects were developed, in practice very few changes affected accustomed rules (Miu, 2007). At the beginning of the new millennium, the Ministry of Education was still working on a development strategy for education (National Observatory, 1998; MEC, 2000; The Institute of Educational Sciences, 2001). As a result, a recent report of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis and the Elaboration of Educational and Research Policies (2007) expressed concerns about the future of the education in Romania:

Maintaining the current educational system in Romania endangers the countrys competitiveness and prosperity. This system has huge problems: it is inefficient, irrelevant, inequitable and low quality. (2007:7)

1.3.3. The Reform of TE

As far as TE of teachers in lower secondary education is concerned, some relevant reforms were applied in stages (The Institute of Educational Sciences, 2001).

Agencies like the World Bank make reforms a condition of aid (Green, 1999).

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In the first stage, between 1990 and 1995, higher education institutions were given greater freedom to develop their own curricula for ITE and to establish selection criteria, in an attempt to establish and expand the academic autonomy of higher education institutions. They could determine curriculum content and structure for courses, and make decisions in the field of human resource management and financial management (MEC Report 2001). Some of them introduced credit systems and moved closer to the needs of society and the labour market (Iucu, 2005; Zelvys, 2004; Nicolescu, 2002). The private sector in higher education became significant (Scott, 2002). Thus, in the general political change movement during this period, higher education was partly reformed (Nicolescu, 2002; The Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, 2005/2006).

In addition, in order to ensure the quality of higher education, all institutions, faculties, departments, and areas of specialisation, public or private, including those concerned with teacher education, had to be evaluated and accredited by the National Council for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation1, in accordance with the new nationally established standards (The Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, 2006). These standards referred to all fundamental domains and activity procedures for higher education institutions: the personnel, the content of education, the assets, the research process, the financial activities and the institutional, managerial and administrative structures. They were indicators of the minimal acceptable levels for the evaluation and accreditation process (Education Act 88/1993, Chapter II, Art.19).

An Independent body, appointed by Parliament, which establishes the general criteria and compulsory standards for assessing the quality of higher education institutions and programmes; it determines the extent to which institutions and programmes meet these criteria and standards and makes public a list of the institutions and programmes found to be of acceptable quality.

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After the two fundamental laws in 1995 and 1997 mentioned in the previous section, in 2001 the Ministry of Education and Research introduced national standards in order to improve ITE through uniformity (MEC, 2002; Gliga 2002). It introduced general aims regarding initial and in-service education, which were intended as a basis for reform (Cara, 2006) and included the following: developing ITE capacity within the education system structuring compulsory subjects more precisely determining the core curriculum options restructuring compulsory ITE, establishing the general content and number of credits needed for every teacher in a five year period.

The attempt to introduce standards of professional competence developed in accordance with the ISO 9000 Standards (Eurydice Report, 2006) was part of a general project for educational reform and was co-financed by the Romanian government and the World Bank. At the request of the Ministry of Education, occupational standards including standards for secondary teachers were defined in line with a specific procedure (MEC, 2002). However, they have not yet been translated into official documents for the recruitment, selection, evaluation and (professional) development of teachers. They have been welcomed by teachers themselves but ignored by ITE institutions. Since the completion of the educational reform project co-financed by the Romanian government and the World Bank in February 2002, no new systems for initial and continuous education of teachers and managers have been established. According to Iucu (2004) until these new systems are implemented, teacher education structures will continue to function according

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to old incremented practices and any systematic approach to change will fail without a supportive framework (Ioani, 2007).

Finally, the Ministry of Education and Research set the new curriculum for ITE in Law No.288 in 2004. This regulated the curricular structure for ITE through a modular optional component, specific didactics courses for particular subjects, pedagogical practice and specialized modules in the field of information communication technology.

National research studies (The National Council for Teacher Training, 1999-2000; Iucu et al., 2000; Iucu 2005) concluded that as part of the educational reform, ITE developed at a slow pace, different from other components of the reform. The inertia affecting TE has been reflected in a lack of special policies to increase the number of teachers (Ursu, 2007). Paradoxically, with unemployment standing at 9-10 % (and rising), the proportion of unqualified teachers1 has grown from 10-20 % in the late 90s. This increase has been the result of emergency measures to step up recruitment in the teaching profession. A lack of social prestige of teaching among other professions due to low salaries offered (around 8090 % of the average salary in Romania2) has been identified as an important issue in the decrease in teaching staff (Iucu et al., 2000).

The reforms of TE and conditions of service of teachers in lower secondary education in Romania presented above are summarised in the table below:

University graduates that have not attended psycho-pedagogical modules and did not obtain a graduating paper to certify their teaching competences. 2 In 2007, beginner teachers have monthly wages that equal the national minimum wages per month for unqualified work.

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Table 1. Reforms in TE in Romania REFORMS 1990-1995 Academic autonomy of higher education institutions. To ensure the academic autonomy of higher education institutions AIMS CONTEXT Higher education was partly reformed. Autonomy for curriculum content and structure, Autonomy for human resources management and financial management. Evaluation and accreditation by the National Board for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation, in accordance with nationally established standards. Most of the pre-1989 regulations remain unchanged. The demands of teachers seek to secure benefits already granted to other categories of staff rather than an enhanced social status for teachers as such. The workload of teachers reduced More bonuses and performance-related incentives have been introduced. Continuous education has become compulsory Attempt to introduce standards of professional competence developed in accordance with the ISO 9000Standards. Standards have not yet been translated into official documents for the recruitment, selection, evaluation and (professional) development of teachers. No new systems for initial and continuous education of teachers and managers have been established. ITE is carried out by Departments of Professional Development of Teachers within universities. There have been established specific

1997 Law regarding the Status of Teachers To adapt the status of teachers to the new political system.

2001 The Ministry of Education and Research established general aims regarding initial and continuous education To be the basis for reform To improve ITE and make it more uniform using national standards.

2004 New Curriculum for Initial Teacher Education To regulate the curricular structure

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through a modular optional component

didactics courses for particular subjects, the pedagogical practice and specialized modules in the field of information and communication technology (ICT).

1.3.4. The current status of ITE

At the present moment the ITE for secondary education is carried out by Departments for the Professional Development of Teachers within Universities (Law No.288, 2004). Pedagogical competences are developed through a modular system (modules of educational psychology, pedagogy and pedagogical practice). The modules total 378 hours of theoretical and practical training during undergraduate studies. Pedagogical training is done along with the undergraduate courses in a specific field.

In educating teachers, universities benefit from autonomy in terms of the content and organization of the courses (MEC, 2001). They offer more preparation in the field they are specialized in, which is more than the novice teachers or the schools would need (Iucu, 2004). For example, modern languages degrees focus on content knowledge (linguistics, generative grammar, phonology, history of language, the study of literature in that language etc). They are prepared to be linguists. The pedagogical module which introduces students to teaching is additional to the content knowledge courses. It comprises one semester long courses in psychology, pedagogy, methodology of teaching and 10 hours of practicum (lesson observations and teaching practice). At the end of their undergraduate 23

studies, the students who attended the psycho-pedagogical module obtain a paper certifying that they passed the examination for these specific courses. In order to teach in schools, these students who own this certification apply for the state exam called titularizare, which is set by the Ministry of Education and Research. The exam consists of 2 theoretical examinations: (a) subject related (Maths, Geography, English etc) and (b) subject didactics (methodology of teaching the particular subject). The topics for subject didactics exams are prepared according to the national curriculum for teacher education by teachers working for the Departments for Teacher Professional Development within faculties. Passing the exam grants a placement in public schools at any level (primary, secondary, high school) (see Diagram 4).

This form of organization does not guarantee that the training meets the needs of the future teachers in terms of the curriculum in primary and secondary education and the implementation of new teaching and learning methods proposed in the reforms (Deaconu, 2007). According to a recent critical analysis of the system by Iucu (2005), the professional development of future teachers seems to be already undergoing a crisis at different levels (Josan; 2007; CPAEPEC, 2007):

At motivational level: lack of motivation for a career trajectory some students attend teacher education modules in order to have an option in case they fail to find alternative employment in their specialist field (Council of EU, 2004; Nicolae 2007; Ivan, 2007b).

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At curricular level: lack of importance given to the psycho-pedagogical and methodological subjects among the specialist subjects. Therefore the status given to training for a teaching career is diminished (Ardeleanu, 2007), and becomes a secondary concern for the students (Deaconu, 2007). According to a study undertaken by MEC in 2004, for the majority of university graduates, the importance of the psycho-pedagogical modules is minimized by the socio-educational belief (MEC, 2004) that efficient teaching is based on intuition, e.g. the result of the interaction between innate personality traits of learners and pedagogical or teaching skills.

With respect to time: balancing demands of time and effort between specialist subjects and the psycho-pedagogical ones. Psycho-pedagogical training is divided throughout the three or four years of undergraduate studies, which leads to a fragmentation of the course and as a result has less impact upon the trainees. The time allocated to pedagogical practice is also limited to 10 hours and makes the whole process less effective. More practice time would be necessary for a better understanding of the teaching process (Iucu et al., 2000).

Access of students: there is no efficient selection process of students applying for these modules so that specific performance and motivation could be evaluated (Iucu 2004; Deaconu 2007).

At the level of certification: due to a lack of a final evaluation of the pedagogical competences achieved and of a Pedagogical Diploma this does not give professional

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credibility to the studies and education (Nicolae, 2007).

At the organizational level: o lack of clarity in defining the status of methodology teachers; o difficulties in monitoring students attending the modules as they are registered with different faculties and not with departments for professional teacher development. o difficulties in organizing the practicum due to the lack of mentors/co-trainers in schools; o the lack of a clear status of the application schools 1 in which the practicum takes place; o the difficulty of interrupting the major subjects studies during the academic year, with only marginal reference to the psycho-pedagogical modules in the students timetable. o lack of allocated space for courses, and unsociable timetabling for courses.

The basic evaluation of a novice teacher takes place through another state exam, called definitivat, after a minimum period of 2 years of teaching experience as a full-time teacher. This exam is similar to the titularizare exam, consisting of the same 2 theoretical examinations. It grants the permanent status of a teacher in a school. Classroom

competences/abilities, lesson planning, teaching techniques and strategies, as major


1

There is no selection criteria for the application schools; trainees are allocated to certain co-trainers/ mentors and do their practice in the schools where these co-trainers teach (National Report, 2006).

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requirements for a teacher, are not taken into consideration during the exam since national standards for evaluating teaching in the classroom are not yet finalized.

Whilst working in schools, teachers have to attend in-service courses provided by the Ministry of Education and Research, Local School Inspectorates, Houses of Teachers, and other organizations, on condition the courses have been approved by the Ministry. Master and doctoral studies are optional, but there are financial incentives for teachers who obtain post-graduate degrees. The information presented above is summarized in the Fugure 4 below:

Figure 4. Teacher Professional Development Route in 2006

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Initial teacher education (optional)


Undergraduate university studies Subject related courses

Psycho-pedagogical Modules
Pre-service training (optional)

Titularizare exam
Placement in school (2years)

Definitivat exam
Status of permanent teacher

In-service training (compulsory)/ Master studies/ Doctoral studies/ Didactic grade 2/ Didactic grade 1

Studies of The National Council for Teacher Training (1999-2000) on the reform process revealed that 29.16% of the teachers regarded professional development as a right and that 70.84 % regard it as a duty. 58% of the teachers questioned considered that in-service training had a larger influence than the pre-service training. These facts strengthen the belief that the initial and continuous education should be articulated into a coherent,

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adaptable and innovative system, which should offer teachers unitary and systematic development (Eurydice Report, 2006). In other words, teacher development becomes coherent if initial and continuous education are regarded as parts of the same process. In terms of the focus of the training 25.24% of the teachers chose practice; 1.01% chose

theory; and 73.75% chose a mixture of the two. However, according to Iucu (Iucu et al., 2000; Iucu 2005) there is an identified need to situate and conceptualize the change agenda according to research in the field of education.

1.3.5. The Romanian Initial Teacher Education in the European Context - The reform continues.

The Romanian educational system is in the process of complying with the requirements of the European Community (Iucu; 2005; Eurydice Report, 2006). It needs to be redefined for compatibility which defines a teacher professional development structure based on the criteria of efficiency, transferability, certification and quality assurance. The success of the reforms undertaken hinges directly on the motivation and the quality of education and training staff. Member States should therefore, where necessary, and in accordance with national legislation and practices, implement measures to make the teacher/trainer profession more attractive. This includes steps to attract the best talents to the profession and to retain them, including through attractive working conditions and adequate career structure and development (Council of EU, 2004:24). The latest trends at European level refer to guiding educational systems towards a set of competences, quality and training standards of professional development, induction

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programme/ mentorship/ practical training at the start of ones teaching career with a focus on a practical approach (pedagogical practice) in the curriculum of any TE programme (Iosifescu, 2007). The common European principles for developing competent and qualified teachers were reaffirmed at the European Commission Conference in Brussels in June 2005 (Iucu, 2005). The Romanian Ministry of Education and Research have agreed in principle with these. It was affirmed that in Romania as in all European countries, teaching is a profession oriented towards standards of quality for the ITE1 provided by universities, placed in the context of lifelong learning. It was also stated that teaching is a profession oriented towards mobility, in both initial and continuous education, and it is based on partnerships at the level of inter and trans-school relations.

1. 3.5.1. European orientation

The recommendations in different European documents2 for national policy change refer to various aspects of TE. According to these, teachers should be graduates of a university or equivalent institution and the ITE programmes need to be developed in all three cycles of

The European documents use the term training to refer to teacher education. In documents such as E D U C AT I O N A N D T R A I N I N G 2 0 1 0 . D i v e r s e s y s t e m s , s h a r e d g o a l s t h e e d u c a t i o n a n d t r a i n i n g c o n t r i b u t i o n t o t h e LISBON STRATEGY http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/2010/et_2010_en.html; THE COPENHAGEN DECLARATION Declaration of the European Ministers of Vocational Education and Training, and the European Commission, convened in Copenhagen on 29 and 30 November 2002, on enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training. http://ec.europa.eu/education/copenhagen/copenahagen_declaration_en.pdf; BOLOGNA DECLARATION. Joint declaration of the European Ministers of Education, convened in Bologna on the 19th of June 1999. http://www.europaeum.org/content/view/58/65/
2

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university studies (Bologna Declaration, 1999) in order to be equivalent to European education processes and to increase the opportunities of mobility and career development.

The content of the initial and continuous education (the curriculum) needs to reflect the importance and the value of interdisciplinary courses and of learning through cooperation. At the same time, postgraduate programmes, such as the masters for ITE, need to be developed according to the provisions of the Bologna Declaration (1999).

A World Bank report (2000) on the reform process also makes suggestions for an efficient reform of the ITE in Romania: o Redistribution of responsibilities regarding ITE, focused on the Ministry. o Improving the selection process of future teachers aiming at a better correlation between ITE and professional requirements, whilst ensuring that future teachers have the necessary skills and abilities for effective teaching. o Making the initial education programmes compatible with the national curriculum for TE; for a better evaluation of the candidates and increasing school trust in novice teacher competence. o Increasing the school practice period. o Ensure greater cohesion between the ITE received at university and the support received during the on-the-job preparation through a common portfolio for the novice teacher and the mentor, the latter being responsible for monitoring the performance during the first years and providing the basis for the status of the novice teacher (see 1.3.3).

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o To redesign the definitivat exam with a focus on the practical performance in the classroom and less on theoretical knowledge on the basis of the national standards for qualified teachers (see 1.3.3).

The following table is comparing the traditional approach to ITE and the proposed reform approach:

Table 2. ITE between tradition and reform Age/ time in the profession Level of training Institutions Professional competence profile Curriculum Training strategies Forms of organization Evaluation Certification Professional mobility Traditional approach Early training Reform approach Continuous training adult education

Pre-university - University University Post-University Pedagogical high schools Universities and Universities specialized university and postgraduate institutions Abilities, Professional Professional competences habits, theoretical/abstract Standards, pragmatic approach approach Preset, compulsory Flexible, open towards optional subjects and based on transferable professional credits Teaching as lecturing no Analysis, synthesis, transfer, interaction problem solving through interaction Face-to-face, focused on the Individualisation, grouping, whole class interactivity Academic, written exams Alternative strategies focused on portfolios and competence evaluation Simple Complex record or certificate - diploma Academic approach of Transferable University Credits mobility system to endure university and professional mobility

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Motivation Training trends Specific approach

Extrinsic Behavioral aptitudinal Teacher training

Intrinsic structured professional interests Reflective and attitudinal Teacher education

1.3.5.2. New directions for the Romanian ITE

Taking into consideration the European recommendations, The National Council for Teacher Education (1999-2000) made a proposal for improving ITE before the definitivat exam (Iucu, 2004). Currently the ITE at university level involves 56 hours of practice with only 4 hours required for practical teaching. A lack of professional support for novice teachers would appear to impact on pedagogical performance (Iucu, 2005). This is further evidenced by the fact that teachers trained in pedagogical high schools1 are evaluated as better professionals than the teachers prepared in colleges and universities (the National Council for Teacher Training, 1999-2000). The project proposed by the National Council for Teacher Training (1999-2000) includes the following: a new on-the-job qualifying phase within ITE; arrangements for tutoring and mentoring during the ITE including the on-the job qualifying phase for full integration into professional life; regulations for the accreditation of in-service training programmes. This implies that post-graduate novice teachers shall be guided by a mentor and a methodology professor in the first 2 years (period of residency). A portfolio will serve as a basis for this assisted period with commentaries on the observed lessons which will be considered at the final examination. The idea is that the candidates abilities/competences

Traditional institutions for the pre-service training of pre-school and primary school teachers, also called Normal Schools; they correspond to the upper secondary education level (high school) with a duration of study of five years.

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shall be evaluated against the teaching standards for the specific level. Basic standards for evaluating secondary education teachers are worked on. The novice teacher shall obtain the status of permanent teacher after an exam in maximum 5 years from graduation. This project has not been implemented yet.

The new project includes reforming the Departments for the Professional Development of Teachers into one year-long open and flexible postgraduate structure for psychopedagogical courses. The ITE programme shall include postgraduate studies under the form of the Didactic Masters for 2 semesters, which will be completed with a presentation of a didactic project and portfolio of pedagogical practice to a specialized commission. It will be certified with a Pedagogical Diploma. The candidates shall be selected according to aptitude and competence tests. This measure can be regarded as positive since only graduates motivated to follow a teaching career will be expected to apply for the courses. However, the issue of attracting graduates to the teaching profession remains problematic in the context of the social status of teachers in contemporary Romanian society.

According to the same project mentioned above, the teachers involved in ITE (trainers didactics and methodology, co-trainers in schools) should function within the Departments for the Professional Development of Teachers. However, unless the Ministry is prepared to reconsider the indices allocated from the state budget (0,12% per student) for the master studies, the problem is likely to remain the same (Iucu, 2004). Recent measures (Eurydice Report, 2006) for renewing the pre-service training programmes provided by the Teacher Training Departments within universities, came as a

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consequence of implementing the Bologna process. By means of a Government Emergency Ordinance (No. 78/2005), the Ministry of Education and Research approved the reorganization of ITE starting in 2005. Universities have only partly complied with the requirements of the ministry, as there are still needed legislative measures to regulate novice teachers access to schools (Iosifescu, 2007).

The new curriculum is structured in two modules: Module I (30 credits1) is integrated in the first 3 or 4 years of undergraduate studies (Bachelor degree). It provides graduates with an attestation that partially endorses the teaching competence since the preparation of teachers is considered to be incomplete at this stage. However, this attestation allows the graduate to teach until they get the on-the-job confirmation certificate when passing the definitivat exam. The final evaluation consists of a teaching portfolio. At university level, teachers will be certified for pre-school and primary education under the specialization of Pedagogy of Pre-school and Primary Education with the title of Teacher for Pre-school and Primary Education.

Module II (30 credits) can only be followed after getting the Bachelor degree. It is mandatory in order to obtain an on-the-job confirmation certificate. This module is the equivalent of a masters degree. The final evaluation consists of developing a

Official documents (MEC, 2000) have established training options for primary and secondary education teachers, namely 60 successive credits of which 30 to be accumulated during the undergraduate studies and the other 30 during postgraduate studies such as the master courses (see The Proposed Teacher Professional Development Route diagram).

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project that reflects a students competence in teaching a subject and the psychopedagogical knowledge of learning the specific subject.

The information is illustrated in Figure 5 below:

Figure 5. Proposed Teacher Professional Development Route

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Initial Teacher Education (optional module) Undergraduate university studies


Subject related courses

Psycho-pedagogical Modules
Pre-service training (30 credits) (30 credits)

Initial Teacher Education (compulsory) Postgraduate university studies Didactics Masters (30 credits)
Pre-service training

Initial Teacher Education (compulsory) On-the-job training (2 years of mentor assistance)

Definitivat exam Status of permanent teacher (after max. 5 years of teaching experience)

Continuous Teacher Education In-service training (compulsory)/ Doctoral studies/ Didactic grade 1/ Didactic grade 2

1.3.6. Discussion

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Romanian education has been undergoing a long process of reform that is ongoing. The first years of reforms were characterized by general instability and legislative measures that aimed at defining the goals, the domains, the forms and the structure of education, and were affecting the practice in schools less. Educational policies were rapidly supported by normative acts1 that teachers found difficult to accept and implement because of the new philosophy and even new terminology introduced, which was not complemented by information, consultancy or training.

In this context, the reform of teacher education also developed at a slow pace. It started with a greater autonomy of higher education institutions responsible for the training with respect to curriculum content and structure. Unfortunately, the preparation they offered tended to focus on specialist subjects (i.e. content knowledge) rather than on what novice teachers needed to know when they started teaching. At the same time, the national standards of professional development (Gliga, 2002; Cara, 2006) with a focus on the training curriculum, considered to be one of the key initiatives of the reform in teacher education, has failed to be translated into instrumental documents for recruitment, selection, evaluation and professional development of teachers. As a result, classroom skills, as major requirements for a teacher, are still neglected during the exam of definitivat that grants the permanent status of a teacher in school (Iucu, 2004; Petrovici, 2006). In the process of complying with the requirements of the European Community, the Ministry of Education and Research proposed several reforms that would place teacher
1

Normative acts are explicitly describing or setting rules for the way laws should be applied. In Romania each law is followed by a normative act. (Legal Bilingual Dictionary English-Romanian, Bucharest: Lumina Lex, 2003))

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education at the level of postgraduate studies under the name Didactic Masters, and introduced the idea of residency within initial teacher education. This implies specialized pedagogical courses focused on the practical needs of secondary education, tutoring and mentoring during initial education including an on-the job qualifying phase for full integration into professional life, and a postgraduate certification for the teachers in secondary education. However, there is an identified need to articulate the change agenda, according to research in the field of education (Iucu et al. 2000, Iucu, 2005).

As in any reform process, change is implemented by people and change affects people in the system. In this context, essential questions such as What is professional development for teachers in Romania? or What factors promote their professional development? need to be answered. The lack of significant results in implementing the reforms in education, in spite of the existing legislative framework, seem to indicate that the need for a change agenda has not been generally recognised, despite the fact that the implementers of these reforms in practice namely, the teachers, are able to understand the reform goals. I believe that understanding the way teachers think about these changes, the way they are able to adapt to them, could inform reformers on the best way to approach implementation (Everard and Morris, 1996).

As I learned from personal experiences as a teacher and a researcher, development, of any kind, depends mainly on an individuals ability to understand the learning processes one goes through. Therefore, I consider it important to conceptualise professional development in relation to the learning processes it involves. Moreover, I believe that learning for

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professional development starts within the ITE programmes and it is essential to investigate how the individuals directly involved are affected by the learning and teaching process. I make the case in this study that the needs of the future teachers should be taken into account when planning the nature and the content of ITE offered by universities (Iucu, 2004). In this respect, I consider that research addressing issues of how student teachers perceived the teacher education they experience, as responding to their needs as competent professionals, is relevant for the reform of teacher education. An in-depth analysis of their perceptions of the training, could offer important insights into the learning strategies they apply and what they consider useful for their future professional development. A clear understanding of the trainees needs could also assist further design of alternatives for the existing courses at a time of change and reformation.

It is not surprising that a process of change, especially one that affects a whole system of educational practices and philosophies, has encountered difficulties and even failure (Guarriento, 1997; Corrales, 1999; Ghaye, 2005; Tessema, 2007; Ferreira et al., 2007). A deep change approach in reforms involves altering underlying assumptions, goals and beliefs that underpin the existing ideology, and in effect should be the actual focus of the reform. Unfortunately, reforms in developing countries1 like Romania seem to lack characteristics of deep change (Tessema, 2007; Janson and Taylor, 2003; Zelvys, 2004).

There can be found similarities between the reforms in the countries in the region such as Albania, Bulgaria or Slovenia, in terms of the structural and systemic changes, towards more autonomy for institutions in Albania (Whitehead, 2000), the introduction of teacher education standards in Bulgaria (Ilieva and Terzieva, 2000) or the adaptation of different European educational systems in Slovenia (Pecek and Razdevsek-Pucko, 2000).

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In education, the bureaucratic impetus to guide the process of change and improve from the centre may lead to the teachers voice that doubts the change or disagrees with it to go unheard, or to be silenced or dismissed as mere resistance. Hargreaves (1997: 343) It is the voices of those affected by the reform that should inform any change agenda. I believe that research which focuses on the way change is conceptualised at an individual level can lead to the most appropriate strategies to manage and implement the educational reforms successfully.

The Quality Reform starts with the Reform of Teachers Mentality (Ivan, 2007c:11)

1.4. Reflections on personal and professional development

In the previous section I referred to the changes the educational system in Romania is going through in order to reach goals of stability, efficiency and quality. The process is marked by failure and successes alike, in a continual transformation for becoming, and it still continues. I myself am developing as a professional in a reforming context where I had to learn how to adapt to and manage different changes taking place in society and in the educational system, trying to perform best in my profession.

Therefore, I consider it important to give a short account of my personal and professional development set within the national context of Romania and abroad, since the way I 41

perceive and relate to the changing educational environment is shaped by my experiences as a student, teacher trainee, teacher, teacher trainer and researcher (Chan and van Aalst, 2006).

The way I approach this personal and professional development is in stages. It is related to my personal understanding of the process of change. I will further explain the way the concept of adapting to changes is employed.

I believe that I have been through personal reformations, as significant events in my professional life marked a stage in my development. I associate these events or encounters with experiences that have determined continuous adaptation to changes I have analysed, which influenced my further decisions. As these decisions are implemented they in turn affect other experiences. The cyclical process has been a continuous journey in stages of adapting to changes and learning from the experiences lived. Figure 6 below illustrates this journey.

Figure 6. The journey of development

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EXPERIENCE

ANALYSIS OF THE EXPERIENCE

IMPLEMENTATION

DECISION

This approach to my own development was influenced by the belief that learning is gained through both personal and environmental experiences (Kolb, 1984). Theories of experiential learning highlight the learners involvement into the experience, his/her ability to reflect and analyse it in order to conceptualize it and use the new ideas gained from the experience (Merrian et al., 2007) (see also Chapter III). The idea of meaningful learning resulting through interactions with others and the environment is also present in social constructivist theories (McMahon, 1997). I believe that in the course of my development I assimilated new experiences in the new roles I was taking as a trainee, teacher, teacher trainer and researcher. I was incorporating each new experience into an already existing framework, analysing and accommodating them to fit my internal representations of the world (Piaget, 1977; Kukla, 2000) (see also Chapter III). There was a powerful interconnectedness of the relationship between the different roles I took which I will explore further.

1.4.1. PART I

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1.4.1.1. Stages in my development My professional development journey as illustrated in Figure 6 above will be presented using a cyclical framework. The journey is narrated using personal reflections (in Italics). They refer to different stages in my development until the present moment (the trainee, the beginner teacher, the experienced teacher, the trainer, the researcher) over a period of 10 years. It required a long period of time and a range of experiences to notice that each encounter with change followed a certain pattern: (1) the experience, (2) the analysis and (3) the decision made, as well as (4) the latters implementation and the new experiences which led to the following stage in my development. My reflections on my professional development are presented further using this cyclical framework.

1.4.1.1.1. Stage 1 THE TRAINEE

THE EXPERIENCE The Initial Teacher Education As an undergraduate student in English language and literature I had the chance to take an optional psycho-pedagogical module over a period of three years, which gave me the right to teach English in schools after passing the state exam. The module comprised two general courses in Educational Psychology and Pedagogy held in my mother tongue, and a subject related course in Methodology of Teaching English as a foreign language (divided

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into a theoretical and a practical component in the first and second semester of the 3rd year of study).

I will further refer to the latter course. The large number of students attending the lectures and the seminars left no opportunities for enquiry. At that time there were few resources students could use apart from the notes taken during the course. The only experience I could relate to for a better understanding of what was being taught, was that of being a pupil and then a student, attending my teachers classes. Later on, my work experience first as an unqualified language teacher in a state institution, working with age groups between 3 and 6 years old, and then as a private English language tutor for young learners, helped me get better insights into the process of teaching and learning. My experiences during the course such as my teachers behaviour and actions started acquiring new meanings, as I was labelling them according to the theoretical knowledge I was acquiring. At the same time, being a teacher triggered a more organised and planned analysis of actions performed before and after entering the classroom. It was a process of constant learning and revision of knowledge and understanding. My enthusiastic actions were motivated by strong beliefs in the learning outcomes that a dedicated and skilful teacher, employing appropriate methodologies, could achieve. I assumed that observation, listening to explanations from teachers who communicate clearly, or engaging in experiences, activities or practice sessions with feedback would result in learning. I regarded skills as the outcome of learning and the goal of teaching was to sequence skills along a continuum.

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THE ANALYSIS Learning by analyzing experience The practical component of the course consisted of a certain number of classroom observations and of teaching lessons. I observed the lessons of one of my former teachers in high school. She was an experienced teacher, whom I respected for the way she managed to share knowledge and her passion for literature or to make grammar comprehensible for her pupils. Now she was in the role of a co-trainer. As my knowledge of lesson planning was limited, I observed her classes, at secondary school level, without having a particular purpose in mind. Without an observation scheme prepared, the notes I was taking were random. They referred to various aspects of the educational process and they lacked depth. When teaching I was trying to apply what I had seen other teachers doing, or what I had learned from my own experiences as an unqualified teacher, trying to put into practice the theoretical concepts previously learned. The two lessons I taught were followed by a discussion with the co-trainer and two peers that observed my classes. I found it very helpful for a better understanding of my actions and the rationale for them, as they made comments on different aspects of my teaching I did not think about or was unaware of. I believe I was constructing new meanings in and through interaction with my co-trainer and my peers, reflecting on the classroom issues that were problematic in my teaching. I considered the experience useful, but insufficient for my preparation as a future teacher, as the number of lessons taught and the discussions that followed were too scarce to provide me with the necessary insights into classroom matters.

Learning by interacting with theory and practice

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After graduating I attended the courses of an MA programme in English Language Studies and Methods at a university in the United Kingdom. At that moment, my teaching experience was based on the classes I taught as an unqualified teacher, as a trainee on the undergraduate course, and as a private language tutor. The first part of the course revised the theoretical information I partially acquired during the psycho-pedagogical module I attended at my home university. The difference was that this time the theory was more subject related (ESL context), there were more possibilities for reflection and enquiry as each course was followed by a seminar where students were trying to relate the theoretical information to specific teaching contexts. They were guided through the process of finding answers to the new situations they were encountering. The fact that the access to resources was almost unlimited made the search easier. The practical component of the course I had attended at my home university, was replaced by classroom simulated situations where issues closely related to the teaching and learning process were explored. I was guided through planning the lessons I was going to teach while being observed and video and audio recorded. I received feedback from my tutor and my peers. I analysed the lesson transcripts and I reflected on my whole teaching performance, trying to identify the aspects that needed improvement. I found the experience extremely useful as I was going through a conscious process of organised learning that gave me the satisfaction of being made aware of how I could improve my teaching. Reflecting back on the experience I can say that learning became a self-regulatory process of struggling with the conflict between existing personal models of teaching and discrepant new insights, as I was constructing new representations and models of classroom reality, a process of meaning-making negotiated through cooperative activities, discourse, and debate in a community of practice that was

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facing similar problems. My peers had experienced similar difficulties when teaching and therefore sharing ideas with others helped us understand that they were common issues that we could overcome.

DECISION IMPLEMENTATION Accommodating theory and practice When I started teaching in primary and secondary school in the suburbs of Bucharest, I soon discovered that the classroom situations were quite different from the ones encountered during my practice and that I needed more than skills and knowledge. Sometimes, I was teaching classes where I failed to achieve my lesson objectives, and I had to find alternative ways to teach. My purpose was to enable students to use the language structures in different communicative contexts.

1.4.1.1.2. Stage 2 The novice teacher

A NEW EXPERIENCE I noticed that sometimes my explanations were not clear enough or the activities were too difficult for the pupils, or they were not interested in the topics dealt with. I was constantly modifying the way I taught, because I was noticing from one classroom to another some strategies and methods worked better than others. I have been engaged in a continuous learning process since then as each classroom situation encountered has been different,

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bringing something new into my teaching. I was trying to give learners the opportunity for concrete, contextually meaningful experiences through which they could raise questions and model and interpret and defend their ideas. Still I was not prepared for the classroom management problems I faced with 13 and 14 year old pupils. I was trying different ways of managing the situation in order to motivate my students. They regarded learning as being externally imposed on them. The lack of intrinsic motivation was related to the fact they had no aspirations for the future beyond their local community.

THE ANALYSIS

The role of motivation I later realised that motivation to continue learning could be fostered only by leading pupils to experience the pleasure that is inherent in solving the problems as their own. As there was no need for them to acquire a foreign language for living in their communities, foreign language skills were regarded as inappropriate and there was no incentive to change their present state. There was a clash between my beliefs about learning and this new perspective.

THE DECISION The need for a sense of achievement

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In the event, I gave up teaching those pupils who I felt I did not know how to reach or affect in any way. I considered that the pupils I was teaching had the potential to learn, but I could not find the appropriate method or strategy to promote learning. I thought that a more skilful teacher could help them acquire the language knowledge required. I believed that there was a direct proportional relation between teaching and learning. It was a very difficult moment when I also had to reconsider some of my beliefs about the teaching profession and my role in the classroom.

1.4.1.1.3. Stage 3 The more experienced teacher

THE EXPERIENCE Working with adult learners I faced a different situation when I started teaching an optional English language course at university. My students were motivated adults studying for different qualifications, and my responsibilities were to sharing knowledge in order to meet the course goals and my students needs. Whilst I found these lessons easier and less stressful; as I did not feel responsible for their learning actions, they were less rewarding. Teaching younger learners gave me the satisfaction of changing something in their lives, of bringing about improvement of some kind. The progress they were making every week was slow, but consistent and noticeable. They became more proficient in using the language and I felt I contributed to their development. As for my adult students, they were more autonomous and successful learning depended on their actions more than on my performance in the

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classroom. This classroom developed into a community of learners engaged in activity, discourse, interpretation, justification and reflection. I saw my role as that of a facilitator and learners taking on more ownership of the ideas. My contribution to their development seemed less important.

THE ANALYSIS Assuming a different role When reflecting on my professional situation I came to understand that I assumed different roles when teaching young learners and adults respectively, and my concerns were raised by the fact that I perceived myself more as an action teacher, who had a direct impact on the classroom situation, rather than a mediator. I later realised of course that the two are not exclusive. Though the experience was positive as I was growing professionally, adapting and improving my teaching, finding the new situations challenging.

DECISION IMPLEMENTATION Providing guidance, making suggestions and summarising perspectives replaced the direct instructions, specific tasks or one-size-fits-all approaches. I created more interactive courses, adapted to my students needs. The task became challenging as each situation was different, and students from each faculty had different professional expectations in terms of English language learning.

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1.4.1.1.4. Stage 4 The trainer

THE EXPERIENCE Using the personal experience of learning to teach others Becoming a teacher trainer was a new challenge. I was employed at the Distance Learning Department for Professional Development at a state university in Bucharest, where once a month I was teaching primary school teachers how to teach English as a foreign language. Although the materials and techniques used were similar to those in other teacher training programmes, there were limitations due to the type of course (distance learning) and the structure of the whole programme which influenced the development of the ESL component. For example, the language proficiency level of the students enrolled on the course represented a barrier for a full understanding of the issues being taught.

THE ANALYSIS I started reflecting on the ways the course could be improved, and how other courses, such as the pre-service programme I attended as an undergraduate student, could benefit from a change in the general approach they take.

DECISION IMPLEMENTATION Instead of using teaching strategies and procedures that were ready-made for the students to pick up, we could provide students with opportunities and incentives to construct

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knowledge so that learning would become a constructed activity in which the students themselves have to engage.

1.4.1.1.5. Stage 5 The researcher

The journey continues... This brings me to the moment when as a researcher I started investigating issues of learning in relation to professional development of teachers. As I learned from my own experience, my development as a trainee, teacher and teacher trainer depended mainly on the individual ability to understand the learning processes I was going through, and it was shaped by the interaction with the environment in which I was acting (first the training programmes, then the classroom, the school and the university). My gain on the course of this journey is what I have learned from the situations in which I was able to analyse the contexts, to understand the reasons behind actions, the way that different components interacted with each other.

I further shared with my colleagues my concerns about not having the appropriate knowledge nor skills to deal with the different situations a teacher might encounter in the classroom. The learning process seemed long and difficult. The teaching situations I experienced at the beginning of my career made me reflect and seek answers with more experienced colleagues or in the literature. It was a search I undertook on my own as there was not much support I could rely on. It depended on my abilities to find solutions

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appropriate to my situation. In retrospect, I believe that many of my colleagues followed a similar path, and that the transition to teaching and the teacher development of young teachers did not need to be a constant individual quest.

Therefore, as a researcher, I considered it appropriate to enquire how other teachers understood learning in pursuing their professional development. I became interested in what my peers in other schools believed about their own journey - what situations they encountered and what solutions they found to overcome difficulties when starting to teach. At the same time I was interested in getting suggestions for a better organisation of the teacher education system that could meet the needs of the future teachers. This constituted a preliminary or informative phase for my research.

My colleagues considered that the induction period was very important for their start into the profession, when beginner teachers integrate into a community of practice that could offer them the support and the guidance they required, and approach the more experienced colleagues in the school The mentors also believed it is very important to create a state of apprenticeship, acceptance and appreciation, and to teach the beginner teachers how to behave in a school context, with their peer teachers, with different age group pupils, or in front of the classroom.

Looking back at my own and my peers experiences, professional development started with the initial training and the first years of practice. The way these two steps were organised and the quality of the learning experience impacted either positively or negatively on the

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way I engaged into teaching and on our further development. The way training was delivered and the learning process undertaken seemed to have affected the beginner teachers performance during their first classes.

My colleagues viewed the profession differently. While the mentors believed that affective involvement was essential in developing further in this profession, the beginner teachers were more detached and concentrate on skills and knowledge to be acquired. As I later learned from the literature, teachers beliefs influence the way they approach new techniques and activities and therefore, play an important role in teacher development. Consequently, trainers involved in teacher education should consider encouraging trainees to form their own beliefs and theories about teaching before providing input by creating the appropriate contexts where beliefs can be explored.

Among other factors affecting beginner teachers development, mentors mentioned the attitude towards the profession in general and towards training in particular. They

believed that on the one hand there is the image of the role models that beginner teachers hold, highly positive and idealistic, often associating it with their image of the self as a teacher. This contrasts on the other hand with the image that society puts on teaching, according to the recognition of teachers work, status and wages. Nowadays, the reform processes in education have led to scarce resources and poor wages over a long period of time. In turn I believe that these affect societys view of their social role and the value attributed to teachers work.

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Beginner teachers mentioned vocation and personal qualities when referring to good teachers. But they also talked about acquiring a set of skills and knowledge that would allow them not only to perform well in the classroom but would create a basis for further development. Awareness about the responsibilities teaching involves grew once they started teaching in school. They stressed the importance of having professional skills but they still believed that there still teaching tips or secrets that the training did not provide.

Mentors considered that each phase of the development of a teacher required transition, adaptation and internalisation. Beginner teachers were in the stage of changing from the role of learners to the one of teacher learners, being responsible now not only for their learning/development but also for their pupils learning/development. In this context they needed to become autonomous learners, to pursue self-development. Reflection was the means of achieving this state, as mentors considered beginner teachers need to become analytical about their own teaching in order to get a better understanding of the processes they were involved in and became more confident in the classroom.

It was interesting to notice that reflection was considered part of the job requirements, as a means of constant revision and adaptation to the classroom situations encountered. They believed that it is more an instinctive rather than conscious process, as they are looking for reasons why things are not going according to the plan and ways to improve for the future. Beginner teachers considered that reflection is a way of improving practice by identifying problematic issues and finding solutions to them. Methods that could assist them with or

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promote their reflections were disregarded as there was no time for such things as diaries. They were loaded with work and preparing their lessons took a long time in their first years.

Mentors also regarded reflection as a duty, although for a different reason: that of helping to raise awareness on issues of teaching methodology. Teaching involved reflection and reflection facilitated improving performance or maximizing/ internalising the information/experiences they were exposed to. More interestingly, the beginner teachers considered that reflection could be guided or taught. Guidance would involve questions about problematic issues that could lead to identification of causes, solution analysis and implementation. In contrast, mentors stated that reflection cannot be induced where there was no inclination for self-discovery, but they considered that beginner teachers could be helped to speak about their teaching, about their mistakes, ways of improving and so on.

Being influenced by my own experience, I believed that reflecting on ones practice could be integrated into the context of learning to teach, so that by articulating and examining personal perceptions and my colleagues views of their professional development, I might come to a better understanding of how teachers view teaching and learning as well as the competences and learning environments one needs for good teaching.

1.4.2. PART II

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In my attempt to get insights into the practice in first years of teaching and the process of professional development, several themes emerged from my reflective investigation on my personal and my colleagues journeys . It became clear that the role of the ITE and the first years of guided practice for further professional development depended on the quality of the learning experience and the close resemblance between the practice and the real teaching contexts. It also emerged that the complex process of learning to teach was related to different factors such as teaching knowledge and skills, vocation, motivation, teaching and learning contexts, beliefs about teaching and student learning. In this context, the analysis of ones views on his/her learning and teaching practice became relevant for professional development.

Having identified an area of interest, I set out on research road. The way I approach research is related to my philosophical stance as a researcher to which I will refer further.

1.4.2.1. Situating the self as researcher

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Reflections on my own development as a teacher and as a researcher, and reflections on my peers views of their professional development helped me identify and problematize common emerging issues in learning to teach at the beginning of ones career. My research interests turned to understanding teacher development within ITE and the role reflection played in the process of learning to teach. For these reasons I chose to investigate a specific ITE programme in my own national context. I wanted to understand the phenomenon through the eyes of the people involved in the educational process. I believe that the way we know the world is subjective, as knowledge is individually constructed. Therefore the road to understanding teachers development would be through the eyes of the meaningmakers. The subjects of this investigation are trainees, trainers and co-trainers in this programme. The focus is on their views of learning within ITE and on the use of reflection as explored by four research questions: How do the trainees, trainers and co-trainers perceive their ITE How do the trainees, trainers and co-trainers regard reflection? What opportunities for reflection does the programme offer to What do trainees/trainers/co-trainers think about reflection in

programme?

trainees/trainers/co-trainers? relation to their understanding of teaching and their further professional development?

The experiences I had as a teacher influenced my relation to research. In the search for a supportive theoretical background I found my beliefs and actions to be consistent with the ideas of constructivism. 1.4.2.1.1. Social Reality and Knowledge

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From an ontological position, constructivism asserts that social phenomena and their meanings are continually being accomplished by social actors (Tobin, 1994; Phillips, 2006). The categories that we employ in order to understand the natural and social world are social products. They are not external to us but are built up and constituted in and through interaction and they are in a constant state of revision (Bryman, 2004; Cohen et. al., 2004). The process of construction is adaptive in nature and requiring self-organization and knowledge common to members of the same culture. It can be seen as an interaction of individual interpretations that evolves dynamically. According to Fosnot (2005), we as human beings have no access to an objective reality since we are constructing our version of it, while at the same time transforming it and ourselves. In this sense, my interest in my colleagues journey on the path of professional development can be regarded as an attempt to understand individual perspectives offered by the members of the teacher community. Teachers at the beginning of their careers hold diverse beliefs about teaching and professional development, based on their own schooling experiences or due to their training (Williams and Burden, 2004) These beliefs may persist or change throughout their teacher preparation and affect their early years of teaching in different ways. As there is no access to an objective reality, their individual experiences would account for a constructed version of reality to which each of the participants contributes (Kelly 1969; Pope and Keen, 1981; Atkinson, 1997; Hockly, 2000; Donaghue, 2003).

A shift in understanding and accepting the constructivist way of thinking has multiple consequences. The most important is that the customary conception of truth as the correct

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representation of states or events of an external world is replaced by the notion of viability. To the biologist, a living organism is viable as long as it manages to survive in its environment. To the constructivist, concepts, models, theories and so on are viable if they prove adequate in the contexts in which they were created. Viability unlike truth is relative to a context of goals and purposes (Steffe and Gale, 1995).

According to Hockly (2000), the conceptual structures that constitute meanings or knowledge are not entities that could be used alternatively by different individuals. Their meaning is constructed in and through interaction. They are constructs that each user has to build up for himself or herself (von Glasersfeld, 1996; Donaghue, 2003; Fosnot, 2005). Learning from the experiences depended on my own interpretation of them, based on my personal theories about teaching and in relation to the context I was in.

My interest in teacher development in ITE was determined by the way I perceived my own development at the beginning of the career, by the journey I had already made as reflected in my journal. Steffe and Gale (1995) consider that researchers must find a way to explain their knowledge of others on the basis of individual experience. That is to say, we must generate explanations of how others, society, or a community of practice, can be conceptually constructed on the basis of our subjective experiences (Kroll, 2004).

1.4.2.1.2. Knowledge and construction of meaning

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Constructivism as a theory about knowledge is based on work in psychology, philosophy, science and biology. It describes knowledge not as truth to be transmitted or discovered, but as emergent, developmental, subjective, viable constructed explanations by humans engaged in meaning-making in cultural and social communities of discourse (Donaghue, 2003).

Piaget (1977) affirmed that knowledge was not a copy of reality. He reformulated the relationship between the cognitive subjects conceptual structures and that subjects experiential world. Knowledge, then, could be treated not as a more or less accurate representation of external things, situations and events, but rather as a mapping of actions and conceptual operations that had proven viable in the knowing subjects experience. In Piagets constructivist theory, our sensory world is the result of our own perceptual activities and therefore specific to our ways of perceiving and conceiving. Knowledge arises from actions and the agents reflections on them. The actions take place in an environment and are grounded in and directed at objects that constitute the subjects experiential world; they are not things in themselves that have an independent existence. For example, the role I perceived for myself as a teacher did not fit into the school context I was working in. After several unsuccessful attempts to accommodate the two, I asked for advice from my colleagues, but they could not be applied to my classroom context. Considering carefully my actions and my students reactions, I realised that I had to reconsider my role in relation to my students needs and their attitude towards learning. When speaking about interaction, this does not imply a subject interacting with objects as they are, but rather a cognitive subject that is dealing with previously constructed

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perceptual and conceptual structures (von Glasersfeld 1996, Fosnot, 2005, Moon, 2008). This approach to learning as an individualistic enterprise might not account for all learning situations. Vygotskys (1978) view of learning regards individual cognitive development as subject to interplay between an individual and society. In other words, knowledge is socially constructed through collaborative communication and interaction in and around meaningful, whole activities (McCormick and Paechter, 1999). In this sense, novices in a community of practice develop cognitive skills by participating in joint activities with more knowledgeable ones, becoming fully-fledged members of this community (Wenger, 1998). The concept of a community of practice emerges from the focus on the social, historical and contextual nature of learning (Wenger, 1997). Therefore, critical to the development of cognitive skills is the engagement in joint activity. Whilst the notion of joint activity comprises the idea of apprenticeship, the ability to understand an expert does not depend on the sharing of cognitive structures that lead to imitation, but on the full participation to action (Vygotsky, 1978). Thus, learning is located in the processes of social coparticipation and depends on the kinds and quality of social engagements needed to provide optimal learning environments (Roth and Bowen, 1995; McCormick and Paechter, 1999).

Social constructivism asserts that our way of seeing and interpreting the world is influenced by our emotions, intentions and purposes, in other words, our attitude to existence (Young, 1992: 29). From this perspective, our constructions of the world determine our expectations, mediate our experience and set parameters to our subsequent understanding of experiences. In this way, making sense of the world is a construction process made in interaction with the physical and the social world. The challenge it creates

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is the problem of multiple perspectives as we do not all see the world in the same way; reality is not fixed or given (Richardson, 1997). From a social constructivist perspective, understanding the issues involved in the learning for teacher development involves first an understanding of the phenomena through the lenses of my own experiences in particular contexts, as these would determine the way further encounters will be interpreted in other contexts.

1.4.2.1.3. Research From a social constructivist perspective, the researchers own accounts of the social world are constructions. The researchers role is to understand the multiple social constructions of meaning and knowledge. The research participants construct their reality with the researcher, but the resulting version of social reality is viewed as a particular instance rather than one that can be regarded as definitive (Robson, 2002). The investigations of teacher development issues in a specific ITE programme in Romania is regarded as an example of the process of learning to teach. Ragin (1992) affirmed that researchers are in a sense incapable of making meaning of social phenomena unless they understand the boundaries of these events through the eyes of the people they study (in Huberman and Miles, 2002). Looking at learning to teach from the point of view of the people involved in the process would account for the context and the way this context is affected by individual factors. Constructivist practices require that the researcher is aware of the fact that knowing always involves seeing or hearing from different perspectives and locations which can be individual, institutional or socio-cultural (Denzin, 1997; Gubrium and Holstein, 2000; Schwandt, 2000).

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1.4.2.1.4. The present research

In this research knowledge about the issues of interest is emergent, developmental and subjective, arising from the research process and my own reflections as a researcher on it. The meaning is conveyed from the interaction between the researcher, the participants (see chapter IV and V) and the literature (see Chapter II) (Silverman, 2001; Huberman and Miles, 2002). Holstein and Gubrium (1997) refer to the type of knowledge that is actively created by research respondents: [Knowledge is] constructed as active, the subject behind the respondent not only holds facts and details of experience, but, in the very process of offering them up for response, constructively adds to, takes away from, and transforms the facts and details (p.117). I anticipate diverse expectations and responses to ITE courses (Haggerty, 1995) and to understand the ongoing processes by means of the personal theories which each student teacher brings to the course. The first research question on how the trainees, trainers and co-trainers perceive the ITE programme they are involved in, enquires into the relation of the programme to the expectations and motivation for the course. It could also lead to exploring self-awareness and individual interpretations of input and of classroom experiences. As I have to consider the influences on teachers knowledge building and the environment of knowledge creation, the other three questions explore learning in relation to reflective processes (McIntyre, 1993). The enquiry into the means of promoting reflection within the programme originates in my own beliefs, analysis and reflections demonstrated earlier in this chapter (see 1.4.1). For example, if teacher learning is supported through

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reflection, ITE programmes should foster/promote reflection by using in practice a series of methods/activities/processes. The issue of researcher bias is discussed in Chapter III.

In this chapter the readers were offered reference points about the making of this research study. First, they were guided through the reforming context of the Romanian educational system, so that they could understand both the present status of ITE programmes and the journey of personal and professional development of the researcher. Then, the reflective narrative on the researchers own journey and on the other teachers journey came to put in a more comprehensive light the philosophical stance and the approach adopted in this research study in relation to the social reality, the knowledge and the construction of meaning.

In Chapter II, these personal understandings, resulting from my development as a trainee, teacher, teacher trainer and researcher, will be put in relation to the literature on teacher development, which is used to offer a theoretical support for the study undertaken and for the concepts explored during the research.

The real voyage of discovery [] consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes, in seeing the hundred universes that each of them sees. Marcel Proust1

CHAPTER II

In Search of Lost Time / A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, vol. 6: La prisonniere (1954 :14)

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Literature review

2.0. Introduction

As discussed in the previous chapter, my understanding as a researcher of teacher development and the role of reflection in the process of learning to teach, arises from the research process and my own reflections on it. Knowledge will be constructed from the interaction between my understanding as a researcher, the respondents and the literature in the field. The literature review presented in this chapter offers insights into existing work in the field of teacher development. TE literature will first be explored in relation to learning to teach and ITE. Then I will consider the role of reflection in TE. This literature review will offer a rationale for the personal understanding of the investigation and for the conclusions of the research study undertaken.

Linked to my research questions, I consider necessary to explore different general theories of learning and teacher learning in particular, with respect to teacher knowledge, teacher beliefs, motivation and social context. An emerging theme of the social dimension of learning is explored further in relation to learning to teach and its implications for teacher education.

The research also enquires into trainees, trainers and co-trainers awareness of reflection, the way the programme fosters/promotes reflection by means of different methods/

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activities/ processes, and the ways they regard these methods in relation to their understanding of professional development. Therefore, a literature review of the concept of reflection explores the role of reflection in teacher learning and its implications for TE.

This chapter is divided into two parts. In Part I, I discuss different approaches to teacher education in relation to general learning theories. Then, I consider four key factors which impact on this learning: teacher knowledge, teacher beliefs, motivation and social context. I explore the way prior school experiences affect student teachers beliefs about learning and teaching in general, and in particular to the role played by motivation in this process. I shall also discuss how perceived competence impedes on learning to teach, as well as the social context of learning.

In Part II, building on the themes and arguments developed in Part I, I explore teacher learning from a social constructivist perspective as it seems to embrace a unifying approach of several theories and it offers a more complex understanding of the processes involved in learning to teach. In this context, I consider the role of reflection for learning in general and then the implications for teacher education.

Finally, I refer to the possibility of fostering reflection by means of explicit strategies and support in developing specific skills.

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PART I
2.1. Introduction to Teacher Education and its relationship to general learning theories

2.1.1. Learning theories and teacher learning Improvements in teacher education need to be based on a well-founded understanding of teachers professional development. Research on teacher learning (Day, Calderhead and Denicolo, 1993; Calderhead and Shorrock, 1997; Day, Sammons, Stobart, Kington and Gu, 2007) identifies factors that are influential in the trainees professional growth and an understanding of how the experiences of trainees relate to their developing practice. TE has been influenced over time according to theories of learning. Different theories offer insights into particular dimensions of the complexity of learning to teach. They approach the learner and the learning process from a behavioural, personal, cognitive or social point of view (Roberts, 1998), which influence the way TE designs and implements teaching and learning activities. Table 3 below summarizes the focus of behaviourist, humanist, social and constructivist theories on the learner and the learning process with implications for TE.

Table 3: Theories of learning and implications for TE Theories of learning Behaviourism The learner Input-output system Learning process External stimuli reinforce behaviour Implications for Teacher Education Focus on acquisition of skills in model-based teacher learning (e.g. micro-teaching, competency-based, apprenticeship) Focus on acquisition of skills for

Humanism

Autonomous

Internally 69

Selfdetermined Social theories Social being interacting with the environment Meaningmaker

determined Adopting a social role and accepting the norms of a community Reconstruction of individual representations

Constructivism

self-directed development. Setting goals for learning in collaboration with the learners. Account for the social role of the teachers Acknowledge the social context affecting the learning Promote culture of practice Uncover personal theories Develop self-awareness

These theories of learning are relevant for the development of different ways of understanding learning to teach. They provide a lens through which current practice can be viewed with respect to the preparation of teachers. Understanding the general principles of learning and their implications for creating learning opportunities assists the reader in developing an understanding of how different factors impact on the way student teachers interpret their own practice and are predicated on their values and beliefs (see 2.2.3).

2.1.1.1. The Behaviourist Theory of Learning

Behaviourism is a worldview that operates on a principle of stimulus-response. All behaviour is caused by external stimuli (operant conditioning) (Skinner, 1957) and is explained in terms of general laws that connect information received via senses (input) and behaviour (output). It assumes that a learner is essentially passive, responding to environmental stimuli. The learner starts off as a clean slate (i.e. tabula rasa) and behaviour is shaped through positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement. In behaviourist theory the learner is viewed as an input-output system (Roth, 1990). Learning

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takes place when external stimuli beneficial to the person reinforce behaviour (Williams and Burden, 2004). Learning is therefore defined as a change in behaviour in the learner.

Implications for TE TE focuses on the acquisition of discrete behavioural skills presented in the form of visual or written models promoting a model-based teacher learning. Such learning focuses on imitation and is present in micro-teaching, competency-based or apprenticeship approaches to teacher education (Roberts, 1998). Criticism of model-based teacher education emphasizes the need for skill training, but not on single models, and for learning by imitation, complemented by activities to develop self-awareness, awareness of learners perspectives and monitoring and evaluation skills (Pennington, 1990; Wright, 1990). 2.1.1.2. The Humanistic Theory of Learning In contrast, humanistic theory, according to Kurtz (2000), focuses on a person with selfagency, an autonomous and self-determined individual whose experience with others motivates action and personal change. The person is studied as a whole, especially as an individual grows and develops over lifespan. In this respect, the study of the self, motivation, and goals are areas of particular interest. Starting from this premise, learning is internally determined and not externally controlled. It is viewed as a personal act to fulfil ones potential.

From a humanist point of view, education provides a foundation for personal growth and development so that learning will continue throughout life in a self-directed manner (DeCarvalho, 1991). Teaching is student centred and personalized, and the educators role

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is that of a facilitator (Rogers and Freiberg, 1994). Affective and cognitive needs are key issues, and the goal is to develop self-actualized people in a cooperative, supportive environment.

Implications for TE In TE, a humanistic perspective highlights the need for both skills development which enable self-directed development and an educator that works collaboratively with student teachers who are responsible for determining the course of their own learning (Underhill, 1992; Freeman and Richards, 1993; Roberts, 1998). Teacher preparation promotes positive self-direction and independence, develops in the student teacher the ability to take

responsibility for what is learned, encourages creativity, curiosity and an interest in the arts (to develop the affective/emotional system) (Gage and Berliner, 1991). Critics of the humanistic approach to teacher education recognize the value of the autonomy of teachers and the emotional aspects of personal change that are highly regarded within this tradition, but reproach the lack of consideration for the influence that the social and occupational context have on teachers education (Bell and Gilbert, 1996; Richards and Lockhart, 1994). Authors like Roberts (1998) and Day et al. (2007) consider that the process of defining oneself as a teacher is informed by the persons images of others and the traditional views of teaching available to him/her, by school specific conditions (e.g. leadership), by the broad cultural and policy contexts, by the classroom organisation and teaching approaches used as well as the characteristics and backgrounds of the pupils taught.

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2.1.1.3. The Social Theories of Learning There are theories that regard the person as a social being interacting with the environment. Vygotsky (1978) studied the connections between people and the socio-cultural context in which they acted and interacted in shared experiences. He considered that social interaction played a fundamental role in the process of learning (Crawford, 1996). Literature on social theories (Lacey, 1977; Roth, 1990) presents a persons behaviour as determined by social rules and the norms the person follows to achieve acceptance by others. In this respect, social learning involves incorporating mental representations of other people and ones own roles in life in order to explain the difference between actions and ones response (Roth, 1990).

Implications for TE A social perspective on learning to teach emphasizes the process of socialization in which student teachers selectively acquire values and attitudes, interests, skills and knowledge according to groups in which they seek to engage (Lacey, 1977; Richards and Lockhart, 1994). In this sense, Roberts (1998) considers that learning to teach involves the adoption of a social role. TE needs to consider the social perspective of teachers work (Billet 2001), so that in preparing to be a teacher it is necessary to provide not only specialist knowledge but also engage in the values and attitudes, the interests, skills and knowledge belonging to the culture of practice of which they are going to be part (Kramsch and Sullivan, 1996; Day et al., 2007).

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2.1.1.4. The Constructivist Theory of Learning A constructivist approach to learning develops increasingly differentiated representations of the world which frame an individuals perceptions and actions (Steffe and Gale, 1995). Learning involves ongoing reconstruction of these representations as people make sense of the world in ways that are personal to them and each individual constructs his or her own reality (Williams and Burden, 2004). It is suggested that learners actively construct and test their own representations of the world and fit them into a personal framework, in a learning cycle (Richardson, 1997). These constructions of reality determine an individuals

expectations, mediate experiences and set parameters for subsequent learning (Smith, 1993; Fosnot, 2005).

Implications for TE A constructivist view makes sense of the way in which teachers can filter out training interventions, or interpret input so that it fits in with their existing personal theories about teaching and their prior experience (Fosnot, 2005). This tendency to assimilate inputs indicates the need to uncover teachers implicit theories and beliefs in order to make them available for conscious review (Schulman, 1988; Schulman, 1997). In this sense, teacher education needs to recognize that each student teacher has a different way of seeing, and thus feedback in the ITE setting should focus on the thinking and the perceptions of individual students as well as on their actions (Steffe and Gale, 1995). As for the

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curriculum (Richardson, 1997) it should include ways of developing self-awareness and also of exploring each student teachers interpretations of input and their classroom experience. Criticisms of a constructivist approach to TE emphasize the lack of cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions, and, given the social nature of teaching, the social dimensions of experience and learning (Bell and Gilbert, 1996; Williams and Burden, 2004). It should be considered that student teachers learning emerges from a complex of social and individual influences such as their experience as a pupil, the development of craft knowledge through teaching experience, personality preferences or public educational theories acquired from training or from reading (Richards and Lockhart, 1994).

2.2. Factors impacting on learning to teach

The discussion on major learning theories showed that there are elements which impact on teacher learning. This suggests that teacher educators need to be aware of multi perspectives of ITE and the way they affect what teachers learn. In this section four key factors which impact on learning to teach will be discussed: teacher knowledge, teacher beliefs, motivation and social context. They will be related closely to what teachers learn, then literature is explored from the specific focus on teacher learning.

2.2.1. Teacher learning From the perspective of the general theories of learning presented above, learning to teach involves highly complex processes. It is not enough for student teachers to acquire more knowledge and develop further skills for teaching a subject. The behaviourist perspective can recognize the need for skill training (Roth, 1990; Pennington, 1990; Wright, 1990;

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Roberts, 1998; Williams and Burden, 2004), but this needs to be complemented by selfawareness and awareness on student teachers prior knowledge and personal theories. The later are promoted in a constructivist approach, which suggests that learning to teach should also address personal and contextual dimensions of skill acquisition (Schulman, 1988; Bell and Gilbert, 1996; Schulman, 1997).

The autonomy of teachers and emotional aspects of personal change, central to a humanistic approach, are relevant for the learning of student teachers (Underhill, 1992; Freeman and Richards, 1993; Roberts, 1998). These are inextricably linked to the demands of the social environment in which student teachers develop. Learning to teach therefore should include experiencing the roles that different factors can play in their own learning (Chan and van Aalst, 2006). In other words, although the learning process itself takes place at individual level by means of constructing on input, one also needs to consider the social dimensions of experience and learning and the adoption of a social role by teachers (Richards and Lockhart, 1994; Kramsch and Sullivan, 1996).

Based on the discussion on the general theories of learning (see Table 5), it results that teacher learning represents a complex process through which teachers develop skills and acquire knowledge and expertise (Billett, 2001; Wilson and Demetriou, 2007). Teacher learning is shaped through a continuous interaction of the individual teacher (Schn, 1983) who adjusts and modifies his/her practice in response to the social context in which he/she works (actions, reactions, interactions and activities in the classroom, school etc) (Beckett

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and Hager, 2000; Billet 2001). This view is consistent with the principles of a social constructivist approach to teacher learning.

I consider that a practical example of teacher learning in the context of teacher education could be relevant for understanding the multiple forms of knowledge interplay in novice and expert teachers learning and teaching. Therefore, I am going to refer to a study (Calderhead and Shorrock, 1997) of what student teachers learned de facto during their ITE, from both university based courses and their school practice, in relation to the typology proposed in the literature. As a result of the reported learning experiences, Calderhead and Shorrock identified five types of professional learning: Knowledge accumulation the learning of information vital to the task of teaching (factual information about schools, children, curriculum, procedures and strategies). Performance learning requires a detailed awareness of self and others and an ability to cue in to the various actions, movements, tone of voice, speech and gestures that are used to communicate in the classroom. Teachers are often the focus of attention in classrooms and what they communicate verbally or nonverbally can be influential in shaping the relationships and the routines of the classroom, as the trainees discover. Performance skills are an essential part of teaching, but are dependent on learning processes that many students have not previously been introduced to in any systematic way. Practical problem-solving learning (planning lessons, thinking about how to cope with a particular form of classroom organisation, etc.). Schn (1983) explains that

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practical problems are often messy and offer different ways of being perceived as well as diverse routes to solving them. Practical problem-solving involves bringing together various areas of knowledge and experience, looking for patterns and explanations, and mentally rehearsing various strategies in attempts to define and solve problems. Learning about relationships developing relationships with children, parents and other teachers was perceived as an aspect of teachers job that involved them as professionals much more than performance skills. To relate well to children, it was suggested one had genuinely to like children, to want to work with them and to be able to communicate those feelings. Processes of assimilation - a source of learning is represented by the dissonance created by the diverse range of strategies, beliefs, values and information in everyday teaching. In the case of trainees the images they have of themselves as teachers do not match the kind of teacher they can see themselves becoming. They search for rationales and justifications in an attempt to develop a more coherent and comfortable understanding of teaching and of themselves as teachers. Figure 7. Teacher Learning

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Teacher Learning

Process of assimilation

Knowledge accumulation

Developing relationships Practical problem solving

Performance knowledge

Figure 7 refers to various aspects of learning to teach. In order to explore further the relationship between them, one needs to look at the interaction between what teachers learn, what individual teachers bring to the learning context, and the way the social landscape affects their development as a whole (Calderhead and Shorrock, 1997). In the context of this research, it is important to first get an understanding of the process of learning to teach before approaching it from the perspectives of the research participants. Thus, I will further refer to teachers knowledge as presented in the literature, and then to the personal factors and the social environment recognised as affecting the processes of learning to teach.

2.2.2. Teacher knowledge and its impact on learning to teach

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The literature has proposed a series of frameworks for domains of teacher knowledge that are regarded as interwoven in practice (Schulman, 1987; Carter 1990; Grossman, 1990; Turner-Bisset, 1999). Grossmans (1990) typology seems to comprise the core categories proposed in the literature as presented in Table 4.

Table 4. Typology of Knowledge (Grossman, 1990) TYPE OF KNOWLEDGE o Knowledge of content o Knowledge of learners and learning DESCRIPTION subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge1 knowledge of learning theories; the physical, social, psychological and cognitive development of students; motivational theory; diversity factors among students. knowledge of classroom organisation and management, general methods of teaching knowledge of processes of curriculum development and of the school curriculum across grade levels knowledge of school, district, students families, local community, knowledge of historical, philosophical and cultural foundations of education within a country knowledge of personal values, dispositions, strengths and weaknesses, their educational philosophy, goals for students and purposes for teaching.

o Knowledge of general pedagogy o Knowledge of curriculum o Knowledge of context

o Knowledge of self

Among all domains of teacher knowledge, one seems to be of particular interest in the literature on teacher education (Wallace, 1991; Roberts, 1998; Furlong et al. 2000; Ellis, 2007). It is pedagogical content knowledge that teachers need to develop in order to facilitate understanding in others. In other words knowledge of examples, anecdotes, experiments and difficulties that are commonly experienced; it is knowledge that helps
1

Knowledge about the specific context and subject content together with an understanding of learners (see also p.92)

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teachers to communicate the subject matter (Calderhead and Shorrock, 1997). Pedagogical content knowledge, according to Schulman (1987), lies at the intersection of content and pedagogy, in the transformation of content into forms that are pedagogically powerful as the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, or issues are organised, represented, adapted and represented for instruction (p. 8). He claims that developing this knowledge not only requires an understanding of the subject, but an understanding of children, their abilities and interests, how they tend to respond to different situations, an appreciation of different teaching strategies and how various types of classroom activity might be managed.

Opinions on the complexity of teacher knowledge exceed Grossmans (1990) or Calderhead and Shorrocks (1997) typology. Pedagogical content knowledge theory and research has sought to explain how its multiple forms of knowledge interplay in novice and expert teachers thinking and teaching (Turner-Bisset, 1999; Amade-Escot, 2000). It is recognised that beyond knowing a content discipline, effective teaching behaviours and curricular progression, teachers must understand students cognitive processes, typical patterns of understanding, common errors, in order to interpret students understanding while teaching etc. (Marks, 1990; Rovegno, 1993; McCaughtry and Rovegno, 2003; McCaughtry, 2004). In other words, pedagogical content knowledge centres on the interconnectedness of knowing subject matter, pedagogy, curriculum and students (McCaughtry, 2005).

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Another typology of teacher knowledge (Wilson and Demetriou, 2007) brings together personal knowledge specific to the individual teacher as linked to affective factors (Hargreaves, 2005; Day et al., 2006) and professional knowledge as what has been referred above as pedagogical content knowledge (Schulman, 1987) with the contribution of working within a particular context, as shown in Figure 8 below.

Figure 8. Teacher knowledge

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PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE Knowing what to teach


Access subject knowledge Know school policy and practice

PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE Awareness


Of personal values and how these inform beliefs Empathy with students and colleagues

Knowing how to teach


Deconstruct subject knowledge Present subject knowledge Understand classroom dynamics, school and TEACHER the influence of wider community

Understanding
Cope with emotional dimensions of teaching

To consult and work KNOWLEDGE with others To reflect and deliberate over classroom IN A PROFESSIONAL CONTEXT practices

Disposition

Relationships
With students and colleagues

Work within a specific school context Be able to work with other professionals in the immediate or in a wider school context Understand the cultural context of school and community Support and value colleagues and students Be accountable to students, parents, school

This typology emphasizes the importance of teachers personal and context-specific knowledge, alongside what Wilson and Demetriou (2007) call professional knowledge, embedded in texts, cultural practices of teaching or research. Studies in effective teaching (Ericksen, 1984; Bennett, 1987; Brown and McIntyre, 1992) bring insights into what student teachers need to strive to achieve in their teaching. Good teaching as presented in these studies involves, among others, interpersonal skills (developing personal, mature relationship with pupils, creating a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere in the classroom, acknowledgement and stimulation of pupils ideas etc.), classroom management skills (retaining control in the classroom, feedback, guidance of students answers etc.),

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presentation skills (clarity of presentation, use of structuring comments, adaptability to pupils level of understanding etc.) evaluation skills (judging what can be expected of a pupil etc.), personal talents and knowledge, or motivation (enthusiasm, encouraging pupils to raise their expectations of themselves etc).

Work on many domains of teacher knowledge suggest that abstract or theoretical knowledge about teaching is filtered through teachers own values, goals, and personal philosophies, leading to the conclusion that all aspects of teacher knowledge are grounded in personal perspectives and experience (Anderson, 1995). Teachers professional knowledge includes personal theories (ways of thinking about the profession shaped and developed as a result of individuals experience as learners and teachers). These personal theories help teachers to make sense of their past and present professional experience and determine what teachers do in the classroom. Personal theories incorporate their understanding of public theory defined as theories published in books, discussed in classes and accompanied by critical literature (Eraut, 1994). These personal theories change over time and are usually tacit or implicit. In other words, teachers choose how to act and decide what to do in everyday practice by making judgements that are not only driven by rational thinking but also by human experiences and emotions (Hoekstra et al., 2007). In this sense teacher learning can be interpreted as growing capacity to make appropriate judgements in changing, and often unique circumstances that occur in practice (Beckett and Hager, 2000:302) (see also 2.2.1). TE should encourage teachers to reflect on their personal theories and make them explicit (as statements, metaphors, diagrams, hypotheses, plans), to compare them with those of

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their colleagues and the public theory, to relate them to their practice and as a consequence, to develop new theories (James, 2001; Eraut, 2004). This is important for their learning because, according to James (2001) it raises teachers existing knowledge into consciousness, it helps teachers examine and question their assumptions about education, teaching and learning. He also believes that reflection helps teachers in the longterm task of organising and clarifying their personal theories, and assimilating new information as it develops teachers critical awareness and it allows access to and understanding of individual teachers theories.

For these reasons, I suggest it is relevant to this study also to explore the issue of teacher beliefs relating to the process of learning how to teach. In addition, motivational aspects of learning are going to be considered. A psychological perspective on learning development recognises that anything that learners themselves bring to the learning situation is crucial to successful learning. Learning becomes a matter of how learners interact with what is learned in a particular situation (Wallace, 1991; Bullough, 2001).

2.2.3. Teacher Beliefs and their impact on teacher learning

Beliefs are propositions that may be consciously or unconsciously held. They are evaluative in that they are accepted as true by individuals, and are therefore imbued with emotive commitment. Moreover, they serve as a guide to thought and behaviour (Pajares, 1992, Calderhead, 1996, Borg, 2001).

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They are involved in helping individuals make sense of the world, influencing how new information is perceived, and whether it is accepted or rejected. Beliefs colour memories with their evaluation and judgement, and serve to frame our understanding of events (Borg, 2001:186-185). Beliefs play an important role in many aspects of life, as well as teaching. Teachers beliefs are explored in relation to areas such as teaching, learning and learners, self as a teacher or the role of the teacher. The literature brings evidence to support the hypothesis that teachers are influenced by their beliefs which are closely linked to their values, their views of the world and to their conceptions of their place within it (Freeman and Richards, 1996; Williams and Burden, 2004). Beliefs determine how teachers organise and define tasks and problems and can be predictors of how student teachers will behave in the classroom (James, 2001). They influence the way teachers plan their lessons, the kind of decisions they make and their general classroom practice (ibid). Teachers hold beliefs about learning, about teaching, about their learners, and about themselves as individuals and professionals. A persons set of beliefs, values, understandings, assumptions the ways of thinking about the teaching profession, comprise a personal theory (Zeichner et al., 1987, Johnson, 1988, Ely et al., 1991, Freeman and Richards, 1996).

In the context of ITE, student teachers beliefs about what is involved in learning will influence the way in which they learn to teach. Researchers have acknowledged the importance of student teacher prior beliefs upon entry into ITE programs (Ghaith & Shaaban, 1999, Uhlenbeck et al., 2002, Virta, 2002). Prior beliefs are said to represent interpretive lenses through which candidates attempt to focus, see, visualize, perceive,

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characterize, understand and ultimately resolve their teaching concerns (Kagan, 1992, Uhlenbeck et al., 2002). They are said to be well established by the time student teachers attend the ITE programmes (Pajares, 1992) and highly stable, enduring over the course of the teachers careers. According to James (2001), a possible explanation for this resistance to change is that these beliefs are based on common sense or personal experiences, and have been present for a long time. Student teachers have, therefore, already experienced their benefit (learning or teaching strategies that they have applied successfully), which form a stable ground for further learning. A second aspect is that they are often in the form of procedures that direct actions in an automatic way (Anderson, 1998). These procedures are hard to change (Brger and Tillema, 1993).

Lortie (1975) also refers to the experience during the school years as the apprenticeship of observation. He emphasises the power of this experience and its influence on the processes of learning to teach. He comments on student teachers images of teaching as incomplete because they do not experience their teachers private thoughts, only their public manifestation. Therefore, what students learn about teaching is more intuitive and imitative rather than explicit and analytical as it is based on individual personalities rather than pedagogical principles (cited in Roberts, 1998). He stresses the need for student teachers to recall and explore their personal images of teaching, not because they are inherently wrong, but because they are tacit, and thus not likely to render teaching as problematic.

Assuming student teachers prior beliefs remain stable during their educational careers, it is quite probable that they will be put to the test with each additional field experience. Their

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stable nature has led some researchers (Wideen et al., 1998) to concede that, while it may not be possible to change such beliefs, educators must be able to build upon them. Therefore, knowledge of student teachers early beliefs of teaching may provide teacher educators with vital information to serve trainees needs and provide them with the necessary support during their subsequent educational and field experiences.

Student teachers beliefs also influence the way they approach ITE and trainers and cotrainers guidance, interpret the information given, and what they learn from them as a source of input (Tillema, 1994, Richardson, 1996, Oosterheert and Vermunt, 2001). Meeting a teaching situation in which student teachers cannot hold on to these beliefs is a starting-point for possible change and professional development. An essential aspect of teacher training, therefore, is thinking critically or reflecting about current beliefs of ones own (Kagan, 1992). Before being able to reflect on their beliefs about teaching, student teachers must become aware of these. These beliefs are often implicit and not articulated (Carter, 1990, Francis, 1995).

It is also important to consider how student teachers view themselves as people and as teachers (Day et al., 2007). I suggest that a student teachers experiences as a learner and the quality of the relationships experienced in educational contexts, determine the impact any course might have on further practice (Zeichner and Liston, 1987, Flores and Day, 2006). For the purpose of this study, it is relevant to understand what student teachers bring to the teaching-learning relationship as I will be exploring individual perceptions of learning to teach in a particular educational context. Trainees will have internalized

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teaching models which they observe before and during their training (Tann, 1993). Therefore, it becomes highly important to make student teachers beliefs become explicit.

Researchers have examined student teachers beliefs about teaching using different methodologies. Some have used questionnaires or surveys (Weinstein, 1989, 1990, Maxson and Mahlios, 1994, Witcher et al., 2001), while others have engaged students in open (Holt-Reynolds, 1992) or semi-structured interviews (Weinstein, 1990, Skamp, 1995). Fajet, Bello, Leftwich, Mesler and Shaver (2005) combined all three methods (questionnaire, survey and semi-structured interview). They considered that investigating pre-service teachers beliefs about teaching is critical to determining the extent to which ITE programmes can affect their subsequent classroom practice. Other methods include journal keeping, concept maps, stimulated recall, practical arguments, short-answer tests, repertory grids, metaphors, the drawing of pictures or story-lines, or conversations (Kagan, 1990, Solas, 1992, Martin and Kompf, 1996, Beijaard, Van Driel and Verloop, 1999, Black and Halliwell, 2000). Zanting, Verloop and Vermunt (2001) have used concept mapping and completing sentences to elicit beliefs. Both instruments can provide a lot of information in a relatively short time, without requiring intensive training or expensive material equipment. Completing sentences yielded concrete, practical, and situationspecific information, while concept mapping yielded more abstract and general information. They were used as instruments for student teachers to explain their own beliefs about teaching and to access input knowledge.

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It has been found that very often student teachers feel overwhelmed, shocked, and disillusioned by the realities of the classroom (Kagan, 1992, Wideen et al., 1998, Virta, 2002). Therefore, they need as many opportunities as possible to examine and consider alternative teaching beliefs and strategies (Calderhead, 1996; Uhlenbeck et al., 2002) in order to expand and modify prior beliefs and better adapt to their learning environment and reduce potential stress when teaching in the classroom.

Teacher education programs should provide awareness and reflection exercises that allow candidates to identify their beliefs and perceptions regarding teaching and explain the reasoning behind such beliefs before the actual onset of education and field work experiences. It has been stated that self-awareness and reflection of beliefs are important cognitive tools with respect to learning to teach and teacher development (Uhlenbeck et al., 2002, Dinkelman, 2003). Without prior training in this regard, it is difficult for teachers to separate their thoughts from their behavior. This is evidenced by reports (Tomlinson, 1995) that teachers have a difficult time explaining their actions and articulating underlying beliefs, illustrating the need to engage student teachers in reflection and self-awareness as early as possible and throughout their training. Thus educators should be aware that this also involves the development of other skills such as conversation, cognitive processing or writing skills (Vermunt, 1998), according to the eliciting methods used.

It is increasingly evident from the literature (Goodson and Hargreaves, 1996, Hargreaves, 2005, Day et al. 2007) that personal beliefs about teaching influence the process of learning to teach. Woods et al. (1997: 152) argue that teaching is a matter of values. People teach

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because they believe in something. Teachers may feel or may not feel passionate about teaching, their own professional knowledge and skills and relationships with colleagues, because teaching is an emotional practice (Hargreaves, 2005). This issue will be addressed in the following section, where I will refer to the driving force of the affective factors in learning to teach.

2.2.4. Motivation and its impact on teacher learning

A persons affect towards a particular thing, action, situation or experience is related to the way this thing, action, situation or experience fits in with that persons needs or purposes. This influences his/her emotions, or affective variables such as motivation or attitude (Stevick, 1999 cited in Arnold, 1999; Young, 1999; Le Doux, 1996 cited in Young, 1999). Motivation, as a process of initiating, sustaining and directing activity is considered relevant in the process of learning to teach (Smithers and Robinson, 2003). For student teachers motivation can precede the training situation, or it can be engaged by it. The trainee can have strong reasons for wanting to learn before he or she ever comes to the classroom. In the course of attending a class, strong reasons for continuing to attend and learn can emerge (Tugui, 2003, 2004). In other words, learning breeds its own motivation and at the same time previous motivation can lead to success (Nunan, 1991). A distinction used by literature is that between intrinsic motivation (the urge to engage in the learning activity for its own sake) and extrinsic motivation (motivation that is derived from external incentives) (Gardner 1985 cited in Cook, 2001). Learners with positive learning

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experiences are more willing to engage with future ones, more confident in their chances of succeeding, and more likely to persevere in their efforts. Therefore, trainees who engage in a perceived positive learning context will be more motivated to engage with other activities promoting learning to teach (Ingersoll, 2001; Smithers and Robinson, 2003).

At the same time good teachers work in different ways as they have a wide range of different personalities and beliefs, and come from different backgrounds and cultures (Williams and Burden, 2004). It is very likely that teachers with a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds would require quite different things from the ITE programme and have a variety of learning needs and dispositions that they take with them. For ITE it means that they need to provide different participatory experiences, types and amounts of feedback and support during their training (Lucas, 2007).

Motivation can be influenced by teachers perceived efficacy, which affects the thoughts and emotions, stimulating teachers towards the development of a substantial effort in the pursuit of objectives, persisting in spite of adversity and tying to control any relevant events which affect their lives (Bandura, 1993; Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk-Hoy, 2001). Proposed within the socio-cognitive theory, the concept of perceived self-efficacy refers to a belief about the future level of competence that a person predicts they will show in a given situation (Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk Hoy and Hoy, 1998). It is suggested that perceived-efficacy is self-referential and plays an important mediating role between knowledge, an individuals skills and behaviour in specific tasks (Pajares, 1996). Therefore, in

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the realm of teaching, self-efficacy expectations could affect different aspects of a teachers thought, decision-making and behaviour (Day, Stobart, Sammons and Kington, 2006).

If teachers consider that their actions have a limited aspect on the academic success of their students, it is likely that they will make less effort to apply new teaching techniques in order to bring about an improvement in the students performance. Likewise, teachers who show high self-efficacy expectancies (Eraut, 2004) will use a wide variety of novel educational activities in order to improve the learning of students with low academic performance or those with behavioural problems (Ghaith and Yaghi, 1997; TschannenMoran et al., 1998; Wertheim and Leyser, 2002). Sedan (1995) also speaks about the influence of the perception of self as competent. He found in his study that student teachers rated themselves as close to their personal image of most effective teacher. Such selfconcept could act as an obstacle to development, because it offers little motivation to learn further (Day et al. 2006).

Roberts (1998) suggests that teachers personal theories on teaching and learning and their motivation for professional development are affected by their social experience, as the attitudes, values and orientations that they bring with them influence the conduct of work. I will further consider the influence of the social environment in which learning occurs, as relevant for the understanding of the way trainees in this study perceive the influence of their context on their learning to teach.

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2.2.5. The social context and its impact on teacher learning

Learning to teach also involves developing a social identity, a process of defining oneself as a teacher; informed by our images of others and the traditional views of teaching, fulfilling a significant public role (Roth, 1990). Different studies stress the social influences on teacher learning, by pointing at the structural aspects of the social status of the occupation (Schn, 1983), the norms of classroom interaction (Kramsch and Sullivan, 1996), and the norms enacted by school culture (Richards and Lockhart, 1994). During the ITE programmes student teachers learn through interaction with peers, tutors and/or pupils, while implicit rules of teaching behaviour and material resources affect their learning when teaching in schools.

According to Flores and Day (2006), teachers develop their beliefs and practice in terms of the relative match between a schools ethos and their own personal theories Similarities between the two would confirm and strengthen personal theories, while a mismatch would determine either an adaptation to the school system in which case teachers need to rethink their values in line with the schools, or persist in their practice while maintaining beliefs (Wilson and Demetriou, 2007). On the one hand, teachers are bound by public requirements, whether to meet external accreditation criteria, or to fulfil the role that schools and society at large have constructed for them. Their development is socially influenced (Day, Stobart, Sammons and Kington, 2007). On the other hand, teachers prior knowledge and personal theories mediate the personal, conceptual and contextual dimensions of learning to teach. Their development is driven by personal characteristics.

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These imply that any problems need to be tackled in terms of practicalities and also the beliefs of participants about themselves and others. Social change and personal change are seen as interdependent (Roberts, 1998) as also illustrated in Chapter II (see 2.1).

2.2.6. Discussion

Teacher development as teacher learning is assisted by existing knowledge of teaching and learning, experiences, beliefs and values of the teachers, and individual ways of learning. However, each persons development occurs in constant exchange with their social circumstances. Learners make their own sense of the world, but they do so within a social context, and through social interactions (Williams and Burden, 2004:28). Therefore, although looking for an understanding of individual conceptual change, one cannot avoid considering the constant exchange with the social circumstances in which learning occurs. Figure 9 illustrates factors which impact on teacher learning incorporating different aspects of knowledge re-constructed constantly in a process of interaction and re-interpretation through the lens of affective factors, personal theories and social environment.
INTERACTION

Figure 9. Factors impacting on learning to teach


FITTING INTERPRETATION

FILTERING

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RE-CONSTRUCTION

A unifying perspective, that stresses the interpersonal and social climate which promotes learning, seems to be offered by a social constructivist approach, as showed in Figure 10 below (p. 99). I believe that a social constructivist perspective can offer a comprehensive framework for this study. At this point I need to reiterate the purpose of this study: the way people directly involved in the teaching and learning processes view their learning for development in relation to the training they receive in a particular educational context. Therefore, I believe that an understanding of individual growth will be achieved by means of constructivist views of learning, and complemented by explorations of the social dimensions of experience and learning.

PART II

2.3.

A social constructivist perspective on learning to teach

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By building on constructivist views of learning, on social dimensions to teacher work and on the notions of interpretation and re-construction as a means of learning, I suggest that a social constructivist perspective offers a comprehensive approach to learning within ITE. In Part I (see 3.1.1.3 and 3.1.1.4) I referred in general terms to social and constructivist theories of learning. I now wish to develop these further and in particular their relationship to teacher learning.

2.3.1. Learning from a social constructivist perspective

A social constructivist approach to learning, influenced by cognitive theories, places emphasis on the learner and on the importance of what he/she brings to any learning situation as an active meaning maker and problem-solver (Tracey and Morrow, 2006). Learning is viewed as a self-regulatory process of struggling with the conflict between existing personal models of the world and new insights (Richardson, 1997; Greenon Brooks and Brooks, 1999). We construct new representations and models of reality in an attempt to achieve meaning by means of culturally developed tools and symbols, and we further negotiate such meaning through cooperative social activity, discourse, and debate in communities of practice (Fosnot, 2005).

Humans represent the meaning of experience through abstraction, constructing symbolic representations of reality, and generalization. These constructions allow us to go beyond the immediacy of the concrete, to encounter multiple perspectives that generate new possibilities. As we attempt to generalize meaning across experiences, we first tend to

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categorize, classify and order new information based on correspondences with previous acquired concepts. Then we record the difference between the individual experiences and the symbolic generalizations (von Glasersfeld, 2005).

The transition between the process of abstraction and that of noticing differences is made through what Piaget (1977) calls reflective abstraction. Reflection on the symbolic representations brings about new insights, new constructions, new possibilities that help us to become conscious of our actions on the world in order to gain new knowledge with which we act. In other words, the building of conceptual structures takes place through abstraction and reflection. From this perspective, the process of learning can be defined as a constructive building of meaning making which results in reflective abstractions producing symbols within a medium. These symbols then become part of ones repertoire of assimilatory schemes, which in turn are used when perceiving and further conceiving (Smith, 1993; Greenon Brooks and Brooks, 1999; Richardson, 1997; Fosnot, 2005).

Figure 10. A social constructivist learning model (Fosnot, 1996 in Fosnot, 2005)

SELF

SYMBOL
2.2. Teaching

OTHERS

MEDIUM
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Figure 10 illustrates the relation between the self, the medium and the others in the process of learning as construction of meaning through reflection and abstraction of symbolic representations.

When applied to TE, the social constructivist model of learning involves organising and reorganising, structuring and restructuring a teachers understanding of practice (Uhlenbeck et al., 2002:243 cited in Alger, 2006:297) through the interaction with the others in the professional medium. Teachers are viewed as learners who actively construct knowledge by interpreting events on the basis of existing knowledge, beliefs, and dispositions (Billett, 2001; Wilson and Demetriou, 2007). This underlines the importance of the knowledge and beliefs about learning, teaching, students, and content pre-service teachers bring to their TE classes as students. These understandings and beliefs function as interpretative lenses through which beginning teachers make sense of their experience (Tugui, 2006).

A social constructivist view of learning suggests an approach to teaching that gives learners the opportunity for concrete, contextually meaningful experience through which they can search for patterns, raise questions and model and interpret and defend their strategies and ideas through interaction with the others (Richardson, 1997). Problems are not solved by the retrieval of rote-learned right answers; to solve a problem intelligently, one must share it in social circumstances. That is, one must see it as an obstacle that obstructs ones

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progress toward a goal (Steffe and Gale, 1995). Effective motivation to continue learning can be fostered by leading students to experience solving problems seen and chosen in a social context which in turn becomes an incentive for them to change it (Nunan, 1991; Smithers and Robinson, 2003; Fosnot, 2005).

The fact that no two teachers and no two learning situations are the same as they are individually constructed, emphasises the individual nature of learning (Smith, 1993). Therefore, there is a need for teachers to become aware of the ways in which they make sense of and construct their views of the world, particularly with regard to their views about education and how those views themselves come to be shaped and affect their actions (Williams and Burden, 2004). But this process is also influenced by the social context it is placed in. In other words, learning to teach involves analysis of knowledge formation and experience in order to understand personal change through interaction with the surrounding environment. Reflection is conceived as the rational analysis of an action or experience in this context (Calderhead and Gates, 1993).

2.3.2. Reflection

The process of understanding the way reflection can assist learning is complex since reflection is conceptualised in various ways in the literature. Roberts (1998) identifies five main theories that view reflection as:

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1. Disciplined deliberative thinking as a basis for personal development (Dewey, 1933, 1938) 2. Framing and reframing of practical situations as they are worked on, interpreted, tested out and clarified (Schn 1983, 1987). 3. Personalising public knowledge through experience (Kolb, 1984) 4. Reconstruction of current knowledge (constructivism). 5. Means of accessing idiosyncratic images of teaching (Lortie, 1975).

Dewey (1933) defines reflection as disciplined, conscious, explicit and critical thought which contributes to the intellectual and moral development of a person. He suggests a reflective cycle which involves (1) confusion due to an incomplete understanding of a situation followed by (2) a tentative interpretation of the facts. As an important phase of the reflective process a person enters in a moment of crisis is (3) the careful examination/introspection/exploration/analysis when one attempts to clarify the problem in hand. In the following phase one (4) elaborates tentative hypothesis to make the problem more precise. The overt attempt to bring about the anticipated result ends the reflective cycle (cited in Pollard, 2000). In Deweys (1910) view reflection contributes to professional growth because it frees one of a single view of the situation which would restrict how we define problems and so the resulting solutions. Thus reflection enables us to reframe problems and is a factor which contributes to changing ones perspectives.

Schn (1983) says that our ability to conceptualise alternative perspectives on a problem lies at the very heart of professional development and also of creative, appropriate

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problem-solving. In this way our effectiveness depends on our ability to frame and reframe situations to come up with appropriate interpretations and actions. How we frame a situation depends on our learned expectations as students (Loughran, 1996; Francis and Ingram-Starrs, 2005). We label situations according to previous experiences, established frames and routines, until the moment of crisis when there is a good reason to reconsider them. Schn (1987) considers that professional development should be acquired by a deepend strategy in which novices conduct reflective dialogues with themselves and with master coaches, their own ideas being confronted by the alternative perspectives and observations of the coach. In this context it is rather difficult to transfer the concept to ITE as it assumes that the novices have the resources for self-agency in learning and that they are already equipped with basic professional knowledge and competence (Osterman and Kottkamp, 1993; Eraut, 2004; Wilson and Demetriou, 2007). Moreover, the reflective process is far from being rational and systematic. We have to consider the emotional aspects of reframing as it involves shifts in self-concept, which can be associated with what is potentially an emotionally turbulent period of uncertainty (Lee, 2005; Korthagen and Vasalos, 2005).

Schns conception of reflective practice is infused with constructivist roots and one of its defining characteristics is this constructivist orientation. Noddings (1995) suggests several constructivist concepts relevant in Schns theory: all knowledge is constructed, at least in part, through a process of reflection; there exist cognitive structures that are activated in the process of construction; cognitive structures are under continual development (purposive activity induces transformation of those structures, and the environment presses the

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organism to adapt). In this respect, she appears to have been influenced to a significant extent by Nelson Goodmans (1978) constructivist views as expressed in his seminal book Ways of Worldmaking (cited in Kinsella, 2006).

2.3.3. Reflection and teacher learning

The perspectives of Dewey (1933) and Schn (1983) suggest that the term reflection can be used with three different meanings: Rational deliberative thought, drawing critically on diverse knowledge bases Reframing, recasting problems to arrive at apt solutions Self-awareness, whether of ones own images of teachers, ones personal theories, or any current knowledge relevant to a new learning task. Subsequent work in reflective teacher education has recognised the need for self-awareness as a departure point for development (Schulman, 1988; Griffiths and Tann, 1992 cited in Roberts, 1998)

Other definitions of reflection gravitate more or less around these three meanings. Hatton and Smith (1995) describe reflection as deliberate thinking about action with a view to its improvement (p.34). The act of reflection is regarded as a tool for pre-service teachers to do the organising and reorganising of their understanding and is considered critical to teacher development. Reflection as a means to self-development becomes an end in itself in professional development. Loughran (1996) describes it as the purposeful, deliberate act

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of enquiry into ones thoughts and actions through which a perceived problem is examined in order that a thoughtful, reasoned response might be tested out. Ross, Johnson and Smith (1992) see reflection in terms of personal and professional growth and adopt a series of processes to promote student teachers examination of their own educational values and beliefs (cited in Day et al., 1993).

Richards and Lockhart (1994) describe a reflective approach to teaching in which teachers collect data about teaching, examine their attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, and teaching practices, and use the information obtained as a basis for critical reflection about teaching (p. 1). They believe that reflective enquiry should lead to continuous professional development. Wallace (1991) stresses that reflective teaching is a cycle that includes reflection on both received knowledge, such as theory and pedagogy in teacher education programmes, and experiential knowledge, what happens within the context of classrooms. These definitions all suggest that reflective processes are inherent in social and constructivist learning.

Content of reflection Reflection also needs to be regarded in terms of its content. There could be identified three different levels of theorizing and reflecting in learning to teach (Zeichner, 1987, van Manen, 1977, Tom, 1984, Carr and Kemmis, 1986 all cited in McIntyre, 1993):

Technical level the concern is with the effective attainment of given

goals. The trainee reflects on his/her teaching and learns from other sources. In developing a repertoire of skills, the trainees success is likely to depend both on

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deliberate use of ideas from a wide variety of sources, and also on theorising about these ideas in relation to a wide range of criteria including some at the practical and critical levels.

Practical level the concern is with the assumptions, predispositions,

values and consequences with which actions are linked. Trainees need to develop their ability to articulate and justify their own criteria for evaluating self-selected aspects of their teaching, to use these criteria through collecting and interpreting appropriate evidence, and to explore useful ways of developing their teaching in the light of these self-evaluations. This is the phase in which the central goal is for trainees to learn habits and skills of reflecting.

Critical/emancipatory level the concern includes wider ethical, social

and political issues. The study of the social and institutional context of teaching is not based upon their reflection on their own teaching but is aimed to feed into that reflection. It is through theorizing about others practices that trainees are helped to gain a critical perspective on the contexts within which they are working; and it is on the basis of such an understanding that they are encouraged to introduce this level of reflectivity into their reflection on their own practices.

Reflection has been recognised as a relevant element for teachers learning. It was frequently presumed that reflection is an intrinsically good and desirable aspect of teaching and TE, and that teachers, in becoming more reflective, will in some sense be better

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teachers (Calderhead and Gates, 1993). Though, any claims, that reflection is useful or essential for learning and therefore justifiable, must be grounded in evidence. For some, these claims also have to be theoretically informed. The importance of reflective practices can no longer simply be juxtaposed with notions of greater staff-centeredness, bottom-up and empowerment processes (Exworthy and Scott, 2004 cited in Ghaye, 2005).

Purpose of reflection Reflection also needs to be considered in terms of its purposefulness. If a person is to engage in a particular act of reflection, there must be a reason or impetus for doing so (Lee, 2005; Francis and Ingham-Starrs, 2005). To become reflective one needs the desire to know, passionate creeds and why questions. One needs to be internally motivated to engage in both spontaneous and structured reflection. Therefore, trainees need help in developing internal purposes for reflection which may include the adoption of a passionate creed and learning to ask why questions. Valli (1993) considers meaningful reflection as the ability to problematize the relationship between theory and practice. In this respect, Grimmett (1988) suggests three directions of reflection (cited in LaBoskey, 1993):

Reflection to direct or control practice Reflection to inform practice by deliberating and choosing among

competing versions of good teaching Reflection to appreciate or apprehend practice by reconstructing an

experience into a new possibility for action.

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2.3.4. Reflection and implications for TE

If we regard the process of reflection as the driving force of learning, building in reflection time and discussing connections across experiences or strategies that may facilitate reflective abstraction becomes an important issue.

In the context of this research the purpose of reflection might be to uncover current routines and modes of thinking as they may support or block professional development. As suggested by the literature, there are certain activities that could foster reflection (Zeichner and Liston, 1987, Connelly and Clandinin, 1990, Graham, 1991, Carter, 1993, Valli, 1997, Davies & Adams, 2000). They are practical activities that can provide a context in which reflection can be encouraged. These activities are mostly situations in which various conditions that favour reflection are accentuated or harnessed in a formalized manner (Moon, 2008). Some examples derived from different theories are classified in Table 5 according to the purpose of reflection.

Table 5. Activities fostering reflection PURPOSE OF REFLECTION Raise awareness of personal images of teaching Raise awareness of ones personal theories, values, beliefs ACTIVITY TO FOSTER REFLECTION Reflective autobiography, autobiographical letters, role play Uncovering activities: repertory grid, mind maps, structured conversations with tutors, exploration of metaphors and images THEORY SOURCE Lortie (1975) Griffiths and Tann (1992), social constructivist view Constructivist view that awareness of implicit beliefs is a prerequisite for personal change: Argyris and Schn, 1974; Griffiths and Tann,

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Explore connexions between Recall incidents from ones oneself as a learner and own L2 learning and ones practice as a teacher contrast them with those of fellow teachers.

Develop ability to analyse teaching situations Recall and analyse new and recent learning experiences

Review and assess your own actions in class (become more aware of the variables that affect planning, problem-solving, analysis of situations, evaluation and conscious decision-making) Try to interpret theoretical frameworks and concepts in terms of classroom incidents, to test the relevance of theories in the classroom. Become able to reframe interpretations of ones practice

Structured observation and description Direct language instruction: analysis and discussion of rationales and contrast between different teaching strategies. Recall incidents, assessment according to course criteria, discussion with supervisors and peers.

1992. Constructivist view that we need awareness of our assumptions about L2 learning (Kagan, 1992) and that we develop our personal theories by analysing our experience (Kolb, 1984) Constructivism and observational learning. Woodward, 1992; constructivism and experiential learning theory. Effective teachers are capable of self-evaluation (Dewey, 1933; Day et al., 1987). We develop our theories by analysing direct personal experiences (Kolb, 1984) Experiential learning strategy; social constructivism, Wallace, 1996.

Structured presentations or formal writing in which a theory is applied to classroom events to assess the relevance and truthfulness of the theory. Reflective conversations and Constructivist models of reflective writing with professional development of skilled facilitator. a developing ability to reframe situations (Dewey, 1933, Argyris and Schn, 1974)

Teacher educators seem to prefer a series of activities to help student teachers become reflective such as case studies, classroom discussion, and journal writing. In particular, the use of autobiography has been used extensively as a way to encourage pre-service teachers to value their own lives and experiences as a source of knowledge about what they may expect to encounter in their own classrooms and the lives of children they will teach

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(Davies & Adams, 2000). There are various terms used in the literature for journal, such as log, diary, dialectical notebook, file, progress file, workbook and autobiographical and reflective writing (Knowles, 1993, Hatton and Smith, 1995).

Middle school pre-service teachers use of autobiographical writing to help them unpack adolescent experiences and accompanying changes in identity are documented by Davies and Adams (2000) who explain how this provides students with ways to value their own life experiences as legitimate contexts of knowledge that can help them move beyond the normalizing constraints that objective knowledge claims imposed (p. 18).

Autobiographical writing also helps teachers critically examines their own learning experiences in relation to literacy. At the pre-service level, Knowles (1988) has argued that teacher training institutions must accommodate and use the autobiographical writing of future teachers in order to help teachers critically examine practices they might likely repeat (cited in Joseph, Braun and Crumpler, 2004).

In terms of the manner in which reflection functions in relation to learning in journal writing, the reflection is primarily in a represented form on paper, though it may be electronic or spoken into an audio-recorder, and the learning comes from the process of representing and reading back. Journals in teacher education seem to be more suitable for courses where there are smaller numbers of learners who have a clear sense of their goal (Moon, 2008). Although writing a journal may be alien to many student teachers, it will help to sell the idea if the purpose behind it and the anticipated learning that should result is clearly articulated. Biggs (2007) speaks about the importance of the alignment between the intended

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learning outcomes, the teaching/learning activities and the assessment tasks, that might be crucial when introducing reflective activities to student teachers. The learning activities addressed in the intended outcomes of ITE programmes need to be mirrored both in the teaching/learning activities the student teachers undertake and in the assessment tasks. This alignment is called constructive alignment because it is built on the constructive theory that learners use their own activity to construct their own knowledge or other outcome. The intended outcomes specify the activity that student teachers should engage in if they are to achieve the intended outcome, as well as the content the activity refers to, the teacher educators' task being to set up a learning environment that encourages the latter to perform those learning activities, and then assess the outcomes to see that they match those intended.

It is important to remember to ensure that such activities do not become simply recipes to follow. They should be used with awareness and concern that they do generate reflective activity. Reflection in initial teacher learning occurs in those examples where the student teachers are presented with difficult material and are forced to undergo reflective activity in order to produce a reasonable response.

Educators can also ask questions that facilitate reflection in student teachers or teach them to probe for meaning by using a series of questions to chase meaning. If students are taught to use appropriate questions, they can make better use of dialogue among peers to facilitate reflection (Moon, 2008). Morgan and Saxon (1991) suggest that such questions could develop suppositions and hypothesis, focus on personal feelings, future action or

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projection, or develop critical assessment or value judgement. Pugach and Johnson (1990) indicate this as the first stage in initiating reflection: Reframing the issue by asking clarifying questions. Summarizing the problem. Identifying three possible plans of action, exploring anticipated outcomes and selecting one for implementation. Developing the plan for evaluation of the action to be taken.

Video recordings showing examples of good practice, or on the contrary, negative examples, could be also used for the analysis of critical incidents. Critical incidents can be used to identify, articulate and examine student teachers' awareness and problematic. To direct them towards what might be done, teacher educators can ask questions about what happened and what caused it to happen. Critical incidents facilitate problematization through rendering into anecdotal form otherwise unremarkable aspects of teaching practice and enabling student teachers to work on their own concerns (Tripp, 1993:8).

When the teacher educators listen to the student teachers, interpret what they say, and try to build a model for exploring the latters conceptual understanding, this can form the springboard for changing and developing these concepts. Yet this is a highly complex process. In the endeavour to arrive at a viable model, it is important to consider that whatever student teachers do or say in the context of solving a problem is what, at that

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moment, makes sense to the individuals. It may seem to make no sense to the teacher educators, but unless they can elicit an explanation or generate a hypothesis as how the student teachers have arrived at the answers, the chances of modifying the student teachers conceptual structures are minimal (Steffe and Gale, 1995). Hence, when we intend to stimulate and enhance student learning, we cannot afford to forget that knowledge does not exist outside a persons mind (von Glasersfeld, 2005). Therefore questions about how a particular individual constructs knowledge or learns become more relevant than questions on teacher learning in general.

Convery (1998) considers that reflective learning requires an approach that is social and collaborative rather than individual. Although there are reform movements such as small learning communities in the schools that foster reflection and collaboration, others argue that learning is often seen as a fundamentally private endeavour (Roberts, 1998; Wilson and Demetriou, 2007). However, learning to teach is shaped through a combination of reciprocity between the social context of the particular learning setting (TE programme, school, etc) and the individual teachers interest and disposition to learn about practice (Beckett and Hager, 2000; Billett, 2001; Hodkinson and Hodkinson, 2004). Therefore, teacher educators must find ways to help student teachers recognize the complex, multilevelled nature of the consequences of their actions so that when they become teachers they can use this understanding to reflect upon and inform their practice (Harrington et al., 1996).

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There are certain circumscribed areas in which a constructivist orientation can modify a student teachers attitudes. If student teachers see themselves as learners, then the process of professional development is continual. If learning is a constructive activity, the task of the educator is not to dispense knowledge but to provide students with opportunities and incentives to construct it (von Glasersfeld, 2005) and teaching becomes a lifelong process of learning and change.

The implications for teacher education in adopting a reflective approach to learning are multiple: Accepting that a person filters new information according to his or her expectations and existing knowledge of the world justifies the anticipation and response to the student teachers diverse expectations of and responses to the TE programme itself. Accepting that one has to work from the personal theories which each student teacher brings to a course justifies the space in the curriculum dedicated to developing self-awareness. Accepting that student teachers filter out and interpret input as to fit them into their personal theories and prior experience justifies the space in the curriculum dedicated to the exploration of each student teachers interpretation of input and their own classroom experiences. Accepting that student teachers learn through interactions with others justifies the time allocated to peer meetings and discussions.

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Figure 11. A social constructivist model of learning to teach based on reflection

LEARNING Filtering of information according to expectations and existing knowledge of TE

TEACHER EDUCATION Anticipating student teachers diverse expectations of and responses to TE courses.
Assimilation

Constructing meaning from input and matching with existing representations

Matching confirms personal theories and experience

Self-awareness raising activities Exploration of personal theories and experience Interaction with peers

Maintaining meaning

Matching disconfirms personal theories and experience

Accommodation Revising personal theories to incorporate new information

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Figure 11 illustrates a social constructivist learning cycle and its implications for TE as mentioned above. ITE courses meet student teacher expectations of the course based on the assumption that these expectations mediate their further experience and set parameters to their subsequent learning. Those ITE courses which introduce specific activities (see Table 5 in this section) develop self-awareness and encourage reflection by exploring student teachers interpretation of input in relation to their existing personal theories and previous experience of teaching or learning. If there is a match between existing representations and the new information, then student teachers maintain the meaning as presently constructed. In the case of a mismatch, they revise their representations to incorporate the new input, restarting the learning cycle at the point of meaning construction.

2.3.5. Teaching reflection and ITE programmes

Reflective practice became popular in the context of teachers professional development, and many teacher education courses claimed to use reflection on teaching and learning. According to Furlong et al. (1994) reflection is the essence of professional expertise. It is reported to enable rapid and creative problem-solving appropriate to the context (cited in Calderhead and Shorrock, 1997). They agree that the enthusiasm for reflective practice may be partly accounted for in terms of the current attractiveness of many of the principles that have come to be associated with it: helping teachers to analyse, discuss, evaluate and change their own practice; heightening teachers awareness of the contexts in which they work; enabling teachers to appreciate the moral and ethical issues implicit in their practice;

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empowering teachers to take greater control over their own professional growth and to influence future directions in education A legitimate question that educators ask refers to the why, how or when to teach reflection.

In ITE, reflection on ones own practice has two main functions. The first of these is to develop student teachers immediate understanding of their own problems and needs as explored in the previous section. The second, the benefits of which are long-term, is guided practice in the skills and habits of reflection, which become increasingly valuable as they become more experienced practitioners and face inevitable change throughout their career (McIntyre, 1993 cited in Calderhead and Gates, 1993).

Change however, as a fundamental part of the human existence (Newton and Tarrant, 1992), is driven by a desire to improve (see also a discussion on change in Chapters II and VI). Change in teachers practice involves expressing dissatisfaction with the old practices, or the knowledge or beliefs that they were based on. Literature on change management implies that any change requires adaptation, and one goes through stages of rejection, denial, understanding and acceptance, depending of the depth of the change requirements (Everard and Morris, 1996; Hedge, 2000). In other words, teachers need to acknowledge the need for and be willing to change in their practice, which will determine a reform of their system of beliefs in the process of changing (Everard and Morris, 1996).

In the Romanian context TE has been undergoing structural and conceptual reforms for almost two decades (see chapter I). It is significant that as the approach to change has been

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top-down, teachers showed resistance and confusion. I agree that teachers must recognize a need to change, as it cannot be successfully imposed by others. But in order to recognize this need they have to challenge their professional knowledge, contrast it with the new theories proposed or imposed and construct new understandings that would lead to acceptance and desired implementation. But change in a teachers knowledge, skills and attitudes is a long process and cannot be confined to an often short training programme, as the literature has suggested.

[] the secret of growth and development is learning how to contend with the forces of change turning positive forces to our advantage, while blunting negative ones it is not possible to solve the change problem, but we can learn to live with it more proactively and more productivelyTeachers capacities to deal with change, learn from it, and help students learn from it will be critical for the future development of societies. (Fullan, 1993: vii-ix). Kroll (2004) considers that teachers have to want to solve these problems, in spite of their difficulties, and they have to feel comfortable with not knowing everything at the end, but to accept their continual learning. TE programmes need to create contexts in which students feel safe to take risks, to disagree with one another, and to admit when they have difficulties in understanding something, in order to create a habit of mind to reflect in the student teachers; a learning community within the profession may support such contexts.

[] the essential nature of teacher, which is a reflective way of approaching whatever it is that we are doing as teachers, and at whatever level of experience we are doing it. When better to learn the attitudes and intentions of developmental outlook, than when we are starting out? (Head and Taylor, 1997:12).

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Whilst learning to reflect is an important goal for student teachers (Kroll, 2004), developing reflective individuals, teams, groups and organisations also requires habits of mind, moral and intellectual dispositions and improving existing patterns of relationships. It is suggested that educators can develop structures for empowerment which support teachers by creating opportunities for dialogue and for making improvements to practice and policy (Ghaye, 2005).

As suggested by Ghaye (ibid.), there are many ways to do reflection. Much depends upon who is involved and why. The challenge is to develop the right reflective process, with the right people, at the right time and with the right purpose(s) in mind.

ITE continues to espouse the importance of reflective practice. Yet, according to Ghaye (ibid.), year after year, student teachers report that many of their trainers urge them to engage in reflective practice but no one helps them to develop specific skills or provides a model for reflective practice. There is a gap between the goal of developing critically reflective practitioners and the lack of explicit strategies and support for reaching that goal. Less emphasis needs to be placed on reflection as the task of individuals and more emphasis needs to be put on creating collective and organisationally focused processes for reflection. Another way of saying this is: less about the individual reflective practitioner and more about the social context which supports reflection. (Reynolds and Vince, 2004:1). Dewey (1916) asserted that learning from experience is only possible if combined with rigorous use of systematic experimental method. This requires a learner to observe,

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understand the significance of what they observe and to make judgements based on such understandings. Sharing these understandings is inherent to the process.

The implications for ITE refer to the way courses are organised in order to facilitate and promote reflection (see also Table 7 in this chapter). As shown in the constructivist model of learning to teach based on reflection, earlier in this chapter (see Diagram 11), ITE needs to provide activities that raise awareness of student teachers personal theories, values or beliefs, that help them explore the connexions between these representations and their practice, or that develop the ability to analyse, interpret and rephrase input in learning and teaching experiences and share these with others.

As a trainer, Alger (2006) considers that she needs to provide trainees with efficient and effective tools to research that quality of reflection when they do not have a university supervisor or colleague to support a reflective dialogue. One approach to this problem is to help students develop a set of focused internalised questions that move them beyond the general sense of the lesson (what went well and did not go well) and towards dialogic and critical reflection. Explicit teaching about levels of reflection is a good first step. Hatton and Smith (1995) offer a typology of reflection to code the quantity and quality of reflection. This typology is hierarchical, with descriptive reflection being a basic level of reflection and critical reflection being the highest level of reflection.

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Figure 12. A typology of reflection (Hatton and Smith, 1995)

The hierarchical typology of reflection


thethe

CRITICAL REFLECTION
Awareness of multiple perspectives

DIALOGIC REFLECTION
Internal dialogue to frame thoughts

DESCRIPTIVE REFLECTION
Rationale for actions

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The first level of reflection is descriptive and develops to include some rationale or explanation for actions. At a superior level, dialogic reflection involves stepping back from the events/actions leading to a different level of mulling over, discourse with self and others and exploring the experience, events, and actions using qualities of judgement and possible alternatives for explaining and hypothesising (p. 48). Statements in this category are often in the form of questions, or in the use of verbs such as wonder to frame thoughts. The last and most complex level is that of critical reflection where multiple perspectives express awareness that events and actions may be influenced by socio-cultural and political realities.

There is evidence that the value of the structured reflection can enhance individual learning process and contribute to what is often termed organisational learning (Hill, 2005; Russell, 2005; Harrison et al., 2005; Alger 2006). Educators can support the development by reflective skills, through assignments and feedback with summative sessions to demonstrate how assignments have developed skills of reflective practice (Russell, 2005). Student teachers can be asked to use particular questions to guide their reflective process. By asking the questions why and what if rather than what and how, individuals challenge themselves and others to explain the reasons and justification for their actions in practice, and increase their ability to foresee broad possible consequences of their actions (Hill, 2005).

Rackham (1996) proposes the SPIN model which represents such a method of helping adults by means of questions to identify needs, explain reasons, make judgements about

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their future actions and adapt to change. The model was developed from an extensive research study on effective sale skills, whose findings lead to the conclusion that successful change in opinion was made by asking smart questions in a particular sequence. Any situation of change normally involves awareness of existing and previous experiences, their analysis that leads to the understanding and acceptance of the new

situation/concept/process, that later make their implementation easier. The SPIN model is based on the conceptualisation of change situations in four stages: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff (see Diagram 13 below).

Figure 13. The SPIN Model (Rackham, 1996) SITUATION


Present and previous experiences

PROBLEM Analysis

NEED-PAYOFF Implementation

IMPLICATION Finding solutions

Each stage corresponds to a set of questions which focus at different levels on identifying needs/problems and ways to meet/solve them.

(1) In the first stage questions refer to facts or explore the persons present situation and tend to be open questions. In the case of student teachers they would refer to the courses

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attended, to motivation, interests and expectations (e.g. What courses did you attend during the pedagogical module?; How do you find these courses?; What do you expect to learn from these courses?).

(2) In the second stage questions refer to problems or difficulties that the person experiences with the existing situation. Student teachers could be asked about their courses, about the difficulties they encountered in the classroom or about other areas of concern (e.g. What makes this issue difficult to explain?; Which objective of the lesson couldnt you achieve?; How can learning about lesson planning help you in your teaching?).

(3) The questions asked in the third stage refer to the consequences of a persons experienced problems. Trainees could be asked to think about issues encountered in the classroom (e.g. How does this classroom management problem affect your teaching?; Could this lead to more serious problems?; Does your lack of confidence affect the way you present your lessons?).

(4) The Need-Payoff questions explore the effects of the solutions found. In other words by answering these questions one can explain how the solution they found could help them solve their problems. These types of questions are considered the most helpful and constructive. They are not about convincing trainees on the rightness or incorrectness of different methods, strategies or concepts, but about creating the right conditions to allow them to convince themselves of what works best for them (e.g. How could planning your lesson help you achieve your goals?; How could more simple and direct instructions help

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your pupils to do their exercises?; If you were more open to your pupils interest, how could that help you motivate them?).

As stated above the purpose of asking these questions is to help student teachers identify needs and find themselves solutions. Most of the time the needs that one has are implicit. They are expressed under the form of dissatisfaction with a certain issue (e.g. Its hard to; Im unhappy with; Ive got problems with). The subjects of theses questions need to be lead to uncovering one or more implied needs that develop further in explicit needs that can be met (e.g. I need; I have to do). The explicit need can be the result of several implicit needs.

Russell (2005) introduced a structured approach to a personal dialogue that created a written record of significant experiences. This encouraged learners to reframe their perspectives over the duration of a pre-service programme. According to Johnson (2001) a match between the reported values and the ones the tutor believes are important in the development of teachers professional knowledge. He concluded that reflection can and should be taught explicitly, directly, thoughtfully and patiently using personal reflection to interpret and improve ones teaching reflective practice with others. The results of explicit instruction suggest a more productive approach than merely advocating reflective practice and assuming that individuals will do this alone.

When we go about the spontaneous, intuitive performance of the actions of everyday life, we show ourselves to be knowledgeable in a special way. Often we cannot say what is that we know. [] Our knowing is ordinarily tacit, implicit in

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our patterns of action and in our feel for the stuff which we are dealing with. It seems right to say that our knowing is in our action. (Schn, 1983:49)

Educators need to bear in mind that reflective practice also involves change which is linked to individuals capacity to see themselves in new ways and to do different things. In doing so one needs to be mindful of Brookfields (2000) point that this might be energy-sapping with teachers feeling themselves puny, alone, vulnerable and demoralised in the face of structural power that seems overwhelming and unchangeable (p.145). That is why a careful approach to change needs to be taken.

2.4.

Personal reflections on learning to teach

In my attempt to understand the ways student teachers and teacher educators perceive (1) their learning in relation to their training experiences, and (2) the role that reflection plays in their learning to teach, I considered it necessary to adopt a social constructivist approach to teacher education as a meaningful framework for my research. I believe that learning to teach is a complex process that cannot be explained by a single theoretical paradigm, as it requires considerations of cognitive, affective, behavioural and social dimensions at the same time. Personal theories of teaching and learning resulting from student teachers prior school experiences, their personal characteristics and motivation, as well as the context in which the learning takes place (the training programmes) shape the experience of learning in a wide variety of ways, due to the uniqueness of each journey.

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I believe that in the case of teachers, learning is a lifelong process (Day et al., 2007; Wilson and Demetriou, 2007) due to the ever changing nature of the requirements of the profession. Awareness of all the particularities of each teachers journey is the continuous promoter of learning. Raising awareness by means of reflective practice is very appealing to the TE because of the principles that have come to be associated with it, such as helping teachers to analyse, discuss, evaluate and change their own practice; enabling teachers to appreciate the moral and ethical issues implicit in their practice; to empower teachers to take greater control over their own professional growth and to influence future directions in education (Calderhead and Shorrock, 1997). The implications remain as to develop the appropriate means reach these goals.

I believe that the social context particularly affects the way reflection is constructed (Roberts, 1998). In the context of the Romanian ITE, it may be that reflection uncovers current routines and modes of thinking which both support or block professional development.

The literature review presented in this chapter discussed the existing work in the field of teacher development. TE literature was explored in relation to theories of learning to teach and the factors impacting on the learning process. It was considered that the social constructivist perspective offered the most comprehensive approach to learning to teach. Reflection was believed to play an important role in student teacher learning and several methods of developing the capacity for reflection within ITE programmes were discussed.

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Chapter III will present the way these theoretical concepts described in the literature review were employed to develop a framework for the present research.

To get new knowledge requires new questions. John Evanson

CHAPTER III
Methodology of the study

3.0 . Introduction

In order to further my research as mentioned in Chapter I and Chapter II, I developed a framework that would help me relate the purpose of the research to the supporting theory, the research questions and the most appropriate research methods to answer them. This chapter argues for the choice of methods employed by first presenting the development of the present research within the qualitative paradigm. Then case study is explored as it offers a flexible design strategy for investigating multiple perspectives. Issues of generalisation, reliability and validity are discussed.

In the second part of this chapter, the research methods employed are presented: interviews, questionnaires and post observation classroom reports. The use of triangulation 127

of research methods is argued as a validation exercise. The process of data collection is presented in two phases: a preliminary informative phase to narrow the research area and the case study investigation.

3.1.

The development of the present research within the qualitative paradigm

Social phenomena is researched within two paradigms: the quantitative and the qualitative paradigms (Cohen et al., 2004). Starting from Silvermans (1993) affirmation that there are no principled grounds to be either qualitative or quantitative in approach. It all depends upon what you are trying to do (p. 22), I believe that the research topic and the most effective methods of data collection determine my approach.

The social phenomenon I decided to investigate was an ITE programme in Romania. More specifically my research interests focused on individual views of learning to teach within this programme and the use of reflection. My experience showed that understanding of the learning processes I have been through contributed to my personal and professional development. Therefore I turned to the trainees, trainers and co-trainers that were directly involved in and/or affected by the learning and teaching process. I focused on their perceptions of the programme in order to get more insights into the learning strategies they apply and their opinions on what they consider useful for their future professional development.

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Questions of ontology about the nature of reality and of epistemology about the relationship between the researcher and the reality could not be divorced from issues concerning the construct of the research. Ontological assumptions and commitments fed into the ways in which research questions were formulated and research was carried out (Bryman, 2004).

I will further refer to the distinctive nature of the qualitative paradigm in order to present a rationale for my choice of research design and methods. Qualitative research is based on a phenomenological position which regards the individual as interconnected with the world (Maykut and Morehouse, 1994). As there is no search for absolute truth, it focuses on understanding the individuals interpretations of the world, their perceptions and experiences of the world. In this sense, the inquiry depends on a subject-subject relationship (Denzin and Lincoln, 1998). Thus qualitative researchers study the social phenomena in their natural settings trying to make sense of and interpret them in terms of participants points of view. That makes qualitative inquiry context-specific.

Generalisations in the common acceptance of the notion (Silverman, 2005) are not feasible, as only tentative explanations for one time and one place are possible within a particular situation or environment (Denzin and Lincoln, 1998).

As researchers emphasize the importance of the subjective experience of individuals, qualitative research becomes vulnerable to critics because of the multiple connotations of the findings. But I believe that subjectivity here can be related to the contextual or perspectival (Maykut and Morehouse, 1994), if we consider that experience is shaped in

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the context and it cannot be properly understood in isolation. Qualitative research takes a holistic view of experience (Fay, 1996). It also embraces inductive reasoning which is based on the idea of understanding the general through individual parts. In other words, it starts with the formation of a hypothesis that is open and unstructured (Bryman 2004). Thus, the issues of research design are not predetermined, but open to interpretation and alteration. From this perspective other issues can emerge from the data. The main purpose of qualitative research is the discovery or uncovering of propositions (Cohen et al, 2004).

Having described these aspects of the qualitative paradigm, I would argue that they are reflected in the design of my study as follows:

Table 6. Characteristics of the Qualitative Paradigm in the present research. The Qualitative Paradigm Understanding the individuals interpretations of the world, their perceptions and experiences There are multiple individual realities forming an interconnected whole. The present research The focus was on perceptions and experiences of the participant (trainees, trainers, co-trainers) aiming at understanding and learning from them Each participant perceived, experienced and interpreted differently their learning to teach; I tried to capture their opinions through triangulation of questionnaires, interviews and post-observation reports. The analysis also includes the interpretation of myself as a researcher and of any audience of this study. Participants were studied within a Romanian ITE programme, aiming at getting participants view of the phenomena while they were involved in learning. There was direct exposure of personal accounts of participants and my personal and professional interpretation. Personal values and beliefs directed my research design since the research topic itself involves reflection. My reflections are integrated in the presentation and interpretation of this study

Social phenomena are studied in their natural setting and are interpreted in terms of participants views Focus on the importance of the subjective experience, personal values of the participants, biases and field information

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Inductive reasoning generalisations

and

Aim of research: Discovering or uncovering of propositions

In order to understand the general phenomena of learning to teach I focused on the individual experiences of those directly involved in the process. I am cautious with regard to making generalisations from one time and place to another. My aim was the exploration of the participants perceptions and experiences of learning to teach and the use of reflection rather than verification or proof of propositions.

The qualitative approach to research was also consistent with the social constructivist stance (see Chapter II). I considered that my role as a researcher was to offer accounts of reality from multiple perspectives and to interpret the meaning of what is said and how it is said. Descriptions of specific situations and action sequences were to be elicited, rather than general opinions.

3.2. The methodology and the research methods

3.2.1. The Case Study As the purpose of the research was to generate qualitative data, I opted for the flexible design strategy offered by case study. Constructivists argue that cases are theoretical in nature and that researchers create them through investigation. Cases do not exist until researchers create them. Therefore cases are what you make them and what you make of them depends on the theoretical perspective and framework that grows out (Ragin, 1992 cited in Huberman and Miles, 2002). And because there are multiple realities, the research

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questions cannot be fully established in advance of this process (Robson, 2002). The research questions which emerged out of this process constructed this case in the preliminary informative phase.

In my attempt to investigate, problematize and conceptualize teacher learning, I interviewed teachers at the beginning of their career and their mentors 1. I wanted to collect and understand their perspectives of teaching and professional development with regard to ITE (see Appendices 5 and 6).

I looked for other teachers in my national context with similar characteristics, namely teachers of English with less than two years of teaching experience. They should have attended the same teacher training course and should have been teaching in different educational environments, at different levels, after having passed the Titularizare exam that granted them a permanent teaching position in state schools. I chose four educational institutions situated around Bucharest. Their selection was done randomly in schools within the city of Bucharest where I was grated access after having requested to interview teachers for research purposes. I interviewed eight newly qualified teachers (see Table 7 below), who agreed to share their experiences. I wanted to get insights into their practice in the first years of teaching and their journey of professional development.

Table 7. The beginner teachers (BT) interviewed Beginner teachers BT1


1

Characteristics She was in her second year of teaching. The first year she taught English to

Mentors are experienced teachers who deal with the induction of the novice teachers in schools and help the latter in the first two years of their teaching career.

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BT2

BT3 BT4 BT5

BT6 BT7

BT8

secondary school children and during her second year to pre-school children aged 4 to 7. She had been a high school teacher for one year and a half at the time of the interview. She also graduated from Pedagogical School before taking university courses. She was a colleague with BT3 in the same school and they were interviewed together. She had been high school teacher for one year and a half at the time of the interview. She was a colleague with BT2 in the same school and they were interviewed together She was teaching primary and secondary school levels and was in her first year of practice. She was teaching optional courses of English in different pre-schools. She had seven months of teaching experience at the time of the interview. She was employed by the same language centre as BT6, BT7 and BT8. They were all interviewed together due to time considerations. She was teaching optional courses of English in different pre-schools. She had one year of teaching experience at the time of the interview. She also graduated from Pedagogical School before taking university courses. She was teaching optional courses of English in different pre-schools. She had eleven months of teaching experience at the time of the interview. She was employed by the same language centre as BT6, BT5 and BT8. They were all interviewed together due to time considerations. She was teaching optional courses of English in different pre-schools. She had two years of teaching experience at the time of the interview. She was employed by the same language centre as BT6, BT7 and BT5. They were all interviewed together due to time considerations.

I also selected and contacted, in the same manner as stated above, five mentors (see Table 8 below), experienced teachers of English, whose responsibilities included the introduction of their younger colleagues to teaching in their school and assistance and advice for novices, when necessary, over a period of 2 years. They came from different schools to the beginner teachers. My purpose was to enquire the induction of beginner teachers in their school and their professional development, and their suggestions for teacher education.

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Table 8. The Mentors (M) interviewed Mentors M1 M2 M3 M4 M5 Characteristics She taught high school pupils, having previous experience in teaching primary and secondary school pupils. M2 was teaching primary and secondary school level and she was head of the English Department in her school as well as being a methodology teacher at one of the School Inspectorates in Bucharest She was a high school teacher with 15 years of teaching experience. She was a high school teacher. She had more than 20 years of teaching experience. She was teaching in the same school as M5. They were interviewed together due to time considerations. She was teaching high school pupils. She had 13 years of teaching experience. As she was teaching in the same school as M4, they were interviewed together due to time considerations.

I believed that getting the perspective of other members of the teaching community, directly involved in the development of teachers in their first years of practice and exploring the support they might provide at different levels, could offer me a better understanding of the processes lived through by teachers at the beginning of their journey. The discussions with the mentors and the beginner teacher took the form of semi-structured interviews that were recorded and then transcribed. The choice of the interview protocols (see Appendix 5 and 6) employed was based on a study of literature on qualitative research and methods (see 3.2.8 for a rationale for using interviews) and on concepts encountered in the literature on teacher learning and teacher development (see Chapter II). Questions were used to guide the discussion on the development of teachers and the factors involved, such as knowledge, skills or ways of fostering/promoting learning, situations encountered during the induction period and the way the training responded to the requirements of the teaching practice, as well as personal reflections on

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their experiences and on the use of reflection for learning to teach (see Chapter II for a explanation of concepts). For the purpose of this research, I consider enquiring about other teachers journeys an informative phase in my own development as a researcher, contributing to narrowing my focus in the area of teacher learning for professional development. I will further refer to this as Phase I of the present research. Emergent issues from these interviews (see also Table 9 below) referred to learning to teach, the training programme in terms of course content and methodology and the teaching practice and supervision in relation to facilitation of learning. Table 9. Overview of investigation areas during the interviews with beginner teachers and mentors
Participants
Beginner teachers

Methods Investigation areas of data collection


Interview Openended questions Types of knowledge and skills Methods for improving learning for teaching The way the pre-service training courses responded to present needs Areas of their teaching that need further improvement The way they plan to engage in professional development Focus of reflection- examples Important to develop reflective skills? What triggers reflection? Any methods to assist reflection? The use of reflection? Familiar with the terms reflective teaching and reflective learning?

Comments/ enquiry

Reasons

for

Find opinions on teaching and on professional development Identify areas that need improvement/change etc. Find opinions on teaching and on professional development Beliefs on reflection Whether they have studied in an organized context about reflection

Mentors Interview Openended questions

Role, responsibilities, experience Situations during induction How do you assist beginner teachers? Familiar with the terms

Find opinions on teaching and on professional development Find opinions on ITE courses Identify areas that need improvement/change etc.-

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reflective teaching and reflective learning?

Important to develop reflective skills? Types of knowledge and skills? Methods for improving learning and teaching performance.

Whether they have studied in an organized context about reflection Find opinions on teaching and on professional development

As I consider ITE the first formal step in teacher development, I focused my research on trainees, trainers and co-trainers, for accounts of the teaching and learning processes undertaken and the use of reflection. As for the terminology, from this point forward I will use trainees for student teachers and trainers and co-trainers for teacher educators. I consider that they describe more accurately the roles played by each of these categories of participants in the particular ITE programme (see also terms definitions in Chapter I).

The research topic was translated into four research questions addressing two broad issues:

1. Teacher Professional Development: 1. How do the trainees, trainers and co-trainers perceive the ITE programme? 2. Teacher learning and reflective processes: 2. How do the trainees, trainers and co-trainers regard reflection? 3. What opportunities for reflection does the programme offer to trainees/trainers/co-trainers? 4. What do trainees/trainers/co-trainers think about reflection in relation to their understanding of teaching and their further professional development?

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I will further offer a rationale for choosing a certain type of case study as the most appropriate approach to this research. For the most part, the cases of interest in education and social services are people and programs. Each one is similar to other persons and programs in many ways and unique in many ways. We are interested in them for both their uniqueness and commonality. We seek to understand them. We would like to hear their stories. [] we enter the scene with a sincere interest in learning how they function in their ordinary pursuits and milieus and with a willingness to put aside many presumptions while we learn. (Stake, 1995:1). My case phenomenon is represented by the ITE programme in a Romanian University and the trainees, their trainers and co-trainers. The case study is concerned with understanding peoples own meanings, perceptions and practices. At the same time, I am concerned with understanding trainees, trainers and co trainers views of learning to teach and the use of reflection. Reflection itself, as part of this research topic, is integral to the case study approach and processes which bring about a perspectival investigation of multiple realities within a particular context. This case study is context specific, holistic and concerned with the life cycle of an ITE in Romania. It uses multiple sources of evidence (questionnaires, interviews and post-observation reports) to analyse a specific phenomenon and can offer multiple interpretations offered by the participants to the study.

Anderson (1998) suggests that the focus of the research, resources, time-lines and considerations of end users and depth of the investigation determine the type of case study adopted. The literature suggests various typologies that subscribe to these factors: Exploratory, descriptive or explanatory case studies (Yin, 1993) Intrinsic, instrumental and collective case studies (Stake, 1995) Theory seeking/testing, story telling or evaluative case studies (Bassey, 1999).

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Whilst I was interested in learning about this particular case, I also wanted to understand at a more general level the phenomenon of learning to teach and how it can be best supported. Therefore I found Stakes (1995) classification useful for my research. Categories overlapped with each other, calling for flexibility and open-mindness in approaching the case study.

Table 10. Intrinsic, instrumental and collective aspects of the present case study. Stakes (1995) typology Intrinsic The case is given. We are interested in it, not because by studying it we learn about other cases or about some general problem, but because we need to learn about that particular case.( p.3) Instrumental we will have a research question, a puzzlement, a need for general understanding, and feel that we may get insight into the question by studying a particular case. This use of the case study is to understand something else.(p.3) Collective We may feel that we should choose several (X) to study rather than just one each case study is instrumental to learning about the effects of the X but there will be important coordination between the individual cases (p.3-4) Rationale for the present case study In the context of ongoing educational reform in Romania, I became interested in understanding the case of the particular ITE programme under study, in order to understand how specific issues could be related to another context of reform changes. My interest for understanding the larger problematic of teacher development determined me to look for insights into the ITE programme in Romania.

The case study investigates the views of 23 student teachers, 3 trainers and 7 co-trainers.

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3.2.2. Issues of generalisation, reliability and validity

Reliability is concerned with the replication of the study with similar results by different or the same researcher on different occasions (Silverman, 2005), or with the repetition of the data collection procedures with the same results (Yin, 1994). Reliability also hinges upon the identification of sources of bias and the application of different techniques to reduce them. Bias may arise from the participants, the researcher and the interaction itself (Plummer, 1983). In this respect, this study was strengthened by an inter-coder agreement. There was a second researcher who coded the data collected. The second coder was a doctoral researcher in the education area, familiar with the concepts employed in this study, but not involved in any other way in the research. Differences arisen from the two coding processes were negotiated until the two researchers reached an agreement on the meaning of the emerging themes (see also Chapter IV). There was also a repetition of three questionnaires with another group of participants in order to avoid misinterpretations or confusions (see sections 3.2.7.2. and 3.3.2 below). These participants had similar characteristics to the first group, in the sense that they were undergraduate students enrolled on the same programme, attending the same courses, but with different tutors in the second semester.

Validity as a concept concerns establishing the correct operational measures for the concept being studied (construct validity). It can also focus on the causal relationships which become problematic because of the intrusion of the subjective in the research design and procedures (internal validity). The researcher had the knowledge of the insider as former

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trainee and trainer of a different programme, but also the attitude of the outsider personal reflections and researcher stance are presented from the beginning of the study so that the reader is aware of her position; personal interventions are presented in Italics, while data analysis and interpretation is exemplified with extracts from questionnaires or interviews. Validity can also be discussed in relation to the generalisation of findings (external validity) (Allwright and Bailey, 1991; Nunan 1992; Yin, 1994) (see also discussion in Chapter IV).

Construct validity was ensured by piloting the research tools under the form of discussions with subjects having similar characteristics to the participants in the study, i.e. students studying foreign languages and teachers who have experienced different training courses. They answered the questions in the questionnaires, the interviews and were shown the post observation classroom report protocols. They made suggestions for changes or asked for clarifications when the questions were formulated ambiguously. As a result some of the questions were reformulated. The use of questionnaires with the first group of students also informed the design of the questionnaires answered by the second group (See Appendix 2). The piloting of the research tools took place in September 2005, before the case study research began.

The accurate interpretation of data represented one of my main concerns as a researcher. I encountered difficulties when the participants were unfamiliar with the notion of reflection and related issues, specialist terminology or their ability to express themselves in English. Terms were either explained or defined (see the questionnaires in the appendices where

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definition of reflection is given) or were replaced with synonyms (e.g. reflect, think, analyse). In the latter case, respondents had to be assisted by interventions in the mother tongue, which required subsequent translation on my part (see discussion on subjectivity in section 3.1 above). The issue was attended by careful classification of emerging themes (see Chapter IV).

External validity concerning the generalisation of case study is rather problematic as case studies emphasize uniqueness, and hence how it differs from others. The main concern about case studies is particularisation not generalisation (Stake, 1995). However, useful insights can be drawn from similar situations or contexts. Bassey (1999) prefers the notion of relatability rather than generalisation. He emphasizes the importance of relating experiences and similar situations as a focus of generalisation. The receivers of the case study who act in a similar context can relate their situation to the findings of a particular study. This research did not aim at generalisation but it hypothesises that other student teachers, trainers and co-trainers within other ITE programmes in Romania experience similar learning contexts.

3.2.3. Triangulation The issues of validity and reliability discussed above are closely related to triangulation in case study. Bloor (1997) considers that triangulation is treated as a validation exercise as it is assumed that the replication of findings by different methods decreases the measurements of biases. At the same time Cohen et al. (2004) argue that triangulation

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explores the complexity of phenomena by studying it from different points of view. In the context of this case study triangulation was done with data from questionnaires with two groups of trainees; from questionnaires, interviews and post-observation with the same group of trainees, and from interviews with trainees, their trainers and co-trainers. The rationale was to both clarify data and explore new meanings that might otherwise be restricted by certain research tools.

Drawing on the above arguments on the generalisation, reliability, validity and the triangulation and piloting of the case study, I would affirm that careful design and analysis, inter-reliability check and triangulation methods might enable other researchers to understand underlying principles and follow similar research procedures (see also Chapter IV).

3.2.4. Ethical considerations In line with The University of Nottingham policy, I responded to ethical issues according to the British Educational Research Associations Revised Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research (2004). In terms of responsibilities for participants, I devised a research ethics proposal prior to undertaking any fieldwork or data collection. This was approved by the School of Education Research Ethics Committee. It included the information provided to the participants in the research study: information about the research (see Appendix 14 and 15) and a consent form (see Appendix 16) to ensure that all research participants understand their involvement in the research and their rights.

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As there were no sponsors of research the issue of these responsibilities was not addressed. Responsibilities to the Community of Educational researchers were followed in terms of avoiding misconduct and respecting authorship.

3.2.5. The location of the study and sampling The selection of the educational institutions was informed by the case study methodology literature. This argued that the case selection was dependent on the theoretical framework that specified the conditions under which the phenomenon of interest was likely to be found (Eisenhardt, 1989 in Huberman and Miles 2002). As I was trying to collect multiple perspectives from teachers beginning their careers in different educational contexts, I started from the assumption that their situation would vary not only because their experiences were individual and subjective as such, but also because the work context would impact on their practice. Therefore, taking into account issues of access and availability, the investigation to inform the study (see Chapter I) aimed at a cross-selection, and 4 secondary schools, 7 high schools and 1 pre-school were chosen randomly across Bucharest (see also 3.3). They were institutions in Bucharest, the researchers city of residence, from both central areas and the suburbs. The researcher asked for access to the heads of these institutions, which was granted after explaining the purpose of the research and the investigation methods to be employed. The case study subject to this research was undertaken at the state university in Bucharest, which is the largest higher education institution in the city and it was likely to carry the characteristics of other similar institutions that follow the ministry guidelines for teaching training in departments for

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teacher professional development (see Chapter I for a discussion of higher education autonomy in setting a curriculum for teacher education and the requirements for titularizare/definitivat exams that restricts that autonomy). Access was granted first by the Dean and the Head of the Modern Languages Department, then by the trainers and the trainees themselves.

3.2.6.

Participants in the case study

The participants in the case study were: 1. Two groups of trainees (23 in total). 2. Three trainers1 3. Seven co-trainers2

3.2.6.1. The trainees The two groups of undergraduate students were studying English or English and German as foreign languages in their third year at the moment of the research study and were about to enrol on the course of Methodology of Teaching a foreign language in September 2005. The first group attended the English/German teaching methodology course in the first semester. 18 respondents participated on voluntary basis being granted confidentiality, anonymity and the right to withdraw from the study if they wished. Only 12 students opted for continuing the study in the second semester. The second group attended the same course with a different trainer in the second semester. The number of 13 participants

Trainers are teachers employed by Teacher Development Department within universities that teach Methodology or Didactics courses. 2 Co-trainers are teachers in the schools where student teachers do their practicum; they guide the latter throughout their practice.

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diminished to 11 by the end of the course, as their voluntary status allowed them to withdraw from the study without justification.

A question of how representative the sample is could be raised here. Considering the total number of 200 students attending the pedagogical module at the same time, at the moment of the research, coming from different educational backgrounds, having different expectations, motivation or learning styles, it is almost impossible to state that by different selection methods one could get a representative sample. Even when investigating other participants in the same context it would have been very likely to suffer influences because of individual variables. As the purpose of this investigation is not the collection of statistical representative data, but individual perspectives on the phenomenon of teacher learning with an ITE context, the sample was considered appropriate for the purpose of this research.

3.2.6.2. The trainers Three trainers teaching the methodology courses to the two groups in September 2005 and 7 co-trainers in the second semester, were also involved in the study in the same confidential and anonymous conditions.

There were 2 trainers teaching the methodology of teaching English course in the department of English Studies, one in the first semester and the other one in the second

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semester, to students of different specialisms. The courses follow the same curriculum. The first trainer (T1) was a senior lecturer who had 4 years of experience in teaching this course. She was the coordinator of Pedagogical Practice and she was teaching the

methodology course in the second semester. She was interviewed by email at her request due to her busy schedule, and she provided written answers to all the questions. The second trainer (T2) had 5 years of experience teaching this course. She was teaching during the first semester. She taught the course attended by the participants. She answered questions in a face-to-face interview. The third trainer (T3) was a senior lecturer with 3 years of experience teaching the methodology course for teaching German in the present format. She was also interviewed because 4 of the trainees who participated to the case study had German as a major and took her courses in addition to the English programme, so they were exposed to two training courses in different departments of the same faculty. Interviewing T3 was considered relevant as the above mentioned trainees made comparisons between the two courses and spoke about their relevance for their development.

3.2.6.3. The co-trainers The 7 co-trainers (CT) interviewed coordinated the practicum of the 12 trainees involved in the case study. Their selection was related to the trainees that volunteered to the study in the first semester and were allocated to these co-trainers in the second semester. The cotrainers were asked to participate in the research study and they agreed in the same anonymous conditions and confidentiality granted also to the other participants. Each of the co-trainers had at least 10 years experience of teaching English as a foreign language, they

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took mentor courses1 and were appointed co-trainers. At the moment of the interview they had been mentoring trainees for 2 to 4 years.

Table 11. Participants to the study Category Trainees group 1 No. of subjects 12 Role Attending the second part of the psycho-pedagogical module in the 1st semester Methodology of teaching Pedagogical practice Characteristics Undergraduates 3rd year (one more year until completion of the studies). Having the right to teach if attending the psycho-pedagogical module Undergraduates 3rd year (one more year until completion of the studies). Having the right to teach if attending the psycho-pedagogical module Academics Course managers Experienced teachers Mentors (having mentor training)

Trainees group 2

11

Attending the second part of the psycho-pedagogical module in the second semester Methodology of teaching

Trainers

Co-trainers

Teaching the course of Methodology of Teaching English/German as Foreign Language Guiding trainees pedagogical practice in schools Being observed while teaching Assessing trainees performance in the classroom

Both mentors and co-trainers attend mentoring courses for different purposes. Co-trainers guide trainees during ITE programmes, while mentors deal with the induction of beginner teachers in their schools in the first two years of teaching career.

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3.2.7. Time frame The data collection was undertaken during the academic year 2005-2006 for 9 months (see Table 12 below). The time limitations were due to the length of the courses under investigation and the participants and researchers schedule. As the student teachers were attending the pedagogical module during their undergraduate studies, trying to combine undergraduate courses, pedagogical module and practicum in schools around the city, their availability was quite limited. Trainers and co-trainers were also teaching full-time. The informative phase of the study began in September 2005 with interviews with beginner teachers and mentors. The piloting of the research tools was done in the first weeks of October 2005 with trainers and co-trainers, colleagues of the researcher from other institutions, and their students, others than those participating in the research. The research started in October 2005 before the first group of students attended the methodology course. They were followed throughout the academic year until June 2006 when they finished the last component of the psycho-pedagogical module, namely the pedagogical practice in schools. Trainers and co-trainers were contacted during this period. The second group participated in the study during the second term.

Table 12. The research time frame

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THE INFORMATIVE PHASE THE PILOT STUDY

Sep. 2005

Beginner teachers Mentors Trainees Trainers Co-trainers

Interviews

Early Oct. 2005

Interview protocols Questionnaires Post observation classroom reports Methodology course

THE RESEARCH STUDY

Late Oct. 2005 - Feb. Trainees (1st group) 2006 (1st semester) Trainers

Feb. Jun. 2006 (2nd Trainees (1st group) semester) Co-trainers Trainees (2nd group)

Practicum Methodology course

3.2.8. Research methods

The research methods to be employed in the research were selected in order to respond best to the research questions within the time and participants availability constraints explained above. Open-ended questionnaires were used to elicit the main part of the data that was later clarified and complemented during the semi-structured interviews. Post classroom observation reports were intended to prove the presence or the absence of trainees reflective skills. Table 13 below presents a rationale for the use of different research tools with different categories of participants. They are explained in more details in the following sections.

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Table 13. The research tools employed with the case study. Research tools Interviews Participants Trainees Rationale for research tools opinions on the training programme beliefs on learning and reflective processes (individual and clarify data from other sources focus group interviews) Trainers/ beliefs on teaching and professional co-trainers development opinions on the training programme (individual) beliefs on learning and reflective processes Trainees expectations of the training programme beliefs on teaching and professional development beliefs on learning and reflective processes opinions on the training programme Trainees presence/absence of reflection

Questionnaires

Post classroom observation reports

3.2.8.1. Interviews As the focus of the research was on individual perceptions of different social constructs, the interview was considered appropriate for the depth of responses sought. Interviews enabled the participants to discuss their interpretations of the professional world and to express how they regarded the situations from their own point of view (Cohen et al. 2004). Each participant defined the situation in a particular way (see appendix 17).

The approach to interviews chosen was characterized by topics and issues to be covered specified in advance, in outline form (see appendices 7, 8, 9): I decided on the sequences 150

and on the working of the questions in the course of the interview. The outline increased the comprehensiveness of the data and made the data collection somewhat systematic for each respondent. Logical gaps in data could be anticipated and addressed. Interviews remained conversational and situational. The semi-structured interviews with trainees, trainers and co-trainers gave insights into what my interviewees saw as relevant and important.

As an interviewer I needed some structure in order to ensure cross-case compatibility. One of the advantages was that I could ask new questions that follow up interviewees replies and could vary the order and even the wording of questions. It was flexible, responding to the direction in which the interviewees took the interview and perhaps adjusting the emphases in the research as a result of significant issues that emerged in the course of interviews. The emphasis was on how the interviewee framed and understood issues and events, what the interviewee viewed as important in explaining and understanding events, patterns and forms of behaviour (Bryman, 2004).

Trainee focus groups offered the opportunity of allowing the participants to probe each others reasoning. An individual might have answered in a certain way during an individual interview, through interaction with peers could voice agreement, disagreement or modify a view. The focus groups elicited a wide variety of different views in relation to the particular issues researched. Individuals often argued and challenged each others views. I gathered more realistic accounts of what trainees think, because they were determined to think about and possibly revise their views. I had the opportunity to study the ways in

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which individuals collectively made sense of a phenomenon and I constructed meanings around them (Bryman, 2004).

3.2.8.2. Questionnaires The qualitative trainee questionnaire was less structured, with open-ended questions being considered more appropriate as it could capture the specificity of a particular situation. The semi-structured questionnaire presented a series of questions, statements or items that the respondents were asked to answer respond or comment on (see appendices 1, 2, 3, 4). There was a clear structure, sequence, focus, but the format was open-ended, enabling the respondents to answer in their own terms. It set the agenda but did not presuppose the nature of the responses. The closed questions prescribed the range of responses from which the respondent chose, but they could not add any remarks, qualifications and explanations to the categories. The open questions enabled the respondents to write a free response in their own terms, to explain and qualify their responses and avoid the limitations of pre-set categories of responses. The challenge was that these responses were more difficult to code and to classify.

3.2.8.1. Post observation classroom reports Reports on what trainees observed during the pedagogical practice sessions aimed at identifying instances of theoretical knowledge during the practice and the presence/absence of reflective skills/ability (see definition in Chapter III). It guided the participants reflections on particular issues, such as positive and negative aspects of the lesson

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observed, strategies that could be used in their own teaching, suggestions for different approaches (see appendix 13).

3.3. The process of data collection

Figure 14. The phases of data collection Phase I Informative - post-training context BEGINNER TEACHERS (Interview) MENTORS (Interview)

Phase II
Case study: training programme TRAINEES
Questionnaire 1, 2, 3 Post observation reports Interview

TRAINERS
Interview

CO-TRAINERS
Interview

3.3.1. Phase I - Informative

Beginner teachers and mentors For the purpose of this research eight beginner teachers that attended a pedagogical module and five mentors dealing with the induction of beginner teachers in schools were 153

interviewed. There was an emphasis in the questioning on a particular defined topic: issues raised in the first years of teaching (see also Chapter I). It was considered that the information provided by these two categories of professionals would represent a step forward in identifying the key points in training teachers-to-be and offering background information for further research in Phase II on the existing ITE programme.

3.3.2. Phase II Case study

3.3.2.1. Trainees The research focused on a case study of 12 trainee students in the 3rd year attending the psycho-pedagogical module for English or German as their second specialism. It consisted of questionnaires, interviews and post-classroom observation reports. These could be observed in the development of the 12 participants throughout the pedagogical training module in both its theoretical and practical components. Their selection was done on volunteer basis.

There were three questionnaires employed with the trainees: before the English language teaching methodology course, at the end of the course and after the teaching practice in schools.

Questionnaire 1: by means of open-ended questions, the first questionnaire elicited

information about trainees expectations of the course and their opinions on the types of

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knowledge and skills important for their professional development (see appendices 1, 2). Questionnaire 2: the second questionnaire focused on trainees opinions about the

course attended in relation to their understanding of teaching and their further professional development and personal involvement with reflective processes (see appendix 3). Questionnaire 3: the third questionnaire enquired about trainees opinions on the

usefulness of the theoretical input, on their experiences during the observation and teaching sessions, and the characteristics of themselves as teachers, as they relate to those they hold as model teachers (see appendix 4).

Data collected in the first questionnaire informed the design of the second questionnaire and then the cumulated information influenced the questions to be asked in the third one.

A second group of 11 trainees (see also section 3.2.6.1 above) were asked to answer the first two questionnaires in the second term in order to ensure once again the validity of the research tools employed.

The questionnaires were followed by 6 post observation classroom reports that trainee students needed to fill in during their pedagogical practice in schools (see appendix 13). They reflected on the positive and/or negative aspects of the lessons they observed or taught, on the things they had learned and how this would influence future teaching, with a

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focus on lesson structure, classroom interaction, choice of activities, classroom management, feedback and assessment issues.

Trainees were also interviewed at the end of the pedagogical module to clarify information provided previously in the questionnaires or the observation sheets and to elicit opinions on the experiences they had during their teaching sessions (see Appendix 7).

3.3.2.2. Trainers and co-trainers The data gathered from the trainees (see appendix 10) was triangulated with data from interviews held with the three trainers (two of whom were also course managers) of the English/German language teaching methodology course (see appendix 12), and with seven co-trainers that coordinated the pedagogical practice in schools of the twelve trainees (see appendix 11). In this connection, Kerlinger (1970) suggested that interviews could be used to follow up unexpected results, or to validate other methods, or to go deeper into the motivations of respondents and their reasons for responding as they do (cited in Cohen et al. 2004).

The interviews with the trainers elicited information on the ways they define and evaluate the effectiveness of training programme, on their personal contribution to the courses, their rationale behind changes implemented in their classrooms, opinions on the gains/lacks students have after the final examination, their awareness of the concept of reflective teaching/ learning and the ways the concept of reflectivity is used in practice i.e. integrated into courses (see appendix 17).

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The co-trainers were interviewed about their role in the training, the issues they deal with during the practice period, about their awareness of the concept of reflective teaching/ learning and the way they encourage reflection among trainees.

Table 14. Overview of research phases in terms of methodology Research Phases Phase I (informative) Participants Beginner teachers Mentors Phase II (case study) Trainees (gr. 1 and 2*) Questionnaire 1 Research tools Interview Rationale
Beliefs on learning and professional development The way the pre-service training courses attended responded to their present needs Opinions on areas of their teaching that need further improvement Plans to engage in professional development Suggestions Reasons for enrolling on the course Expectations of the course Qualities of good teachers Types of knowledge important for professional development Types of skills important for Types of knowledge promoted by the course Types of skills promoted by the course Expectations of the usefulness of the theoretical information for the practical component of the module Teaching/learning processes facilitating reflection that trainees have been involved in during the course Personal involvement with reflective processes

Questionnaire 2

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Questionnaire 3

Post classroom observation reports

Interview Trainers Interview

Teaching/learning processes facilitating reflection that trainees have been involved in during the course processes were most useful during practice Teaching/learning processes facilitating reflection that trainees have been involved in during the practice Influence of the mentioned processes on the trainees performance during practice. Personal involvement with reflective processes Characterization of self as teacher during the practice in comparison with the ideal teacher, the good teacher, the bad teacher. Reflections on the positive and/or the negative aspects of the observed lesson. what they learned what they could use in their own teaching. clarify data from previous sources Personal involvement with reflective processes Beliefs on learning and professional development Opinions on training programme Personal involvement with reflective processes Promotion of reflective processes Suggestions.

Beliefs on learning and professional development Description of what happens during the practice and the reasons for encountering the situations. Suggestions to overcome problems. Opinions on training programme Personal involvement with reflective processes Promotion of reflective processes Suggestions. *Group 2 was administered questionnaire 1 and 2, with a different layout because of the feedback/ inadvertences observed with the first group. The purpose of collecting data from a second group was the comparison and the validation of results obtained with group 1.

Co-trainers

Interview

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This chapter presented the development of the present research within the qualitative paradigm. The case study was discussed as the most appropriate method of investigation alongside the research tools employed. It described the context of the research in terms of the participants and the sampling process, the location of the study and the time frame. The process of data collection was referred to in its informative phase and the case study under investigation. The information offered on the organisation of the investigation and the supportive framework will assist data analysis in Chapters IV and V.

You learn more, but there's still so much you don't know that makes it interesting Robin Williams1

CHAPTER IV
Data analysis I

Robin McLaurim Williams (1951- ) is an Academy Award-winning American actor and comedian who has done television, stage, and film work.

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4.0. Introduction
The previous chapter referred to the methodology of the study which supported the data collection process. Resulting data will be presented in this chapter for analysis into two parts. First it will refer to the methods of data analysis in terms of data management and procedures according to the qualitative approach to research (see Chapter III) and the social constructivist stance of the researcher (see Chapter II). Then it will focus on the research findings in relation to the first research question referring to teacher professional development. Data answering the other research questions on teacher learning and reflective processes are discussed in the following chapter.

4.1. Methods of data analysis

From a social constructivist perspective (see Chapter II) any researcher involved in data analysis is constructing or documenting a version of what he/she thinks the data mean or represent, or what he/she thinks it can be inferred from them (Mason, 2005). My qualitative data emerged from semi-structured interviews, open-ended questionnaires and personal reports on classroom observations (see Chapter III). I was concerned with what I viewed as my participants interpretations and understandings or their version and accounts of how they made sense of teaching and learning and their professional development. Thus the approach to data analysis needed to be interpretive. The methods characteristic to the interpretative approach require clarifications with regard to researcher bias which will be discussed further on in section 4.3.

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As the amount of data collected was large and various, it needed to take a form that could be appropriately sorted and organized for analytical purposes (ibid). I considered necessary a distinction between analysis as data management and analysis as procedures through which features and relationships are revealed (Wolcott, 1994 in Gibbs, 2002). The first stage consisted of what Miles and Huberman (1994) called a process of reduction, where data was transformed through selection, simplification and abstraction followed by a display of organized, compressed information that permitted further action. These allowed interpretation, conclusion drawing and verification when the meanings emerging from the data could be tested for their validity.

4.2. Data management

In order to turn my data into a resource which could be accessed in various ways for further analysis, I designed a uniform set of what Mason (2005) called indexing categories for systematic and consistent data analysis. These categories had to be consistent with the epistemological and ontological core assumptions of my research design (see Chapter IV). Ontologically, my categories had to represent instances or expressions of the social phenomenon under study, namely the professional development of the student teachers in the training programme. Epistemologically, I needed to think about how these categories represented instances of this ontological phenomenon, what kind of knowledge or evidence they constituted (ibid).

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I developed my indexing categories through a process of interaction of moving back and forth between my research questions, my data and the theoretical concepts involved. Since my data analysis was going to interpretive, the categories were based on what I considered I could infer from parts of data, or what these implied (see Appendix 10). This involved my reading not only of what the texts actually contained, but also the implications, in my opinion of what was not present literally in the texts, including their context (ibid). Such an approach, where categories were based on the researchers interpretation of the meanings or patterns in the text could also be attributed to an editing approach (Crabtre and Miller, 1992 cited in Robson, 2002). Issues of researcher bias were addressed by means of an inter-coder agreement (see chapter IV).

For a better management of the data I chose the NVivo program which enabled me to keep records of indexing categories, ideas, searches and analysis and gave me access to data so they could be examined and analysed. It also provided a variety of facilities to help me examine features and relationships within and among texts. It worked as a code-andretrieve program that made it easy not only to select chunks of text and apply codes to them, but also to retrieve all similarly coded text without losing any information about where it came from and to work with it in further data analyses (Gibbs, 2002). I believe that it gave me analytical handles on my data, or ways into my data, to decide what was relevant and to actively develop my explanations and arguments (Mason, 2005). It offered the facility of building trees or hierarchies of indexing categories which helped me develop explanations of the relationship between the categories. This is the kind of option which

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assists the researcher in developing theoretical ideas and testing hypotheses; it is often referred to as theory building (Gibbs, 2002; Mason, 2005; Silverman, 2005).

Therefore, the qualitative data was reduced through a series of steps that included the development of a thematic framework (within this framework I focused on more specific themes or issues as the data were examined and coded), the coding of the data and their examination for patterns and relationships.

4.3. Data analysis

In the process of data analysis I addressed issues of validity and reliability. I define validity (see also Chapter III) as the concern whether the theories or explanations derived from the research data are accurate, and whether they correctly capture what is actually happening. I consider a reliable result one that is consistent across repeated investigations in different circumstances with different investigators (Gibbs, 2002).

From a social constructivist position, there is no reality against which to test the analysis, only multiple views. As observers and interpreters of the world, we are inextricably part of it; we cannot step outside our own experience to obtain some observer-independent account of what we experience. Thus, it is always possible for there to be different, equally valid accounts from different perspectives (Maxwell, 2002 cited in Huberman and Miles, 2002). However, as a qualitative researcher I want to make realistic claims about the multiple

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views of the world on which I am reporting. Thus, the issue of whether the representation of the objects of qualitative research are valid must be addressed (Gibbs, 2002).

The applicability of the concept of validity does not depend on the existence of some absolute truth or reality to which an account can be compared, but only to the fact that there exist ways of assessing accounts that do not depend entirely on features of the account itself, but in some way relate to those things that the account claims to be about. Validity refers primarily to accounts. Data in themselves cannot be valid or invalid; what is at issue are the inferences drawn from them (Hammersley and Atkinson (1983:191) in Huberman and Miles, 2002:191). The issue of researcher bias is recurrent. In an attempt to reduce the sources of bias (see Chapter III) I discussed the scientific role of the researcher, the theory held, researchers personal and professional development journey (see Chapter I) so that the reader should be aware of the researchers stance when being presented the analysis. Emerging themes and categories subject to interpretation were identified independently by a second researcher. This person was another doctoral researcher in the field of higher education who was familiar with the terminology and the educational concepts employed in this study, but who worked with these data for the first time. There were also used the same research methods, namely two questionnaires, with a second group of participants with similar characteristics to the ones in the first group (see Chapter III) for validity check. Participants from the second group were also undergraduate students in their third year, studying English and/or German, who attended the same course with a different trainer in the second semester. Data from the second group was not used for analysis purposes within the case study of the first group of trainees and their trainers and co-trainers. Data collection with this second group

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was limited to the first two questionnaires due to the time limitations (the second group was attending the practicum during the following year).

However, Walcott (1990) considers that understanding is a more fundamental concept for qualitative research than validity (cited in Huberman and Miles, 2002). Following this argument, validity is understood as derivative from the kinds of understanding gained from qualitative inquiry. Validity is relative in this sense, because understanding is relative; it is not possible for an account to be independent of any particular perspective. Validity is not an inherent property of a particular method, but pertained to the data, accounts, or conclusions reached by using that method in a particular context for a particular purpose.

In the context of the present research, validity becomes a matter of inference from the words and actions of participants in the situations studied. The development of accounts about what participants mean was usually based to a large extent on the participants own accounts, but these accounts were not treated as faultless. In my researcher interpretation I take into consideration the fact that the participants might have been unaware of their own feelings or views, they might have recalled these inaccurately, or they might have consciously and unconsciously distorted or concealed their views. For this reason data from questionnaires was triangulated with data from interviews and post observation classroom reports. Accounts of participants meanings were constructed on the basis of participants accounts of theoretical concepts, although their interpretation was grounded in the language of the people studied and relied mainly on their own words and concepts.

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When referring to the theoretical constructions brought to the study, I considered the validity of the concepts themselves as they were applied to the phenomenon under study Kirk and Miller (1986) called it construct validity (cited in Huberman and Miles, 2002), I also considered the validity of the postulated relationships among these concepts, called internal or causal validity by Cook and Campbell (1979) (ibid.) (see also Chapter III) as set out in Table 15.

For assessing the quality of data analysis Robson (2002) suggests a check list which I applied to the present research. This is presented in Table 15 below.

Table 15. Assessment of analysis quality Procedure Application Checking for representativeness participants have to be representative The present research Random selection of participants (on voluntary basis) 3 different research methods have been used with trainees (questionnaires, interviews, classroom observation reports) triangulation of methods researcher was an outsider but with insider knowledge I worked as a trainer in a different programme) no use of field notes (research diary entries) to ensure that interpretation arises from the direct contact with the data. data collected by means of different tools from the same participants trainees (questionnaires, interviews, classroom-observation reports) data collected from different categories of participants on the same topic trainees, trainers, cotrainers

Checking for researcher effects: the effects you have on the case and the effects your involvement with the case have on you

Triangulation The constant comparative method (Silverman, 2005).

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Researcher bias

Weighting the evidence: data collected first-hand, from trusted informants, collected when the informant is alone rather than in a group, which arises from repeated contact. Checking the meaning of outliers, the exceptions Deviant-case analysis (Mehan, 1979 in Silverman, 2005). Using extreme cases Following up surprises: something that is at variance with my theory of what is going on. This can provide the opportunity to bring that theory to the surface, possibly to revise it, and to search for evidence relevant to the revision Looking for negative evidence: seeking disconfirmation of what you think is true. Replicating a finding Checking out rival explanations Making if-then tests: testing possible relationships, ruling out spurious relationships; if you appear to have established a relationship, consider whether there may be a third factor or variable

data collected from the same categories of participants on the same topic trainees group 1 and 2 scientific role of the researcher attitudes of the researcher second researcher for coding data collected through direct contact with the participants directly involved in training; individual contact in most cases; repeated contacts with trainees

o comparing extreme views

o theory, national studies on preservice teacher training o findings from trainee groups 1 and 2 o theory

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which underlies, influences or causes the apparent relationship. The refutable principle (Popper, 1959 in Silverman, 2005). The issue of reliability of this research was mainly addressed by using inter-coder reliability tests in the coding process (Bryman, 2004) (see also Chapter III). The coder reliability was assessed in terms of agreement between 2 independent coders. The two coders, working with the same theoretical framework and the same set of data, coded the answers to open-ended questions. Inconsistencies between the coders reflected ambiguities in the data or overlapping between coding categories and were solved through negotiating the meaning. Moreover, other methods were used to ensure a higher degree of reliability. The interview schedules were pre-tested with several subjects having similar characteristics with the participants in the study to make sure that each respondent understood the questions in the same way (Silverman, 1993; Oppenheim, 1992 cited in Cohen et al., 2004). The same research tools were also used with two groups of participants taking the same course at different times (first semester and second semester) and similar data were obtained (Silverman, 2001). Interviews were prepared to avoid influencing the interviewee by means of leading questions (Morrison, 1993 cited in Cohen et al., 2004).

Related to the way data was analysed and presented, the issue of the reduced size of the sample (see also section 2.3.6.1) can be discussed in connexion with the lack of quantification of similar answers, apart from the qualitative paradigm characteristics of this research. As the focus is on individual perspectives, the researcher did not consider necessary to state the specific number of participants adopting a certain position on a

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matter. Moreover, as it will be shown in this chapter and in Chapter V, all participants seemed to have similar opinions on the issues investigate and the exceptions were clearly reported when the case. The aim was on understanding personal views of the phenomena and not on quantifying occurrences.

Another issue that requires clarification at this moment is the lack of discrimination between the 12 participants in the first group. Three of the students studying English as their major, had German as their second specialisation, participating to two different methodology courses and pedagogical practices. At the same time two other students graduated Pedagogical Schools (former teacher preparation schools) before entering university (see Chapter I), where they attended other teacher preparation courses for primary school teachers. The researcher made the choice of not clearly delimitate the three categories of participants due to (1) the small size of the sample and (2) the fact that during data collection influences of having attended other courses were made clear by the participants themselves, who compared the training experiences at different moments in the investigation and made value judgements about their perceived effectiveness.

As data from post-observation classroom reports was entirely descriptive and did not contain any comments or thoughts on what had been observed during the lessons, the researcher decided not to use them for analysis (see also Chapter VI).

4.4. Data analysis in relation to the research question 1: How do the trainees, trainers and co-trainers perceive the ITE programme?

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In order to answer the first research question, trainees responded to three questionnaires and were interviewed, while trainers and co-trainers were interviewed (see Table 10). Data obtained from trainees by means of different research methods are summarised in Appendix 10. 4.4.1. TRAINEES As trainees were experiencing the training, their emerging opinions about the processes they were involved in and their perceived effectiveness was noted. If at first they were satisfied with the way the methodology course responded to their needs, they become more critical after the practicum since they could identify new areas of teaching where they needed assistance.

4.4.1.1. Positive aspects The positive aspects are grouped under the following categories: (a) the methodology course; (b) the practicum; (c) the programme outcomes.

a. The methodology course When questioned after attending the theoretical module of the course, trainees considered that the methodology course responded to their expectations. Literature states that student teachers representations of ITE determine their expectations, mediate their further experience and set parameters to their subsequent learning (Beckett and Hager, 2000; Billett, 2001; Hodkinson and Hodkinson, 2004). Their answers were compared to the ones offered in the first questionnaire before they started the course.

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They considered the course useful for teaching practice as they learned how to plan a lesson and how to make a lesson successful (by being offered examples / suggestions of what to apply in practice, what methods/strategies to use), they received classroom management information, they discussed factors that affect teaching. Different studies (Ericksen, 1984; Bennett, 1987; Brown and McIntyre, 1992) accentuate other skills such as classroom management skills (retaining control in the classroom, feedback, guidance of students answers etc.), presentation skills (clarity of presentation, use of structuring comments, adaptability to pupils level of understanding etc.) or evaluation skills (judging what can be expected of a pupil etc.) as important for effective teaching. As participants did not mention these types of skills, there might be differences in comparison with other studies.

S3: I have learned how important it is to plan the lesson before actually teaching it, as it offers you more confidence and leads to a better development of the teaching process; S5: It clearly showed me some of the things a teacher should take into consideration when teaching such as the materials he makes use of, the age and the educational level of the pupils or the level of difficulty, of the information he/she is giving; S11: it was not completely a theoretical course; it also faced us with hypothetical learning situations so we were able to see how the theory can be put into practice. Only few trainees thought that the information provided was too general and that the practice of teaching was different from the theory of teaching. The course also responded to their needs in terms of the knowledge provided. Pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical-content knowledge and knowledge of psychology of different age groups (see Chapter III) were previously mentioned by trainees as important for their professional development and key elements in good teaching.

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S5: A teacher of a foreign language already has a content knowledge of English language. Methodology helps him/her to teach that particular language, which steps to follow, what methods to approach.; S7: When presenting the basic principles of teaching English the course also considered the age, level of the students).

b. The Practicum The third questionnaire answered at the end of the practicum explored trainees opinions on the usefulness of the theoretical information received during the course for the teaching practice in the second semester, and on their experiences during the observation and teaching sessions.

They declared that they found most useful observing their co-trainers and peers teaching, as they could see how real teaching situations are dealt with.

S3: I found [it] the most useful process for any teaching practice because it offered me the best view upon what teaching really implies: a lesson plan, discussion with the students, creating an atmosphere in which all of them to be active and never the less creative. The discussions that followed their observations helped them to prepare for their own teaching sessions as they approached particular issues that they might face when teaching certain classes. The literature agrees that learning to teach also involves observing others, asking questions, sharing information, seeking help or feedback (Eraut, 2002; Kelly, 2006).

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S13: The teacher observing me teaching gave me useful advice but also appraisal, and the fact that I made one or more lesson plans developed my ability to include all the objectives I wanted to reach within a certain schedule or time limit. The lesson planning stages they were theoretically taught during the first term could be used in practice during the second term.

S11: Lesson planning influenced my performance in a positive way because it helped me organize the activity in logical order providing a progressive presentation of tasks. Although some of the trainees used the lesson planning advice they were given during the course to design one themselves, others needed models of lesson plans that could be applied in practice. They considered them more useful than the guidelines and the discussions about the steps to be undertaken. Instead they used models provided by friends or family working in the field, adapting them to their own teaching needs.

S3:The trainer showed us how to make a lesson plan for literature and one for grammar classes, what is better to use and what to avoid. X started comparing what X could observe with what she remembered having seen at her teachers in high school; S1: I wish I had a standard lesson plan that everybody would use, which didnt happen, although we discussed the steps, but they didnt give us a model, and how could we know how to do that for the practice. I had to use models from my brother, that I adapted, but Im not sure it was ok. Actually the co-trainer had a look at them and she said it was ok). There were more discussions than in the first semester, with co-trainers and peers, although they mentioned that the time allocated was insufficient to cover all aspects concerned.

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S11: Unfortunately there was not enough time for a lengthy conversation with the teacher, a discussion that would analyse every aspect and stage of the activity. I think that the teaching sessions as planned now are not long enough as there is not always time for detailed discussions with the classroom teacher.

c. Programme outcomes Trainees also referred to what they managed to achieve after attending both the methodology course and the practicum.

They stated they could overcome uncertainties and understood things that were unclear to them before, as they were shown how to structure the information and how to set targets.

S4:Yes, I think so, because there are things I didnt understand; I had some inhibitions first; there is a difficulty in everything you do; everything is structured so it is great now because it is clear). They could use in practice what they learned during the course S9: One important thing Ive learned was how to ask questions that have a specific answer, not generalities, cause children cannot answer them. And I applied this and it is very important to go step by step, and organise myself, if I want things to be good. The course contained a variety of examples of exercises that could be used in different contexts. S10: Ive learned quite a lot during the methodology course. A lot of types of exercises and this is what I wanted so I could have variation. And then Ive learned about another type of lesson. And this is what I applied in practice when I taught.

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They appreciated the contribution of some of the co-trainers who were very experienced and were taken as a positive example as more valuable than the information they received during the course. S14: I have taught with another colleague and it was very nice, especially that the teacher we were allocated to had a lot of experience, the book she was using to teach was written by her and she knew how to behave towards the kids, and she always started with a song, with movements!; S5: yes, the course helped as it showed us how to plan a lesson, but I think I could have taught without attending the methodology course. I think that the lessons I observed and the advice given by the school teacher helped me more than the course.

They were though aware of the fact that increased effectiveness was influenced by the experience in the field, so they were less critical about what they were taught or what they learned and waited to teach themselves and learn on the way.

For some of the trainees the experience of observing a peer was also very valuable. They could compare equals, not only experienced teachers and novice ones, peer discussions were helpful where they could exchange information about the methods the others found useful. S5: Actually Im glad that I observed one of my colleagues teaching because I could compare myself to her and not only with the co-trainer. There cannot be a comparison between me and the teacher, but only between me and a peer. And it helped me a lot; S14: There were discussions between us, the trainees, based on this information, how to teach, how you manage, what you did. We talked and then you get experience and find all kind of methods to draw their attention.

4.4.1.2. Negative aspects and suggestions for improvement

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The negative aspects are grouped under the following categories: (a) the practicum; (b) theory-practice divide; (c) role of co-trainers; (d) theoretical course.

a. The practicum (i) Organisation

There was negative feedback regarding the organisation of the practicum. The fact that the practice schedule was not very well organized made the sessions and the preparation more stressful.

Trainees had to accommodate their schedule with that of the co-trainers and some

of the teachers at the university did not excuse them from courses.

S17: Yes, it wasnt normal because you had to excuse yourself from teachers to go to the practice, and some of them didnt understand [] and it was impossible to go cause we had courses from morning till evening. I had to prepare during weekends. It would have been better to have a period of time, like the ones studying French, I understood that they had 2 weeks when they didnt go to courses and they went to schools to do their practice. They not only suggested that the teaching practice should be allocated a period of

time in their schedule separate from the subject courses, but also that it should be longer. S13: Before, there were 2 weeks before the exam session, especially for this, or before the second semester, I dont know how they managed, only for practice. So you go to practice for 2 weeks and then you teach, not the way we did it, going to a seminar, each of us trying to manage the way they could, because thats why I taught only once, because I didnt have time. Maybe if there was time specially allocated for practice, 2 weeks, maybe we could teach and they asked us to teach 5 times not only 2. And in the meanwhile we wouldnt do anything else and it would have been easier for us.

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(ii) Amount of practicum The trainees that graduated from Pedagogical School before entering university

could compare their training and could state that the former had a great influence on the approach some of the trainees had used during the practice, as they had some experience in teaching before. That experience seemed to be more valuable as it was a longer and more meaningful period of practice in comparison with the one they had for teaching English.

S11: Yes, Ive been aware of that because I graduated from Pedagogical School and I had some experience, as the practice there was more helpful than the one here. Here it was very short, several hours of observation and three of teaching. It seems to me very little in comparison with full weeks of practice we had there when I got familiar with everything.

b. Theory-practice divide

Trainees also believed that integrating the practice period into the theoretical component would be desirable. Discussions about personal experiences were considered more meaningful than reference to other peoples activities.

Although aware of the fact they could not learn everything they need to know

during this training, they considered that exposure to meaningful situations was very helpful for a better understanding of the classroom phenomena.

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S11: In fact there should be 2 semesters and not necessarily only practice. This would be useful. It should be integrated somehow in the practice period. It seems to me more useful because, when you teach then you can go to methodology courses and discuss with the trainer, tell her what problems you have encountered and ask about solutions. Its difficult just to observe the teacher and then develop the right way. [] the practice should be at least one semester, every day[]I know, I understand that faculty cannot prepare you for everything, but they can offer you some situations from which you can learn something, but if you dont have the opportunity to use those situations, then how are you going to learn anything?. A related issue raised was the variety of contexts for practice, namely teaching at

different levels in order to cover a large range of classroom situations or analysing tapes with examples of lessons taught with different grades.

S9: I wish I knew how is it to teach at high school because it seems more difficult and pupils are more demanding [] but the younger ones dont know too much and are less attentive and cannot concentrate for long so they cannot observe each detail.

c. The role of co-trainers Trainees considered that some of the co-trainers in schools did not give adequate attention to the trainees as this disrupted their activity. So they tended either to compress the practice by using team teaching or to minimize the time allocated to it.

Trainees did not regard team teaching a disadvantage, but they wished they had

more opportunities to teach and the co-trainers were more receptive to their needs. S1: We should have done 7 hours (four of observation and three of teaching). I observed 4 and taught only one in a team. I dont know what happened cause it was the same with everybody. Probably the co-trainers dont pay so much attention to these classes any more. Especially that they miss a lot of their classes, and probably

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thats why they asked us to teach together, sometimes even teams of 3. [] I think it was a disadvantage just because I taught only one lesson and not more). Trainees considered that they could have performed better if teaching in different

conditions

S8: We were teaching an intensive classroom of English at a late hour. So after three consecutive classes in the evening the pupils were tired and not interested in what we taught and we were unmotivated). The lack of time also deprived the trainees of the follow-up discussions. This

attitude contradicts the previous statement on the value of the co-trainers advice, which suggests that both positive and negative experiences of this kind could be encountered during the practicum.

S11: Not sufficient time for discussions. Maybe it was the way the practice was organised. There were very busy days when the teacher couldnt even spare one hour to talk or because we were not a homogeneous group. We were only three and we had different majors, and maybe thats why. I wish she had more time to talk to me and tell me where I could have done that and that. There are a lot of things you can learn from a teacher with 18 years of experience.

d. The theoretical courses

Changes to the methodology course were also suggested in terms of applying

theory to specific practice.

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S1: From the theoretical course I wished a standard lesson plan, more specific information cause it was very general [] I wish we had some seminars, but no more than the number of courses that we already take, because there are a lot of courses and some of us have jobs and its difficult to do everything. But a course followed by a seminar where to apply what youve learned as its normally done. They felt that applying the model they have from their teachers in school was more

effective, even if they appreciated the theory they were taught. As there was no time for understanding, conceptualising and internalising the information received, they turned to what they intuitively knew from when they were pupils.

S4: yes, because it seems to me that this is a model to follow, to know what they did, but then you think that not everybody is like you and they might not like it. [] I didnt have time to apply it; S5: Yes, I had good teachers in school that I consider role models, that taught well, that were understanding and when I taught I thought about them. [] I thought only twice and I didnt have time to apply all that I wanted). They also suggested that the methodology course should be scheduled at an earlier

time as it was more difficult to attend and focus on an evening course.

S17: There was a teachers strike, then the course was from 6pm to 8pm and it was extremely tiring, it was difficult to get everybody together so we could all come. [] we were around 100. [] and it was lecture. [] there were speaking only the talkative ones or the ones that had previously taught in private schools and they had so questions or they knew what it was about; for the rest of us, we sat, we listened and we understood that we dont have enough experience. Another part of the training they considered needed improvement was delivery time

of the theoretical module of psychology and pedagogy (1st and 2nd year). The gap between the time of these courses and the moment of the practicum (2nd semester of the 3rd year or 1st semester of the 4th year depending on their major) and the information

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presented was not relevant for the situations experienced during the methodology course and teaching practice.

S13: It cannot really be applied, at least the pedagogy in 2nd year. Just pages of generalities. The seminar was not held regularly, its not anybodys fault. But it was just theory on 50 pages and a written exam [] and if I think now about what Ive done for psychology I cannot remember much, maybe only what Ive learned because it seemed interesting to me. So we would need more application; S17: To be honest, I dont think they were useful, because they were rather chaotic and we didnt do much for pedagogy in the 2nd year. I dont know why. They were scheduled at late hours and nobody could get there or was not in the mood any longer. Something went wrong. I dont remember much from what we did at psychology or pedagogy. [] when I have to take the definitivat exam Ill get the information from the internet, or from somewhere else). Data on trainees opinions of their training are summarised in Table 16 below.

Table 16. Emerging themes from trainees answers to RQ1 Discussion topics Skills and knowledge Activities Organisation of the practicum Emerging themes The course responded to their need in terms of lesson planning, pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical-content knowledge and knowledge of psychology Observing co-trainers and peers Discussions with co-trainers Accommodating schedule Length of practicum Integrating practice within theoretical components Practice in different contexts Time in co-trainers schedule More practical activities and seminars (lack of reflection) Time of the course Scheduled closer to practice More practical activities and seminars (lack of reflection)

Methodology of teaching course Other theoretical components of the pedagogical module

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4.4.2. TRAINERS Trainer data is grouped under the following categories: (a) roles and responsibilities; (b) methodology; (c) suggestions for improvement.

a. Role and responsibilities The first trainer (T1) considered that her role was to provide the theoretical

background regarding teaching techniques and problems at a practical level. The fact that she also worked with more experienced teachers during summer courses made her consider more closely the practical issues behind the theory. She described her lecture structure as comprising four main areas such as the description of the major trends in teaching ESL, specific techniques and materials in teaching the four skills, classroom management and lesson planning and types of assessment tests and practical drills in the classroom situation.

The second trainer (T2) considered that she had no responsibilities on the practical

component. This might speak about the lack of involvement with further aspects of the trainees training on the part of trainers. She believed that her main role was to convince trainees to accept teaching as a career.

T2: Im trying hard to convince them to become teachers, difficult to do it. This is what I must do because as you know and there is probably nobody else who want to, more and more students are turning away from teaching so basically I will define my role and responsibilities as convince them to take this option into account.

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T2 stated that things had not changed since she had started teaching. The training

programme remained the same. But she changed as she grew older and more experienced, and her motivation to attract trainees towards the profession grew. The issue of teachers salaries became more present over time and now she has to fight these new issues when arguing her case for a teaching career.

T2: Because everyone is thinking about money and Im trying to shift their attention away from the money business. She considered that some students changed their minds about teaching after

attending her course and the practicum but she did not mention how she knew. T2: Well some of them do change their minds at the end of this third year, they do change their minds and they start considering the possibility that I might become a teacher and I might even go to like it.). The third trainer (T3) considered that in her case the attendance rate spoke about

the way the course was perceived by trainees. The fact that they did not embrace the profession was determined by other factors and not necessarily by the course. T3: Now there are more than two thirds that come to the course which means that its a gain, a proof that they are interested not that they will stay. This is another aspect.

b. The methodology of teaching course Over time T1 adapted her course and approach to her students needs and

expectations according to the feedback she received.

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T1: They have helped me mould the teaching material so that I could meet the trainees expectations and needs. T1 did not mention her methods of receiving feedback nor the way she inquired

about expectations or needs. She mentioned that she constantly had to reflect on the reactions of her students and on trying to initiate an increasing number of students. Her reflection was triggered by the feedback she received from the trainees having finished their practice in schools. This contradicted trainees statements about wishing to discuss their concerns with the trainer post practicum. It is possible that she allocated time to meeting her trainees after their practice but there is no evidence. T1 stated that she used her own teaching experiences when she advised trainees. This was supported by one of the statements in questionnaire 2 of the trainees in the second group, referring to the trainers enthusiasm and personal experience as an example.

T1: As a former high school teacher, I have always recommended my trainees to use certain teaching methods in teaching specific skills and I have based my recommendations on my personal teaching experience. T2 thought about role models in teaching methodology and tried to apply how her

teachers used to motivate her.

T2: As a matter of fact when I was a student I had this big luck as being taught by X and she was not only really sparkling as a teacher but she taught us a lot of valuable things about methodology. She really knew a few things and probably over the years Ive been trying to, well, attract my students in the way that she did. That is without much effort and all the theory and I dont know if I succeeded.

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The issue of role models was recurrent among trainees and also mentioned by co-

trainers. At the same time T3 guided herself by the principle the best education was gained through positive examples. The issue of positive examples and positive feedback was mentioned as well by mentors.

T3: I have a principle, which is not mine, its from Pesttalozzi, and I consider that it is extremely important that the best education is done by means of positive examples, the moment they come. T2 stated that normally there are 100 or 150 students that take the pedagogical

module, but only 75 or less attend the courses regularly. She needed to challenge a large number of students to talk, but this was very difficult when the class was this size. Although there were no seminars, she tried to compensate interactively. One of the trainees also mentioned the large number of students and the fact that only the ones that had a bit of teaching experienced participated in discussions. Another mentioned that the late schedule did not encourage attendance and made participation in discussions more difficult.

T2 also stated that the practicum included 10 observations and teaching sessions.

The number of lessons observed and taught differed in the trainees statements. She was not responsible for any of these aspects and the co-trainer took over as soon as they arrived in schools.

There was no published course that the students could access in the case of both

training courses, apart from the foreign text books from the British Council or the

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Gethe Institute. In this context T3 applied a four step model (ESRT- experience, simulation, reflection, transfer) that was introduced to her during her training as a trainer.

T3: I try by means of discussions to find about their experience. Then we get to a simulation phase about what is happening in the classroom. Then we reach the next step, reflection, why do we do these things. Here intervenes the theoretical element: what is important, what do we need to know, why certain things need to be presented in a particular way. Then the transfer phase is done by means of spontaneous examples. T3 prepared her trainees for the practicum by introducing them to lesson planning and learning stages and ways of observing and critically analysing a lesson. From this point of view the link between the two components of the training was more straightforward and stronger. One of the reasons for better organisation might have been the trainer having responsibilities in organising and coordinating the practice module, too.

Suggestions for improvement T2 considered that adding teaching literature as a topic in her course would be really useful. The other trainers also mentioned the topic of literature as required by more experienced teachers. But she considered that adding new topics to the course or changing the approach would not be possible in the time allocated to this course at that moment.

T2: Yes, I dream to dedicate much more time to teaching literature, to help students. Helping them requires basics skills of teaching literature and this is something Id like to do and I dont have the time because I have to give over most of my lectures, to

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teaching the basic skills, to teaching grammar and vocabulary. So literature is usually the thing that, Id like to have more time for literature or rather teaching literature. T3 also raised the issue of insufficient time for the relevant topics in this field and the lack of seminars.

T3: Unfortunately the number of courses is reduced and the topics too many. And taking into account that there are 12 courses, 2 hours each, the issues proposed every year are very broad for this number of courses. Or every time I try to focus on something in particular, the time is insufficient. T3 recommended a separate period of time for the practicum so trainees could focus. There used to be an allocated period of time, but it changed, and the schedule overlap prevented her from being available to observe, give feedback and advice to her trainees. So far it was mentioned only from the trainees point of view as work overload and complications with attending either courses or observation sessions. She wanted substantial changes to the structure of the academic year and the number of trainers allocated for these trainees.

T3: the structure of the academic year, of the semester, that this group should be allocated a number of available trainers, I dont know, or two weeks, to coordinate them and take them to schools, to stay there with them and so on, as it should be. T3 spoke about internships, a similar organisation of system to the medical training, a kind of apprenticeship where learning to teach should involve coordination, supervision and guidance. The official projects for teacher training include this idea (see chapter I). It was also mentioned by mentors in schools.

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T3: This is in fact the time when you learn about the profession. We call definitivat period an equivalent, but its equivalent as time, not as work intensity, coordination, supervision and guidance, which means training. T3 considered the training for the definitivat exam, which was mentioned as well by the mentors, as the exams which assessed the theoretical knowledge and not the practice of teaching in the classroom. There was one inspection assessing teaching performance, but the purpose of the evaluation here was very different from what teachers learn for the exam. The titularizare and definitivat exams had the same bibliography although there was a difference in experience that should be considered.

Data on trainers opinions of the training process are summarized in Table 17 below.

Table 17. Themes emerging from trainers answers to RQ1 Discussion topics Skills and knowledge Activities Organisation of the practicum Methodology of teaching course Emerging themes Specific techniques and materials in teaching the four skills, classroom management and lesson planning Types of assessment tests Practical drills in the classroom situation Interactive course discussions Role models Positive examples 10 observations and teaching sessions No responsibilities Required accommodating schedule for better monitoring trainees Suggested resident teacher training Large number of students No seminars interactive lecture More lectures required to cover all topics No published course Teaching literature

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4.4.3. CO-TRAINERS

Co-trainer data is grouped under the following categories: (a) roles and responsibilities; (b) the practicum organisation, practice settings, group sizes and transferring theory to practice.

a. Role and responsibilities Co-trainers opinions of their roles range from coordinating, guiding, training, motivating to convincing trainees to take on teaching.

CT1 and CT6 considered part of their responsibilities were motivating and helping them to discover their vocation, as well as training and supervision. T1 also mentioned it as part of her responsibilities (see previous section).

CT6: besides teaching them how to learn, how to organize their lessons and activities and classes. For me the hardest start is to convince them to be teachers in the future. CT3 and CT5 considered that the mentor was a guide for learning about teaching or finding solutions to problems encountered.

CT5: I believe my role as a mentor is to guide students in the difficult but rewarding process of teaching. [] Then, there are responsibilities as to the way the students learn about the curriculum, methodology, practical ways of teaching, assessing the pupils and evaluating their own activity, administrative issues, etc..

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CT3 considered that there cannot be recipes to be applied in certain situations. She spoke about ownership of solutions rather than having more or less experience in teaching.

CT5 stated that trainees have role models from their own school experiences and she has to change that. Pupils and teachers and classroom situations change accordingly, and they need to be helped to adapt themselves, understand and work in the new situations

CT5: In most cases, students keep in their minds the image of one of their teachers and they take it as a model. In my opinion, things have changed or they should change, and the teachers should reconsider their role and attitude. Accordingly, students willing to become teachers should have an idea about what being a teacher is like at present: the authoritative teacher has been replaced by the collaborative one. Pupils themselves are different from what they used to be, so the mentors role is to facilitate the adjustment of the student to the new background, to help him understand it and work on it.. CT2 regarded her role exclusively as a coordinator of activity, while CT4

considered her responsibilities quite complex encompassing different roles.

CT4: Mentor, teacher, parent, friend, peer all in one

CT1 believed that because of the very complex role of the co-trainer, trainees did

not always relate to their mentor, which affected their attitude and way of receiving the advice or applying it.

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CT1: The problem is that they have to find a person who might help them from many points of view, not only professional. I think about this scene linking to your school. Our job is not to teach, is to communicate, from the communicative point of view. They must have a person to stay by, to help them to develop their future. On the other hand they must fight to attend for a longer period of time.

b. The Practicum

(i) The organisation of the practicum Co-trainers believed that in general the time allocated for practicum and the way it was organised within the academic year, was affecting the efficiency of the training.

They believed that the practicum was regarded as a random activity, done only

formally and superficially

CT5: Teaching practice is not allotted a special period of time in the students program, it seems to be regarded as a subservient activity, ancillary to the other important ones, left to be done at random, in a formal and superficial way. I believe that teaching is an art, but with rigorous rules. They recommended a longer period so that the trainees would have time to get

acquaintance with a large range of situations.

CT1: I would add class management training. They must come here to meet their students and pupils, stay with them, day by day, for a long period of time and count all the events that might happened in the school, in a group. And to try to solve the situation they might have when they will start.

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CT1 spoke about real setting training and CT6 mentioned she tried to teach as she

always did even though she was observed.

CT6: First of all, I teach the way I always teach and I try to make them aware of the steps of the lesson, to familiarize the planning of the lesson. The issue of an unauthentic environment during teaching practice was also raised

by mentors in the informative phase of this study. Co-trainers believed that the pedagogical module was in general not enough and that trainees would continue training in their first years of practice.

(ii) The practice setting The practice classroom context was also considered from a different point of

view, that of a disruptive break in the activity of the co-trainer. As a teacher she often had to adapt teaching to respond to the trainees needs and sometimes to teach again the same lesson previously taught by trainees.

CT2: Of course, if I am alone in my class with my children I do whatever I feel they need, but if I have students at the end of the classroom I have to do what students need. So, I go to the text book and I plan to them, so that they could understand that the lesson should be, how could I say, to let them continue this. [] Probably the children werent attentive or the student wasnt too clear in explanations, but sometimes this activity is not efficient, is not for the children, it stops me, it prevents me from advancing in the text book and everything that children need.. Co-trainers considered that trainees needed to be aware of the fact that their poor

preparation would affect the children they were teaching and the co-trainers activity.

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CT2: So, next time I must come and tell the children they never say something like this, but the students dont know the real, the correct form. Thats the preparation before.

(iii) The size of the groups CT3 raised the issue of the number of trainees allocated as being too large and the

amount of time too little to offer them effective guidance and feedback. CT3: They all came at once and we had to allocate them to our colleagues. They were many, too many, I think 20, in a very short time. [] and it is very important to get to know them, as much as you can, because they do not hold the same knowledge and skills.). CT2 did not have time allocated in her daily schedule for discussion with trainees

so she had to take extra time. At the same time, CT3 considered that it was very difficult to accommodate schedules. The space allocated for observations was not appropriate as the rooms already accommodated the right number of pupils and they were crowded when trainees came to observe their lessons. The fact that practice was not organized for homogenous groups also affected the efficiency of the training.

CT5: Students that come for the teaching practice in my school belong to different specializations, which means they have different programs, so they cannot attend classes at the same time and tutorials have different targets and perspectives, not a common denominator. This may result in inconsistency and useless repetitions as well as in important omissions. Experience had proved that fewer students with similar schedules could develop

team work, discussions, comparisons and useful conclusions.

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CT5: For instance, last year I could communicate better with the students because they were fewer and had almost the same program at the University, so we made up a team that could discuss, compare, analyze, draw conclusions. This year, I found it hard to bring the students together, they were involved in activities at the University or they had part time jobs to support themselves.

(iv) Transferring theory into practice Co-trainers considered that the transition from the theoretical course to practice was

too abrupt and trainees were not able to apply it in practice, or at least link to practice some of the information acquired.

CT7: They come with different type of activities. They generally know about them, but didnt do anything in practice. I know that this should be the training, but I think they should do same sessions so they know. CT3 suggested that during courses trainers should insist on case studies, critical

analysis, as trainees know the theory but it is very difficult to link it to the practice. Trainees did not seem to have any guidelines about what or how they should observe, but co-trainers asked them to fill in some observation sheets

CT6: They write down what they consider important. But most of the time they dont have anything and they are a little bothered when I come with my papers and asked them to fill in and to express their opinions.; CT2: I give them some papers and explain what to do each of them. The observation is very important because they have more to fill in the lesson, not to fit that lesson. Its important to notice something special and different. It was noticed that trainees tended to copy and it took time (up to 2 years) until they

created a personal style.

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CT6: Yes, they try to copy my style and they always ask for the material I use. I use what you use and I think they are a bit scared of the contact, of the direct contact with the children. They are overwhelmed by the class and the children. Most of them cant involve the children in the lesson. What I noticed, what scares them, all students talk from the front of the classroom, so they didnt walk, they didnt cover all the class and they were afraid like all the children and they were very careful in choosing all the words. I guess this feeling of fear has make them a bit reserved but is only for the beginning, in a year or two, theyll be able to. The anxiety was high at the beginning and CT2 advised team teaching to avoid

anxiety.

CT2: And most of the time they say I was guilty. I am myself. I am guilty. I wont be a teacher, I will never be a teacher.; A lot of students didnt want to teach, they were afraid and they asked me to let them teach, to work in team, to have a team lesson and I was [] about it. I let them and until then I always tell them Have a pair and do the lesson together. Lessons taught in pairs are very useful for children, for the children in the desks because there is something new for them and they like it. It is interesting to notice that trainees complained about teaching in teams with

respect to the time being allocated for each of them and feedback. To avoid anxiety cotrainers also did not interfere with their teaching and offered feedback at the end.

CT6: But every time they teach I dont interfere and carry on their activities and I listen to the end, and most of the time they try to do their best to have good lessons and beautiful lesson to make them before the children. CT3 believed that it was best to ask questions leading them to solutions (a method

that all the other co-trainers applied) and then discuss post lessons analysis and solutions. Data on co-trainers opinions of their roles are summarized in Table 18 below.

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Table 18. Emerging themes from co-trainers answers to RQ1. Discussion topics Skills and knowledge Activities Emerging themes Need for knowledge of psychology Better theoretical knowledge Coordinating, guiding, training, motivating and convincing trainees to take on teaching Fighting the image of role models Team teaching to avoid anxiety Artificial environment Length of the practicum Accommodating schedule Number of trainees allocated and classroom space Transition from theory to practice too abrupt No knowledge of psychology

Organisation of the practicum Methodology of teaching course Other theoretical components of the pedagogical module

4.5. DISCUSSION

The perspectives of the stakeholders of the ITE programme grew through the experiences they had and the perceived efficiency of the teaching and learning processes they were involved in. Trainees became more and more critical as they attended the courses and the practicum, since they were identifying new areas of teaching where they needed assistance. They valued the experiences and the knowledge that emerged from the training but could also make suggestions for improvement according to personal learning styles and needs. Apart from the subjective nature of the participants statements, several convergent opinions on teaching or learning processes could be identified. They focused on teaching skills and knowledge, the practicum with its organisation and activities, and the theoretical components of the pedagogical module attended by trainees (see Table 19 on p. 202). I 196

believe it is important to consider the way these issues were approached from different perspectives.

In terms of the skills and types of knowledge required, the trainers, responsible for the theoretical dissemination of information, considered that the course promoted pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical-content knowledge, as well as lesson planning and classroom management skills. Trainees were satisfied that their needs were being met, but when they had to apply them in practice they discovered that it was more difficult to transfer this information to their teaching. Some of them failed to use advice on lesson planning instead returned to prescriptive models of teaching. Some encountered classroom management problems that they could not handle. Trainers commented positively in using prescriptive role models in their teaching, but co-trainers considered that trainees did not have the ability to select and adapt. In fact some believe that prescription had to be fought against as pupils and classroom situations evolve and teachers should develop accordingly.

Co-trainers commented on the abrupt transition between the components of the training as the cause of the difficulties faced. They considered knowledge of psychology to be extremely important in this phase, but as trainees also admitted, it was remote as the course on psychology was taught in the previous years with less information that could be applied into practice. The mentors interviewed in the first phase of the research underlined that knowledge of psychology was relevant in the first years of practice when beginner teachers had to adapt to major changes. Trainers also recognised the need for more practical issues and tried to adapt their lectures to more interactive approaches, and required a larger

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number of courses to cover relevant topics in methodology, as well as follow-up seminars where these could be given a more practical approach.

Another common area of discussion was the organisation of the practicum. Co-trainers referred to its placement within the academic year, when trainees had to attend other subject courses and could not accommodate their schedule to that of co-trainers and could not prepare properly for their teaching sessions. This also had a knock-on effect of less time for discussions and feedback. Trainers could not allocate time for closer supervision of trainees, although some of them were responsible for organisation of the practicum in terms of trainees allocation to certain co-trainers. There seemed to be a lack of continuity between the methodology course and its practical follow-up, in the practicum, as trainers did not have any responsibilities regarding the latter.

All the stakeholders believed that the large number of trainees attending the training should be reduced. Trainers commented on the impossibility of having interactive courses with 70 students in a theatre, while trainees agreed that only the most talkative or the most knowledgeable could contribute to the courses. Co-trainers mentioned lack of space during observations and of time dedicated to feedback and discussions, not to mention time to teach the required number of classes, which trainees also referred to.

Despite the negative aspects signalled, the trainees valued the involvement of the professionals and admired their knowledge, commitment and passion for the profession. As one of the co-trainers stated, mentoring and the efficiency of training depended mainly on

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the determination and the motivation of the people involved. Although there were many aspects that required more training, both theoretical and practical, trainees considered they were more confident than at the beginning as they had got insights into the teaching profession.

Table 19 below summarizes the data presented above regarding trainees, trainers and cotrainers opinions on teacher development and the training they were involved in.

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Table 19. Summary of emerging themes to answer Research Question 1. Themes Skills and knowledge Trainees The course responded to their need in terms of lesson planning, pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical-content knowledge and knowledge of psychology Observing co-trainers and peers Discussions with co-trainers Trainers Specific techniques and materials in teaching the four skills, classroom management and lesson planning and types of assessment tests and practical drills in the classroom situation Interactive course discussions Role models Positive examples 10 observations and teaching sessions No responsibilities Required accommodating schedule for better monitoring trainees Suggested resident teacher training Large number of students No seminars interactive lecture More lectures required to cover all topics No published course Teaching literature Co-trainers Need for knowledge of psychology Better theoretical knowledge

Activities

Organisation of the practicum

Accommodating schedule Length of practicum Integrating practice within theoretical components Practice in different contexts Time in co-trainers schedule More practical activities and seminars (lack of reflection) Time of the course

Coordinating, guiding, training, motivating and convincing trainees to take on teaching Fighting the image of role models Team teaching to avoid anxiety Artificial environment Length of the practicum Accommodating schedule Number of trainees allocated and classroom space Transition from theory to practice too abrupt

Methodology of teaching course

Other theoretical components of the pedagogical module

Scheduled closer to practice More practical activities and seminars (lack of reflection)

No knowledge of psychology

You cannot teach a man anything; You can only help him discover it in himself Galileo Galilei1

CHAPTER V
Data analysis II

5.0 Introduction

This chapter presents the data analysis in relation to teacher learning and reflective processes. The findings will be presented for each group of participants (trainees, trainers co-trainers) as in the previous chapter, then questions will be answered by triangulating data from trainees, trainers and co-trainers, obtained by means of different research tools such as questionnaires, interviews or post-observation research (see Chapter III). The chapter is organised according to research questions 2, 3 and 4.

Italian natural philosopher, astronomer and mathematician who made fundamental contributions to the development of the scientific method and to the sciences of motion, astronomy and strength of materials. 1564-1642.

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5.1. Data analysis in relation to the research question 2: How do the trainees, trainers and co-trainers regard reflection?

In order to explore their opinions on reflection, trainees answered questions in three questionnaires and were interviewed as summarised in appendix 10. Trainers and cotrainers were interviewed (see appendices 11 and 12) and their answers are presented and analysed further in this chapter.

5.1.1. TRAINEES a. Focus of reflection In the light of the information received during the course, trainees revealed that

they started reflecting on past school experiences. They tried to put themselves in their teachers shoes, observing them during the courses and making judgements about their teaching applying the knowledge they acquired. At the same time they tried to think about their vocation, the skills and knowledge involved in teaching, the difficulties of being a professional and the administrative issues related to teaching.

S7: The methodology course made me reflect on the possibility of becoming an English teacher. I tried to see how useful this knowledge would be in practice (and I think it is really useful) and to find out if I would like to be a teacher. After thinking a while I came to realize that I would like to do it (becoming a teacher) I would do my best; S17: I thought about the lessons I attended and how they were kept in comparison with what I have learned from this course. For example when we were taught grammar in school, the teacher always used the deductive way, never the inductive one.

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Trainees considered that reflection helped them to understand the complexity of the

teaching making them aware of the weak points and helping them to improve by continuous exploration and enquiry, to understand other teachers actions and their students actions, to make the right decision regarding their teaching and adapt to different contexts.

S1: It helps me realize that teaching raises pretty good questions and it is also not that simple. A teacher cannot have two identical English classes. There are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration, about which I also think and reflect on. Reflection is compulsory, so to say, for a teacher cannot be just a robot of English teaching techniques.; S7: Sometimes we dont know what we want or we have the impression that we know, when in fact our desires and aspirations are hidden in a dark corner of our mind. The only way to make them come to the surface is to reflect on them and to take them as seriously as possible. b. Reflection during the practicum It is interesting to notice that the focus of trainees reflections changed during the

practicum to more specific areas, closely related to their actions in the classroom. When observing co-trainers and peers they stated that they started to consider the reasons why some of the activities proposed were efficient or failed, the strategies they could employ to keep the pupils interest, the methods that could work better with different age groups, or the kind of relationship that should exist between teacher and pupils.

S17: I mostly reflected on the activities that can be done during the lesson, the organization of the classroom and the materials used. For example, I understood that with young pupils, group work does not always work, that you need to bring them materials (like pictures or drawings) for a better understanding,, to teach them poems and songs (which are really important for them) to repeat certain structures with each pupil []. At the same time they started analysing their actions as teachers.

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S13: I think about the way I taught, emphasizing the good parts and admitting what I did wrong, so that I could correct my mistakes. They were worried about losing face in front of the pupils or co-trainers, so they

were concentrating on not making mistakes or avoiding them in the future, or preparing for different kinds of situations when they were trying to remember what other teachers they knew/saw/observed did in similar contexts. They stated that before they taught themselves they focused more on their learning experiences, but after that they tried to regard the learning situations from their pupils perspective.

S5: [] the main worry was that I would embarrass myself in front of the teacher and of my fellow students. S11: I reflected on my learning experiences even during the activities that I saw taught by my mentor. Being among the students I remembered how it is to be one of them and it made me think of the traits that I dont like to see in a teacher. I also took into consideration my learning experiences when designing the lesson plans and implicitly the lessons I taught. They understood better the reasons why, in certain contexts, they had learned more

with some teachers and less with others during their school experiences.

S18: Taking into account that I am still a student, I mostly think about the learning experiences I had during the courses. Before the teaching practice I did not realize that there are gifted teachers and less talented ones. There are teachers from who I have learned a lot, but unfortunately there are others from whom I didnt learn anything. This is not because they were less prepared than others but because they cannot explain what they know so that their pupils could understand, they do not know how to get their attention.

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They could compare their own teaching experiences with earlier ones; things they

have seen during observation sessions as trainees and what they have experienced as pupils.

S4: I have also reflected on the team work activities we did in the secondary school. Nowadays, I havent seen any team work. [] I have also missed the games we used to play. They were both fun and productive and instructive. I havent seen much of game playing while attending the pedagogical practice sessions. They also considered their performance in the classroom and the possibility of

taking up or giving up teaching.

S10: [I thought] if it is something that I want to be doing as a job, if I could do it everyday. Also I reflected on how being a teacher would stimulate me intellectually after a few years of teaching. Also I asked myself if I would be good at teaching. I felt good teaching (12th grade) but I know that children (1st -8th grade) are a lot more difficult to teach.

In summary, all trainees considered the positive aspects of the reflective processes they have been through.

S18: These reflections help me in preparing myself for becoming a teacher that knows to share what she knows with the students. It also helps me become aware of the things that are important for preparing and teaching a lesson. At the same time it helps me see my possible faults and qualities as a teacher and even discover methods to overcome defects. It helps me adopt new methods to communicate to my future students what my expectations are and how successful lesson should be like). Although I do not comment on the depth of trainees reflections, I could affirm that they were triggered by crisis moments when trainees needed to reconsider what they

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knew about teaching or they had to find solutions to issues they encountered while teaching.

S9: During a lesson that I taught I told the pupils to work in pairs. While I listened to one pair the others were talking (preparing the task I had assigned) but I got angry and frustrated that I couldnt concentrate and listen to the pair that was answering. Noise during the class is very irritating and I felt I was beginning to lose control of the discipline; S11: My reflection focused mainly on the inability to make all the students active during the activity. But I realised that each one of them has different subjects of interest and it is not always possible to get all the students to answer. I also thought that I should have been a more authoritarian figure). These crisis moments were not mentioned during the previous stages of their training. They stated that by reflecting on all aspects of their teaching they could identify their mistakes and the weak points that need improvement, but also what they considered good practice. They could understand themselves and the others better (teachers and pupils) and change their opinions on different issues. They associated reflecting on action with a kind of analysis and interpretation.

S4: Reflection makes you understand things better. It also makes you see differently the other time you meet some situation. Reflection also makes you understand the other people. It makes you change your opinions, beliefs. Reflection is a sort of analysis, interpretation; S9: I think reflection is part of the learning process that is why is it absolutely necessary. It helps me understand what are my strong and weak points and to plan more realistic aims; S13: Reflections are useful as they help me develop my critical skills, to discover my strong points and use them, to identify my weak point and correct them and to improve my style and my teaching methods). There is an important issue to be discussed in relation to the analysis of the post observation classroom reports completed by the trainees. Although they highly regarded reflection and started discussing different aspects of their own teaching or

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learning during this module, it is very interesting to notice that their reports were entirely descriptive. There are two possibilities: either they did not understand the requirements of the task and treated it superficially, or they could not transfer the theoretical knowledge they were introduced to during the methodology course to find deeper meanings for the observed phenomena in the classroom. During the interviews the issue could not be clarified as the trainees could not offer reasons for the way they have reported on the lessons during the practicum. In conclusion they completed the task at a descriptive level, reporting on the actions of the teachers and the pupils observed without offering any explanation about the meaning or the reasons behind actions. For this reason data collected from the post observation reports could not be used for an analysis of the depth of reflection, rather showing the absence of reflective skills.

Data gathered from trainees showed that they hold opinions on reflection and on the use of it. There were several emergent themes that were presented above and are summarized in Table 20 below.

Table 20. Emerging themes from trainees answers to RQ2. Discussion topics Emerging themes Focus of reflection Past school experiences Observed teaching Vocation Other aspects of teaching Efficiency of different activities Motivation strategies Teacher-pupil relation Their own teaching performance Stated use of Understand complexity of teaching

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reflection

Understanding others Awareness of good and bad points Way of improvement Adapting to different contexts Reconsider knowledge Find solutions Way to good practice Types of reflection Unconscious

5.1.2. TRAINERS

T1 believed that there were two types of reflection, natural/intuitive and deliberate.

If we consider deliberate reflection, one could infer that reflection could be trained to become a professional habit. T2 considered that reflection with her was not conscious action, but a habit.

T2: And it is conflicting, Im thinking at it because I cant help it, it is not something that I plan. T2 considered that reflecting on her performance and on the feedback of her students was motivating and it was part of the self-improvement process. But she mentioned that she did not really have time for reflection as her schedule was very busy. She did not use any methods to assist her reflection, and the lack of time in her programme prevented her from keeping diaries, too.

T2: Usually, when Im reflecting upon my activities during the lessons is happens on the train or on the bus because therere no other places. Therere many things for me to do,

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many, many things so I have no time for reflections, any kind, so, the spare time that I have is devoted to preparing my lessons.. T2 spoke ideally about good teachers developing reflective skills as a fact,

but she could not say how to promote or teach them. That might imply that she considered reflection a natural/innate/spontaneous skill rather than one which could be developed overtly.

T2: An ideal situation, I think that all teachers should or do develop reflective skills, I mean, a good teacher, whatever that means. You cannot be with yourself unless you know what happened during whatever seminar or lecture. But again, I dont know how to, I dont have any methods really to develop these skills. T2 considered that trainees might be inclined to reflect, but the habit did not exist.

She did mention reflection during the course but they were likely to reflect more during the second term.

T2: Yes, inclined to reflection they may be but I dont know if they like to spend time reflecting on their experience or what they have been thought or, maybe they, I mean, I have to mention ... and other methods because this is what methodology teaches us .So, I do mention during the lecture. So the second semester when they suppose to engage in the practical part of this, but Im not sure. Trainees stated that they were encouraged to reflect more on teaching as a vocation

during the course. In other words, the trainer advised her trainees to be open-minded about the teaching issues and then decide whether they like teaching.

T2: What I tell them is the following: You should keep an open mind and do your pedagogical practice in the second semester and youll see what happens, if you like it then, but if you dont, you dont, give it up.

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Trainers also discussed the focus of their reflection and the use of it. But in contrast to the unconscious way of reflecting, they considered that reflection as deliberate and habit forming. The emerging themes from the data offered by the trainers are summarized in Table 21 below.

Table 21. Emerging themes from trainers answers to RQ2. Discussion topics Emerging themes Focus of reflection Their performance Feedback received Use of reflection Part of the self improvement process Types of reflection Intuitive Deliberate Habit

6.1.3. CO-TRAINERS

a. The use of reflection Reflection was regarded as a positive process contributing to the general

improvement of teachers.

CT5: I often think about my past experience in order to improve it for the future. I look for activities in my past experience that were successful with pupils and could be adapted to new purposes. As a mentor, I compare my past activity in guiding students to the present one which tends to be more conscientious and more responsible.

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CT1 and CT4 used reflections to improve specific areas of teaching and teaching

style in general, communication with trainees.

CT5: I need to be flexible, to adjust myself to reality, to select what is good from what is bad in my activity. I need to consider the impact of my activity on the students and the pupils. If I do not reflect on my experience and performance I will soon find myself outdated and useless; CT1: Do you ask if is good for a teacher to reflect in general. Yes. This is a way to improve yourself, to change what is wrong sometimes. CT6 believed that reflective skills were important for all teachers as they need to

adopt a holistic as well as a detailed view of teaching.

CT6: Not only for the beginners, its important for each of us, for everybody and all of us to think of the lesson and at the way the lesson you want to teach, we try to find the most appropriate exercises, activities and materials so its a reflecting period before the lesson. .... CT6 needed to reflect on practice both before and after teaching.

CT6: So, I reflect of my lesson before and most of the time I reflect for days and when they come and the lesson is there I always need time for myself before the lesson and I share with students this. Is important to plan the lesson step by step, day by day. I cant do it on the spot and then, before the lesson I need a moment of privacy and after the lesson I need my moment, too.).

b. Individual understanding of reflection Although the co-trainers (except CT7) stated that they were not familiar with the theoretical concept of reflection, they had an intuitive understanding and individual practice of reflection.

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CT2 spoke about self-evaluation as reflection.

CT2: but not only once it happened rather often, I go out of the class and tell myself What a lesson! I am not pleased with my activity. I feel I need to prepare, but I am not reflective the situation. CT5 and CT6 tried to define it in action.

CT5: I am not familiar with the terms, but I do reflective teaching and reflective learning, at least as I understand them. I do think about what is good or bad in my teaching and learning, trying to improve them, to react to what I do; CT6: Maybe, Ill explain better in a different way, this concept reflective its about, and Im sure that everybody is doing it and they dont know what they really do. [] They follow some reflection.. pre-reflect or after-reflect.). CT7 reflected on what was happening around her and she kept a diary about

students (CT7: I keep a diary not about me, but about students.). This was the first mention of a diary. Although she said she had read about reflection, she also said she did not use it consciously (CT7: In some books I read about it.). Adapting to new classroom situations was done by means of reflection and co-trainers considered that developing reflective skills was not only possible but necessary, but at the same time it required long and constant preoccupation.

CT5: I think that new teachers should be taught to reflect on what they plan to do and on what they do in class, they should consider the impact and the consequences of their performance. New teachers should be trained to adjust themselves to the reactions of the class. Although English is a favourite subject with our pupils, I do believe that working effectively with them will make them more prepared for the world of work and for life, in general.

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Co-trainers held opinions on reflection and its use, believing that teachers reflect unconsciously on their performance and as they become more experienced reflection becomes a habit. The themes emerging from their answers are summarized in Table 22 below.

Table 22. Emerging themes from co-trainers answers to RQ2. Discussion topics Focus of reflection Use of reflection Types of reflection Emerging themes Any teaching and learning situation General improvement of teachers Improve specific areas of teaching Improve communication with trainees Self-evaluation Unconscious Habit

5.1.4. DISCUSSION

Although the focus of reflection was different according to the different experiences they had, the trainees, trainers and co-trainers agreed on the positive aspects of reflection. As experienced teachers, trainers and co-trainers, they all focused on their performance, the performance of their students and the feedback they received. They regarded reflection as part of the self-development process, where focus on problematic issues could lead to finding appropriate solutions.

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Trainees were being introduced to the teaching profession and their reflections shift from their experiences as learners, to their performance as teachers and all the new aspects of teaching. They started understanding the complexity of teaching and understanding not only their own performance in classroom in terms of effective or inefficient which they related to the their teaching objectives, but also that of their pupils and their teachers in connexion to theoretical concepts learned or positive examples observed.

Reflection was regarded as a process of enquiry and analysis that led to awareness/internalisation and finally to understanding ones actions. All stakeholders considered reflection to be a must in the teaching profession, a way of improvement, but most of them believed that reflection was an unconscious action triggered by certain key events, a habit when adaptation to certain classroom situations was required, rather than deliberate action. In spite of their statements, trainees and co-trainers also considered that reflection could be overtly developed and reflective skills progress. This issue will be discussed in the next section.

Table 23 below offers a summary of the emerging themes from the answers given to the second research question by the three categories of respondents as presented in this section. Table 23. Overview of emerging themes from answers to Research Question 2. Discussion topics Focus of reflection Themes - Trainees Past school experiences Observed teaching Vocation Other aspects of teaching Efficiency of different activities Themes -Trainers Their performance Feedback received Themes - Cotrainers Any teaching and learning situation

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Use of reflection

Types of reflection

Motivation strategies Teacher-pupil relation Their own teaching performance Understand complexity of teaching Understanding others Awareness of good and bad points Way of improvement Adapting to different contexts Reconsider knowledge Find solutions Way to good practice Unconscious

Part of the self improvement process

General improvement of teachers Improve specific areas of teaching Improve communication with trainees Self-evaluation Unconscious Habit

Instinctive Deliberate Habit

5.2. Data analysis in relation to the research question 3: What opportunities for reflection does the programme offer to

trainees/trainers/co-trainers?

5.2.1. TRAINEES The opportunities for reflection during the methodology course were limited to peer group discussions on a specific topic and to discussions in larger groups on teaching/ teaching experience. They also mentioned critical and productive conversations with friends, colleagues, family members concerning the information received and the way it could be applied to practice. 215

During the practicum trainees declared that they found observing their co-trainers

and peers teaching most useful, as they could see how real teaching situations are dealt with.

S3: I found [it] the most useful process for any teaching practice because it offered me the best view upon what teaching really implies: a lesson plan, discussion with the students, creating an atmosphere in which all of them to be active and never the less creative. The discussions that followed their observations helped them to prepare for their

own teaching sessions and how to approach particular issues that they might face when teaching certain classes.

S13: The teacher observing me teaching gave me useful advice but also appraisal, and the fact that I made one or more lesson plans developed my ability to include all the objectives I wanted to reach within a certain schedule or time limit. The lesson planning stages were theoretically taught during the first term could be

used in practice during the second term. S11: Lesson planning influenced my performance in a positive way because it helped me organize the activity in logical order providing a progressive presentation of tasks. There were more discussions than in the first semester, with co-trainers and peers,

although they mentioned that the time allocated was insufficient to cover all aspects concerned. S11: Unfortunately there was not enough time for a lengthy conversation with the teacher, a discussion that would analyse every aspect and stage of the activity. I think that the teaching sessions as planned now are not long enough as there is not always time for detailed discussions with the classroom teacher.

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When referring to the opportunities for reflection, trainees mentioned the activities during the methodology course and the practicum. The emerging themes presented in this section are summarized in Table 24 below.

Table 24. Emerging themes from trainees answers to RQ3. Discussion topics Activities during methodology course Activities during practicum Themes Peer discussion Discussions in larger groups Critical friends Observation of co-trainers and peers Discussions with co-trainers and peers Lesson planning

5.2.2. TRAINERS

T1 used comparisons between different classroom events to encourage her trainees

to reflect. Although she did not mention it, it seemed that the reference to portfolios in the context of learner progress was made in relation to the summer courses with experienced teachers and not to the trainees.

T1: In the section dealing with assessments tests I have included the comparative analysis between different types of tests and the analysis of the learners portfolios so that the teacher can reflect on both his/her own teaching performance and on the learners progress.

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T1 also stated that she encouraged experienced teachers to reflect on their

performance by comparing the rationale of their lessons to the reports, by talking to peers or by comparing students test results, but she did not mention it in relation to trainees. As for trainers she recommended diaries as an instrument for reflection and suggested that discussions could also trigger reflection. T3 considered that diaries could also be useful for trainees, too, if they could be taught how to keep diaries and get in the habit of structuring and analysing their ideas and practising writing.

T1 mentioned discussions with peers and mentors from school as a means of

assisting her reflections. There is no other mention of this issue from the other trainers or co-trainers. T2 also stated that discussions with colleagues were very rare, which contradicted what T1 said about discussing the matter with peers. It is very likely that they discussed professional issues in different groups.

T1: I am particularly keen on having discussions with my peers and with the mentors from schools. With those from the former group I can exchange experience, with those from the latter group I can get feedback type of information regarding the way I have taught, I have designed my course, etc. T2 valued discussions with a family member from the same profession more. This

was also the case of several trainees that mentioned family members as critical friends.

T2: The most discussions that I have are those with my mother, from all teachers, well, from the secondary school teacher, that I find her experience really valuable actually. There is no such big difference between, I dont know 5 graders and first year students).

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Although part of the teaching model T3 applied during the course, reflection did not

represent an important part of it according to what the trainer stated. Reflection was considered, but was not introduced as a particular topic because of time constraints (mentioned also by T2) as trainees were already over loaded and they could not deal with all the information provided.

T3: we did not introduce for now reflection separately, but they did these protocols on the observed lessons, where they presented their lesson plan according to their taught lessons, including all the practical materials. These would be the part of their course. T3 was very keen on self-evaluation and autonomous learning. She tried to transfer

it to her trainees. However she could not say if it was effective or not as there is no evaluation method employed at that moment.

T3: I tried to offer them opportunities [for self-evaluation] too, but I dont know to what extent they evaluate their lessons, its hard to say. She considered that a period of reflection on action was necessary both before and

after the teaching sessions, so that the effectiveness of the training and of the learning process could be evaluated.

T3: I believe that this aspect of reflection should follow the practice and after they did those compulsory lessons. It should be insisted more on reflection. Actually even before it would be useful if there was time Trainers referred to the opportunities of reflection they could create during the methodology courses. The emerging themes presented are summarized in Table 25 below.

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Table 25. Emerging themes from trainers answers to RQ3. Discussion topics Activities during methodology course Themes Comparisons Discussions with peers and co-trainers Portfolios Diaries Critical friends Self-evaluation

5.2.3. CO-TRAINERS Co-trainers suggested different methods that could facilitate reflection.

CT1 borrowed methods from courses on creative thinking similar to mind maps or

brainstorming.

CT1: This kind of things may develop in time, day by day. [] Im supplying a course in type of creating thinking. There are very good methods there; it works with so called concepts which might be in my opinion a help. CT2 advised the trainees to have discussions with their peers in other groups from

other schools.

CT2: I advise them talk with their colleagues who are not here in my group, but in other group, in other schools.

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CT6 also advised trainees to find critical friends with whom they could discuss

their concerns.

CT6: I advise students to talk to somebody when they have something in mind, anything in mind, listening to him. So, the most important things for me, what I ask them to do is to reflect, but not necessarily in writing, and to have conversations with a friend. CT2 and CT6 asked different questions to trigger reflection on different issues.

CT2: Of course, if I ask them What do you think about the lesson from this point of view? they think and consider a lesson from that point of view if not they cant because they dont know, they consider the lesson and dont know; CT6: Most of the time I ask them what they like most in the lesson, how they find the class and the childrens knowledge, if they have different ideas of teaching and things like this. What kind of activities they can carry on during the lesson and respecting topical of the lesson. CT4 encouraged the trainees to ask themselves questions about their own teaching

activities and the effects they had on their pupils. CT4: Yes, on observation of the pupils learning style, classroom atmosphere and interaction with the pupils. Has your activity been effective? In what way? Do you feel it? Are you satisfied? Trainees answers to questionnaire 3 showed that reflection opportunities increased

during the practicum, especially because of the discussions. CT6 considered discussions useful because feedback could be used both ways.

CT6: Im really trying to do this because I consider this discussion very useful both for me and for them because they are very few in the class and they also can help me by this assistance.

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CT6 advised trainees to reflect on their actions as she did. She shared what she

knew, but she let them decide what pieces of advice they considered useful for their own teaching.

CT6: I tell about this habit of mine and its only a discussion between me and them. Maybe theyll find this useful in future, to think of the lessons, to have your moment of privacy before and after, to feel secure, to reflect on your work. If you help provide and have a relying voice, if you really want to make them change their mind and choose being teacher, I guess you can do it, you can talk with them sincerely. Co-trainers considered all the methods presented to them were useful to support

reflection, but to different degrees according to the trainees learning styles and to trainees and co-trainers personalities. The co-trainers revealed they used observations of and by a more experienced teacher or peer, discussions with more experienced teacher, peer or critical friend, discussions in larger groups, lesson planning and reports.

As the time for practice was very short, writing diaries was not considered feasible

as they are too time-consuming. CT2: I dont know, maybe, maybe diary should be interesting, but it takes much time to write. I mean students dont have enough time for their activity, for their practice. So, if I ask them to have diaries, maybe only if I ask them to do diary they... It should be too much. CT3 and CT5 considered all the methods efficient but used at appropriate times and

according to the personality of the trainee. CT5: I advise them to try all methods and choose the ones they feel are suitable for them. I have not discussed diaries or video recordings as I feel students have hardly any time to train themselves as teachers.

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Co-trainers referred to the opportunities of reflection they could create during the practicum. The emerging themes presented are summarized in Table 26 below. Table 26. Emerging themes from co-trainers answers to RQ3. Discussion Themes topics Activities during Mind maps the practicum Brainstorming Discussions with peers Critical friends Discussions with trainees questioning Observation of and by a more experienced teacher or peer Discussions with more experienced teacher Discussions in larger groups lesson planning and report

5.2.4. DISCUSSION

The situations in which trainees could reflect on the learning process during the methodology course were reduced mainly to discussions with peers in smaller or larger groups, and with critical friends. During the practicum the opportunities to reflect increased as they participated in observation sessions of classes taught by more experienced teachers or colleagues. As they discussed with peers and co-trainers what they had been seen in the classroom, they planned lessons and taught themselves by receiving feedback both from peers and co-trainers. Co-trainers were able to create more situations for reflection as they were in the appropriate environment designed to promote more interaction between them and the trainees. Apart from discussions on questioning performance and feedback given to

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trainees, they also used mind maps and brainstorming and encouraged discussions with trainees peers in other groups. Trainers could only advise areas for reflection, as their courses were designed as lectures and therefore less interactive. There were no other methods apart from the ones already mentioned, that the trainers and co-trainers used to encourage trainees to reflect. Diaries were considered useful but time-consuming, and required some training on writing. Video recordings were used only by T3. Trainees considered it useful for the analysis of critical incidents. Critical incidents could be used to identify, articulate and examine student teachers' professional awareness and problematic. To direct them towards what might be done trainers could ask questions, ask them to answer to questions by means of theoretical analysis as the basis of action so that they raise the student teachers' awareness of the situation (Tripp, 1993). However the English department lacked resources and it is very possible that the large number of students could have also been a barrier. Portfolios were mentioned but only in relation to more experienced teachers.

As for the opportunities for reflection with trainers and co-trainers, they were limited to individual action plans for improvement such as: comparison between past and present experiences, discussions with peers, feedback from trainees for self-evaluation purposes, discussions with critical friends. There was no record of another more organised form of reflection. There was only one exception, namely CT7, who kept a diary about her students (mentioned in previous section).

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The emerging themes from all respondents answers to the third research question presented above are summarized in Table 27.

Table 27. Overview of the emerging themes answering Research Question 3. Discussion topic Themes Themes - Trainers -Trainees Activities during Peer discussion Comparisons methodology Discussions in Discussions with course larger groups peers and coCritical friends trainers Portfolios Diaries Critical friends Self-evaluation Activities during Observation of cothe practicum trainers and peers Discussions with co-trainers and peers Lesson planning Themes - Co-trainers

Mind maps Brainstorming Discussions with peers Critical friends Discussions with trainees questioning Observation of and by a more experienced teacher or peer Discussions with more experienced teacher Discussions in larger groups Lesson planning and report

5.3. Data analysis in relation to the research question 4: What do trainees/ trainers/ co-trainers think about reflection in relation to their understanding development? of teaching and their further professional

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5.3.1. TRAINEES These data are presented in two sections. First, before the methodology course and second, after attending the practicum.

5.3.1.1. Trainees understanding of teaching and professional development before attending the methodology course

a. Expectations and reasons for enrolling on the course The trainees statements about their expectations came to complement their reasons

for enrolling on the course. They revealed the aspects of their learning that they would like to improve or develop. They expected to be taught about strategies and methods of language teaching that they could apply when entering the classroom. The idea of getting recipes or tips for teaching in different contexts was recurrent.

S10: It will also show us the exact way of how it is proper to do it, especially for me because I dont have any teaching training.; S8: I like to call them tips for teaching because some of these explanations are tricks with which to make the process of learning easier. Other trainees were hoping that by attending this course they would understand

their preference for teaching, their own or other teaching styles that they had experienced.

S2: Probably it will help me understand better why I dislike some of the teachers and on the other hand, why I enjoyed so much being at several classes. It will help me

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realise what qualities I need to develop when teaching, so that Ill become one of those enjoyable teachers. They also expected that the course would offer them the confidence they needed in

order to perform well in front of their students.

S5: I hope that by attending this course I will be familiar with the general principles of teaching and moreover that it will make me more confident in my abilities to teach somebody else what I have been taught for so many years. b. Types of knowledge Enquiries about the knowledge they considered important for their future

development revealed their beliefs before becoming trainees. Content knowledge was considered the most important for a teacher as they would teach content knowledge to their students. Pedagogical knowledge was seen as a compulsory requirement for all teachers who need to transfer the content knowledge to their students. Pedagogicalcontent knowledge was considered very important for the decisions made by teachers regarding the methods and strategies to be employed in the classroom when teaching a foreign language.

S3: It is important to know the methods of teaching a foreign language, the steps you have to follow in order to obtain good results with your students.; S5: I think the teacher should use the best methods in order to make pupils understand a foreign language and grow fond of it. Knowledge of psychology was mentioned as important for two main reasons. First

a teacher should adapt his/her teaching to the level of understanding of his/her students. Second, a good teacher should always be responsive to and understanding about his/her

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students needs. Knowledge of English was considered important as English is the language employed during the EFL classes, during which the teacher is seen as the source of information and the students as recipients. Therefore the teacher should know the language very well in order to be able to transfer the information to his/her students and answer all their questions. This suggests a deeply-rooted transmission model of teaching.

S2: This helps the teacher adapt to the age of the learners and thus adopt the most efficient way of teaching; S9: very important because it has to do with empathy which is essential in being a successful teacher. c. Types of skills The trainees considered that lesson planning and preparation skills allowed the

teacher to structure the information to be delivered to students in order to reach their objectives efficiently. Lesson presentation skills were important in the trainees opinion as teachers should present the information clearly and coherently to their students, adapting it to their level of understanding. They believed that language acquisition also depended on the way the information is structured and presented.

S7: A teacher must be able to present a lesson in such a way that his students should have a clear image of it in their minds. S15: The way students assimilate information depends to a large extent to the lesson organisation and presentation. Materials design and selection skills became very important in the context of the

amount of information that needs to be filtered and adapted to the lesson aims by

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individual teachers. Additional materials brought to the classroom were regarded as beneficial for the learning process.

S6: Materials will always help students to learn/understand better a lesson.; S7: The materials are always important and they must adapt to the age level or to the intellectual level of the students.; S9: Information selection skills are important nowadays because of the great amount of information. Opinions on testing and evaluation skills were also expressed. They are considered

to be among the most important skills that a teacher should have. Teachers must evaluate properly their students level of knowledge acquisition in a way that it is not perceived by the latter as stressful. This information could assist teachers in structuring their teaching according to their students needs.

S10: Evaluation is also a way of learning, so it must be done correctly by the teacher in an attractive way for the student.; S12: After each class you must know what your students understood from what you taught.; S14: In order to see whether the aims of the lesson were reached. d. Good teachers The trainees answers about the characteristics of a good teacher offered more

insights into trainees understanding of professional development. They resulted in a complex portrait of a professional who needed to combine knowledge of the language he/she teaches and pedagogical content knowledge.

S1: First and foremost it has to have a very good knowledge of the language.; S3: Also a good language teacher should provide a wide range of learning strategies in order to meet the needs and expectations of his/her students, possessing different learning styles, motivation etc.; S7: The teachers knowledge is indeed very

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important but it is not enough. There are a lot of intelligent teachers, very well trained, but who do not possess a good teaching method and are unable of sharing their knowledge. Personal qualities such as patience and the ability to adapt to and understand any

situation were regarded as a necessity when working with individuals at different ages.

S10: Empathy with the students, openness to their opinions, a good listener, a person full of energy (even when he is tired) and into his job. The most important of all was generally considered to be the enthusiasm and the

passion a teacher brings into the profession without which he/she cannot enter the classroom. This characteristic was labelled as indispensable for a good teacher.

S2: Enthusiasm this is one of the key words for me when liking a teacher; S3: First and foremost I think a good teacher has to enjoy his/her work and his/her students.; S9: A confident, happy person inspires hope, motivation and help students to start confidently their careers. It was interesting to notice the recurrent reference to some of the teachers they had

in school whose lack of interest in teaching was negatively characterized, thus contradicting some of the views expresses previously about teaching as a backup plan.

S11: Just as important is that the person teaching should want to be in that position (the choice of the profession should be voluntary and not a result of the circumstances, such as the absence of other perspectives)

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A good teacher would also need to have management skills in order to organize the

lessons, handle the students and keep them engaged, manage the time and the resources.

S17: I think that a good teacher is well prepared, able to present his ideas clearly and coherently, and the volume of information given is adequate for that specific group of learners.

5.3.1.2. Trainees understanding of teaching and professional development after attending the practicum

a. Trainees as teachers In the last part of the third questionnaire following their practicum, each trainee was asked to consider the features of his or her self as a teacher during their practice and to compare it with their ideal self as a teacher. Then, taking into account their learning experiences as pupils, students and trainees, they were asked to consider the characteristics of a teacher they had learned well with and of a teacher that they did not learn well with. They were given a list of 17 traits of character that could assist their reflection (see questionnaire 3 in the appendix). The reasons for their choices were clarified during the individual interviews.

There was almost a perfect match between the ideal self as a teacher and the teacher

they had learned well with, in complete contrast to the characteristics of the teachers they had not learned well with.

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Their main concerns regarding self as teacher at the moment of the practicum

referred mainly to not being patient or enthusiastic enough, not being good class managers or being less confident about their knowledge in general. The main concern was about not being creative enough (see Table 3 in appendix 10).

Other areas of concern, mentioned by only a third of the participants, was their

ability to understand pupils or apply rules in the classroom, not being independent or motivated, or lacking information regarding different areas of teaching in general.

During discussions throughout the practicum the trainees could analyse their

performance and consider their strengths and weaknesses as teachers. S3 considered that her qualities as a teacher so far were initiative, analytical spirit and perseverance. She was enthusiastic about teaching but at the same time aware of the low pay. She thought that a teaching career would not pay her bills in Bucharest.

[] I think a bit of initiative, analytical spirit, perseverance. I like what I do as a teacher after all. Although, one of the disadvantages is that it isnt very well paid. And if I want to stay in Bucharest, Id better find a well paid job. One of her weak points was considered to be a lack of patience, but by developing respect from the beginning and a clear understanding of rules and responsibilities which worked both ways, she believes she could be less so.

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Time management represented one of the points S13 had to improve, but she was
satisfied with having managed to plan a whole lesson. She got positive feedback from students.

its only the timing that we need to work on and the structure, what to do when you teach, when you have a text [] it was clear that they were structured because I managed to teach for one hour without making mistakes, to make myself understood, and the children learned something. [] we asked them what they have learned and they answered and I think that was what made us get closer to them.

S1 considered herself creative as she prepared extra materials for her

lessons, but she considered it would be easier to handle young ages and then consider high school teaching.

I take materials from the internetcause the textbooks have very few exercises and they get bored. Its what Ive noticed during the private lessons that I teach ; probably I would start teaching secondary school and not high school, cause high school kids are very bold and Im not so tough.

S4 observed several areas that would need improvement and she discovered

that she could correct them with will.

I really dont know how to explain things. Its easy when I observe that to other people, and I could say where they needed to explain that. Ive noticed that a long time ago. But Ive also notice that Im not patient, and that it probably depends a lot on the class you teach; but if Im interested in making it work then its ok.

Trainees considered that a teacher should come with personal ideas,

strategies and methods that are not necessarily included in a training course,

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referring to innate abilities or skills, as there are teachers who know how to assist knowledge construction and others who, even specialists in their field, cannot reach their targets.

S17: I think she knew exactly what to do, what was essential and very clear. She didnt complicate herself [] she always encouraged us and she taught us the basics of English and that it helped me a lot. I think a teacher should be very clear and normally should bring a lot of information but he/she should know where to start from.

They remember blaming the subject for being difficult to learn, but

actually it was the teacher that did not notice that the knowledge was not being constructed by the pupils because she/he could not present it properly.

S4: I dont know how to say that, but it is surprising for me that there are very well prepared teachers but cannot make themselves understood. I was thinking about Mrs. X because she likes her topic and she is convinced shes very good and she is a specialist in that field. But I dont get her way of explaining things, of speaking so fast and then saying that it is very logical and we should know it.

b. Opinions on teaching After attending the methodology course and the practicum which brought a closer understanding of what it means to be a teacher, some of the trainees changed their opinion and became more positive about teaching.

None of the trainees regarding teaching in a positive light was convinced to

enter the profession, mainly because of financial reasons, and to a lesser extent 234

because of the complicated rules in the system or because they could not make a decision so soon.

S1: I dont want to be a teacher. Its not that I dont like it but I consider is a last option if there is nothing else of if I dont like anything; Im thinking about this, but its not a priority. [] the problem is the salary because Im not from Bucharest and Im not planning to return home, and you earn 4 millions and then I have to pay 3 for the rent and thats not possible [to survive]; S5: And the part that concerns me most is not the financial one, but until you get all the grades/levels, until you get a salary raise. I cannot wait!

The theoretical course raised curiosity about the profession, especially as

the trainer was considered very dedicated and gave a lot of examples from personal experience.

S9: first I wanted to see if this profession suits me. Because the teacher that taught this course made me curious, because she personally isa teacher, that this job suits her very well and she wouldnt do anything else and that was very interesting for me, and made me wonder if it would suit me too as she gave us a lot of examples from her own professional life!.

The status the teachers have in todays society and the influence of the

media about the situation in schools, made trainees resent teaching even before trying.

S17: Until the practice I hated the idea of being a teacher [] I dont know, pupils seem to be so undisciplined and rudeIve seen on TV, with the teachersand Ive been so scared and I said to myself that this is not what I need.

They were encouraged during the theoretical course to think about their

motivation to be a teacher, about the responsibilities of a teacher, about the 235

advantages and disadvantages of the profession and to reconsider their position. However, there were also trainees who discovered that they are not made for teaching after the practice in the classroom.

S8: Its simply not for me. [] I could work with children, but since Im not patient at all my place is not there.

There were only two trainees that enrolled on the course with a positive

attitude towards teaching and they managed to maintain and enforce it throughout the training.

S3: No, I havent changed my mind. I got even more exited about it because I enjoyed it. And in the end I could even handle a whole classroom of pupils, 12th grade; S14: I like to do this, I like it because I like children and all the time I observed it was very interesting and I grew fond of the kids and they were very active and I liked them so much. [] It is true that I am patient with children, especially that they prepare for the 3rd grade and they told me that they are waiting for me.'

They reflected on teaching as a vocation as soon as they experienced

training, but only after the practice did they regard it as a real possibility. This reinforces the importance that the practice has within the training.

S3: Yes, once Ive learned more about what it means to be a teacher I started thinking I want to be a teacher but only after I taught for the first time in front of a real class I realised that I could actually take this into consideration; S14: You need to learn to adapt, to new conditions, to new things all the time and you have to do something to attract them all, it is very difficult but still beautiful and its worth trying.

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There were also negative attitudes revealed that did not change during the

training. The main reasons offered were the regulations encountered in the public sector or the lack of personal qualities they felt they needed.

S10: Because some of the children are quite difficult and first you have to and you cannot control them. But in private schools you go to classes, they dont miss the classes, its more pleasant, more relaxing. But in state schools its all about attendance, grades and records; S18: I dont know if I am patient enough and, I dont know, it seems such a routine to do the same thing all the time! [I would be tempted to try teaching different ages] if by any chance I had the opportunity or if I were forced. [] Because I dont want to do this the whole life, no! Although I wanted to do this when I was a child, its an alternative, but not!).

c. Role models

When characterizing themselves as teachers, trainees confessed that they

applied what they have learned from their experiences as pupils and applied the teaching or learning methods that had worked for them.

S1:I like to give them a lot of exercises cause, this is my principle, as I observed when I was pupil myself, that the exercises were not enough, and now that I teach I noticed that this is the way it should be done so they can understand and learn something; she gave me a lot of work to do and that motivated me and I worked [] and I applied her advice and methods into my teaching; S4: Well, in general, I copied the teachers Ive learned with [] but I didnt manage it all. I wanted them to listen to me, I wanted to keep everything under control, so that they dont trick me, I wanted to reach my goal; S10: The teachers that I take as a role models taught me from 2nd to 8th grade and I liked them because I had good results and the fact that I observed them helped me more than the course in methodology.

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They felt that applying the model they have from their own teachers in

school is more effective than the theory they were introduced to. They did not have time to apply all that they were told in the theoretical course, so they turned to what they intuitively knew, to what they have seen being applied during the years when they were pupils.

S4: Yes, because it seems to me that this is a model to follow, to know what they did, but then you think that not everybody is like you and they might not like it. [] I didnt have time to apply it; S5: Yes, I had good teachers in school that I consider role models, that taught well, that were understanding and when I taught I thought about them. [] I thought only twice and I didnt have time to apply all that I wanted.

It seemed that the trainees did not have time for in-depth reflection, to

internalise the information acquired during the methodology course, so they could conceptualise and apply it into practice.

Some trainees learned from the negative examples they had as teachers and

were determined not to use the same methods.

S11: I didnt have time to have a style of my own, but I had teachers in high school that had negative influences, that type of teacher that enter the classroom, see the attendance and they start testing pupils randomly. Im definitely not like that. Trainees experienced teaching as a meaningful experience that determined

further reaction and reflection on the matter.

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S17: I kept thinking, all the time if I would be a good teacher. And so, for the first time, I dont think I was cold or indifferent, but enthusiastic, and it was the first time I taught, and I think its a good point for the future. I mean, you see now how it is to be a teacher and what it means to prepare a lesson, what do you want to improve, how the lesson should be. Reflection on practice could be very useful for learning from experiences.

S17: Yes, its very useful because I realise now when looking behind, for example, at what I worked on, how I taught and where I made mistakes or where I could improve. I think its very useful for me because gradually I started thinking that now Im a teacher and I know how to teach. During their formal preparation for teaching, trainees developed a certain understanding of teaching. This section presented their opinions on the opportunities of reflection the training offered and its relation to their further professional development. Data gathered from trainees are summarized in Table 28 below.

Table 28. Trainees opinion on the opportunities of reflection in relation to their understanding of teaching and professional development.
Opportunities for reflection Observation of an experienced teacher/peer Observation by an experienced teacher/peer Discussions with /Feedback from co-trainers/peer Discussions with friends Lesson planning teaching Trainees understanding of teaching and professional development Understanding situations/behaviour encountered in the classroom Examples of good practice. Feedback

Understanding vocation/practice Comparison with others Identification of strengths and weaknesses Changing opinion critical Analysis of different concerns and Understanding the organisation of information and means of delivery

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5.3.2. TRAINERS

a. Skills and knowledge for professional development When referring to the most important skills and knowledge when becoming

a teacher, T2 mentioned the following as important: content knowledge because it is taught; pedagogical-content knowledge because she teaches ESL; knowledge of psychology (trainees learn in their 2nd year before the methodology course and the practicum and she considered it was very relevant); material selection and design skills (she encouraged students to supplement text books as they were not so good) and her focus, lesson planning and classroom management. T1 also considered classroom management skills to be key, while for T3 management was not an issue approached during the course. For T3 material selection and design was an aspect dealt with during the practicum, therefore the responsibility of the co-trainer.

T1 believed that pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical-content

knowledge were essential for a future teacher. Curriculum knowledge and knowledge of psychology were compulsory, since the teacher would be able to design his/her pedagogical contents, ensuring continuity and progress according to the learners age, capacity, and needs. She considered that lesson planning and preparation skills embodied teaching.

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At the same time T3 considered lesson planning and preparation as

minimal requirement in trainees preparation for teaching. In contrast, T2 regarded it as the most important. T2 considered that lesson planning was probably the most important thing trainees should learn from her course. This was also found in trainees answers to questionnaires as being promoted by the course. She also considered showing video tapes very useful, but according to what trainees said, there were showings only during the German methodology course not the English one.

b. Opportunities for reflection When considering the methods useful for improving the teaching of trainees, and their learning, T1 mentioned observations of and by a peer or more experienced teacher, discussions with a course tutor or a peer, lesson planning and questionnaires on particular issues.

Trainees considered that discussions with a course tutor or a peer, in larger groups or with critical friends, and lesson planning were the most useful opportunities in their learning process. T1 believed that trainees should develop an understanding of pupils learning by adapting techniques, being aware of pupils motivation and of personal motivation, and having flexibility to teach different ages/levels. She did not mention any means of achieving these goals.

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In this section I referred to trainers opinions on the opportunities of reflection in relation to their professional development. The information previously presented is summarized in Table 29 below.

Table 29. Trainers opinion on the opportunities of reflection in relation to their understanding of teaching and professional development.
Opportunities for reflection Observation of an experienced teacher/peer Observation by an experienced teacher/peer Discussions with /Feedback from co-trainers/peer Discussions with critical friends Lesson planning and teaching Trainers understanding of teaching and professional development Positive examples of how knowledge and skills are applied into practice Feedback on relevant issues

Understanding the organisation of information and means of delivery

5.3.3. CO-TRAINERS

a. Becoming a teacher Co-trainers believed that the first step in becoming a teacher would be the shift in status that triggers responsibilities, and raises barriers for development if delayed.

CT3 considered that trainees needed first of all to adapt to the change of status when they came to the practicum. They had been students so far; from now on they have to be teachers. It was very difficult for them to switch from being the subject of the learning to the pupils.

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CT3: the reversed situation, so far they were the students, but now they become the teachers, and suddenly they realise that they have to face some animals ready to attack. They also have to have in mind the aim, namely teaching new information in such a way that you get best responses. She also believed that it was very difficult at the beginning for trainees to be patient, understanding and flexible and to adapt to the cognitive level of their students.

CT2: To be patient, first of all to be patient. They have to know, not to know, to try to understand the children, to be, toof course they have to know English and they have to know everything about the topic they are talking. But they also have to be patient with the children if they want to know something they have done and they should have the ability to adapt the plan to what the children ask, that is not possible at the beginning of their activity. Its hard for the teacher, for the student its very hard, is not impossible. CT6 considered that the most difficult work for trainees was with young learners. They had to be open about understanding pupils worlds, interests and needs.

CT6: They need advice most of the time but they know that working with little children, they really arent very good, and most of the time understand. Is difficult for each of us because different ages have different ways of thinking and is important because, knowing the aging group you can easily touch their heart and attract them quickly that if you dont know them..

b. Theoretical competence Co-trainers believed that teachers had certain skills and theoretical knowledge that they transferred to practice unconsciously when teaching, but they had different opinions on

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when this transfer took place in the development of trainees. Some of them considered that trainees should already be fairly competent when they come to the practicum, others were more flexible and believed that the latter could develop throughout the practicum and training.

CT1 considered that trainees should have better theory knowledge when they come to the practicum.

CT1: They should have a theoretical knowledge, but when I have talked with them I realized that they are not quite familiar with this. CT2 believed that it was during the practicum when they learned how to adapt the theory to their practical needs. They should be able to apply some theoretical principles to their practice and explain it.

CT2: No, but they should have the direction and the explanation, to explain their activity in large and to have, I dont know, it depends of the topic, but at least five or four lessons, not twelve, not twenty, but three.. CT3 suggested that apart from theory, trainees should have some real examples of what was happening in certain situations, such as videotaped lessons where specific moments in a lesson are recorded and analysed. CT3 saw trainees as unpolished diamonds, as they knew a bit of everything, but the development process was continuous, and it needed to be increased through adding to vocation. This is a recurrent issue to be found in all interviews except trainers.

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CT3: They knew a bit of everything, but it is that diamond that needs polishing, they start in their 2nd year, and then in the 4th year they focus a bit more and if they decide what they want in their first years its in fact like continuous preparation, its a big challenge for a beginner but then the beautiful part comes because you need to have an inclination, something from inside, like in any profession, to make you want doing it.. c. Practical competence CT1 required trainees to be open-minded about what they observed there. She tried to create a partner relationship with them. CT1: After that they should listen what I taught them. They have to be open-minded and to try to be my partner as far I am concerned I can not teach them or help them during the lesson if they dont want me to do it. I ask them to ask for my support. T2 also encouraged trainees to be open-minded at the start of their practicum. CT1 preferred trainees to be honest with her when they were interested only in getting a mark or an attendance certificate and not in learning something.

CT1: I try to encourage my students to take the teaching but is no degree to force anyone. I hate liars. I dont discourage them: O... Im so interested about the way you teach because I want to be a teacher. The truth: I am not going to be a teacher but a very good mark is possible and they are not going teach, they are going to take other jobs. You cant force anyone. In order to have a good working at school you have to find your own consensus with your soul. CT2 believed that they came with some knowledge of lesson planning but in fact they had never planned a lesson before.

CT2: They say they saw a sort of a lesson plan they are giving an example, a sheet of paper with the model they have to complete a model, but they never made a lesson plan, they just never made a they werent to make a plan and they have to know how to express objective, what the word, the direction means, the way they have to explain everything in the lesson.

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CT6 also considered that trainees have insufficient knowledge about lesson planning and curricula (a recurrent issue: trainers and co-trainers expect that different aspects of the training to be dealt with by the other party).

CT6: And is difficult because they dont know the text, the text books and, I think, hardly have any knowledge of teaching plans and curricula when they come. CT3 emphasised the importance of knowledge of child psychology. This issue was not mentioned in the interviews with trainers.

CT3: They need to come with this knowledge of child psychology. Not to be psychologists, but have some knowledge. Then of course the pedagogy courses for the steps to be followed in a lesson, the lesson psychology and so on, but it is very important for them the psychology of children and especially teenagers.. She also believed that content knowledge was very important as it could offer trainees confidence which was vital in classroom. Pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content-knowledge were linked and both very important. CT6 believed that her trainees had very good English skills, but she suggested they could improve their pedagogical and pedagogical-content knowledge by reading more.

CT6: Most of them are very good at using English and you speak enough, its very well. This pedagogical knowledge, so they have to read a lot about methodology and principles of teaching. d. Motivational issues

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Trainees lack of motivation was one of the aspects all co-trainers had to face at some point during the practicum.

CT1 did not understand trainees lack of interest in well preparing for classes or in asking questions about what they observed.

CT1: They know what they had to do, but they werent motivated. I have to bring some extra information and extra photos to keep their attention. They need to ask about courses. I dont understand the attitude. They dont ask about getting a cassette, having a tape, something to listen to. I can not understand the lesson without those. She believed that the lack of motivation was also linked to the low income and status of teaching.

CT1: The first thing, the state of money of their teachers. They keep thinking about it. They need money to live. I can not say this is the best solution of income. Who has to do this kind of job does it to get high with the soul. Its very difficult to find deeper motivation. CT5: Besides, more than half the students involved in teaching practice hope to find a better job when they graduate and to resort to teaching only in extreme situations. If they realize the mentor is willing to take them through all the phases of the teaching process, some students will perceive this as a useless, time and energy consuming activity and will drop it. [] I believe that one reason for these situations is rooted in the acknowledged fact that teaching is no longer a profession that can ensure material comfort and security. CT5 was disappointed as the time allocated to practice was insufficient for effective training and in particular unmotivated trainees for whom teaching is not viable.

CT5: I became more aware of my responsibilities, I realize that in fact there is not much I can do. There is very little time left for the teaching practice, so students can

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hardly manage to squeeze practice activities into their program. They regard teaching as a profession as a very distant alternative taking into consideration the low wages and the amount of effort involved.

CT2 also encountered students who did not want to teach because they were not interested in teaching after graduation. This was wasting university resources and co-trainers time.

CT2: students that didnt want to teach because they say theyll never be teachers, but finally they have to teach after all. They have to observe ten lessons and teach three, at least two, I make them teach at least two. Ok. AS I was saying earlier, I think students must be motivated and not all of them are. CT3 noticed that although they seemed well prepared theoretically, they would not be very likely to enter the profession.

CT3: They were very well prepared professionally, but I dont know how many of them would be teachers. Co-trainers believed that as trainees were not motivated, they lacked a sense of direction. A positive attitude towards training would help the latter perform better.

CT1: The weak point is that they are not very interested in the final result, they dont have an evolution at the end of the lesson and I think that they are not interested in my speech. The practice is also short and out of context so there is no end to it, no continuity. Trainees did not feel passionate about teaching

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CT2: I dont think they consider this activity too important. They feel something, I have to have the paper. I have to have a paper, to demonstrate that I consider it important or I dont know. According to what trainees and trainers say, some discover their motivation during the training whereas many do not have this prior to the course. CT4 faced situations when trainees lacked motivation. They did not regard the practicum seriously. She considers that the cause for this situation lies in societal issues, as trainees adapt to the requirements of a developing world.

CT4: mostly trainees interested in the certificate who have to understand that the mentoring period is something serious.

e. Reflection Reflection was considered the most effective tool in trainees progress since it involves the understanding and processing of feedback. CT5: As they somehow intend to become teachers, trainees should develop reflective skills. I consider them the most effective in ones progress. No matter what comments a teacher obtains from the others, they will not become useful until they are understood and processed. Unfortunately at the present moment there is no time for reflection.

CT5: At present, students do not really have time to reflect on their performance. There is little time for change and progress during the teaching practice period. But it would help them a lot.

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Co-trainers believed that there was willingness for reflection as trainees tried to analyse their performance.

CT1: They try to analyze their activity in the school and they try to evaluate themselves and to offer each other marks and pieces of advice, this is something that I tried with students, but I think they know their values and know how to appreciate people. Reflection was part of their lives as they were more aware of the things happening around them which they questioned.

CT3: This is a generation that enquires seriously on its problems, their lives, the profession they want to pursue. They are aware of what happens to them and what they want. CT6 noticed that the more motivated students were able to identify their own qualities and weaknesses.

CT6: Yes, most of the time, so they know what they did good or bad, the ones who are interested in teaching and will become teachers are aware of the thing they need improvement and experience and they are able to evaluate because they are 20, 22. Although some motivated students were capable of a certain kind of selfevaluation, they could not analyse what was good or bad during their teaching or their observations. As the analysis of trainees post observation reports showed, they were rather descriptive in their self-analysis and could not articulate an indepth analysis of their performance.

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CT2: Yes, some of them are inclined to analysis, to considering their lesson from any point of view and they think that everything they should do or could, but others do what do the plan and at the end of the lesson they tell me This activity was good or not, I cant say. The children werent very attentive. I wasnt very clear They dont realize what was wrong, some of them know something was wrong, but not what..

Co-trainers answers regarding the role of opportunities of reflection in their own and their trainees professional development are summarized in Table 30 below.

Table 30. Co-trainers opinion on the opportunities of reflection in relation to their understanding of teaching and professional development.
Opportunities for reflection Co-trainers understanding professional development of teaching and

Observation of an experienced teacher/peer Observation by an experienced teacher/peer Discussions with /Feedback from co- Understanding trainers/peer motivation. Discussions with critical friends Lesson planning and teaching

change

of

status,

pupils

needs,

5.3.4. DISCUSSION

In the light of the outcomes presented in Tables 19 to 29, trainees considered that the observation of more experienced teachers and their peers were the most useful opportunities for reflections. These observations enabled them to be aware of the situations they could encounter in the classroom, the way teachers and pupils responded to certain stimuli, particular classroom approaches and so on. If these situations were analysed, they could lead to discussions on particular issues of concern. Lesson planning also triggered

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reflection as they needed to think about the organisation and presentation of information adapted to a certain age or proficiency level, time management issues, material selection and design.

Trainees enrolled on the course having certain expectations and beliefs about teaching and teachers. They expected to be taught about strategies and methods of teaching accompanied by tips of how to operate in practice, to get either more confident when teaching, or an understanding of vocation and preference for different teaching styles. Good teachers should have knowledge of the language they teach, pedagogical content knowledge, management skills as well as personal qualities such as patience and flexibility, and above all display enthusiasm and passion for the profession.

They were exposed during the course to different experiences that led to the construction of knowledge and its conceptualisation at different levels. There was no mention of reflection among the requirements of good teachers, although in later stages of training, it was considered a necessity for development. Trainees understanding of teacher development took on meaning after they had the opportunity to teach, when they could compare their image of the ideal self and their self as a teacher. Most of the qualities mentioned previously were now transferred to needing improvement. They considered illuminating the personal examples offered by trainers as means for reflection. Actions during the practice were relevant for their understanding of strengths and weaknesses and professional shortcomings, and for their considering teaching as a profession in the future.

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Trainers considered a series of skills and knowledge as necessary in the teaching profession according to the course they were teaching. They believed that the learning and the teaching of their trainees could be improved by observing more experienced teachers or peers teaching, or by being observed and offering feedback. Discussions with co-trainers and peers about the lesson planning process were also considered beneficial for conceptualising the knowledge and understanding they provided during the course. As for the opportunities for reflection that they themselves were offered, it was noted that trainers had to create them by initiating discussions with peers or critical friends or as a personal driver for reflection.

Co-trainers offered a more complex view of the practical issues involved in teaching apart from the theoretical preparation. They also considered a series of skills and knowledge that trainees should be able to apply when they start their practicum, but they emphasised the need for trainees to be open to pupils worlds and adapt accordingly. They mentioned as very important the change of perspective, namely pupil-centred, that trainees need to accommodate and their motivation for getting involved with the classroom matters. They believed that reflection was part of the trainees development and that discussions were the means by which the latter could be encouraged to think and analyse different issues of concern. They considered that trainees were open to reflection as they started analysing their performance as soon as they started teaching, but as far as the depth of their reflections was concerned, they were not always able to understand what was happening in the classroom due to lack of theoretical information and/or experience.

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The opportunities for reflection identified during the training, although limited, were considered by all stakeholders as beneficial for a better understanding of the processes involved in teaching. These were also considered necessary for the future development of professionals. It emerged that there was not enough time dedicated to in-depth reflection during the methodology course or the practicum, although there were several situations created to facilitate reflection for trainees. This could be understood also as subscribing to the goals of the module, namely introduction to the profession and understanding vocation. All other aspects of development were left for later stages of training, from the induction period up to the definitivat exam. The opportunities for reflection that the training programme offered to trainers and co-trainers were limited to individual initiatives, as there were no other organised forms of meeting, discussion or analysis of their activity.

The data from trainees, trainers and co-trainers in relation to the fourth research question previously discussed are summarized in Table 31 below.

Table 31. Overview of trainees, trainers and co-trainers opinion on the opportunities of reflection in relation to their understanding of teaching and professional development.
Opportunities reflection for Trainees understanding of teaching and professional development of an Understanding situations/behaviour encountered in the classroom Examples of good practice. by an Feedback Trainers understanding of teaching and professional development Positive examples of how knowledge and skills are applied into practice Co-trainers understanding teaching professional development

of and

Observation experienced teacher/peer

Observation

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experienced teacher/peer Discussions with Understanding /Feedback from co- vocation/practice trainers/peer Comparison with others Identification of strengths and weaknesses Changing opinion Discussions with Analysis of different critical friends concerns Lesson planning and Understanding the teaching organisation of information and means of delivery

Feedback on relevant Understanding change issues of status, pupils needs, motivation.

Understanding the organisation of information and means of delivery

Chapter IV and Chapter V presented data collected and analysed that links to the four research questions (see also Chapter III). The research questions addressed issues of teacher development: o How do the trainees, trainers and co-trainers perceive the ITE

programme?

and of teacher learning and reflective processes: o o How do the trainees, trainers and co-trainers regard reflection? What opportunities for reflection does the programme offer to

trainees/trainers/co-trainers? o What do trainees/trainers/co-trainers think about the opportunities for

reflection in relation to their understanding of teaching and their further professional development?

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The trainees, trainers and co-trainers involved in the ITE programme in Romania valued the experiences encountered during the courses and the practicum. Nevertheless, they were able to identify areas of teaching that need assistance, a need for a better organisation of the practicum, and for more interaction and better communication between tutors and trainees on the one hand, and between trainers in university and co-trainers in application schools, on the other hand. They all referred to the problems encountered when transferring the theory acquired during the courses into practice while teaching in the classroom.

The findings of this research revealed opinions on teaching, on learning to teach and on the journey of professional development. The programme became relevant for trainees understanding their strengths and weaknesses, becoming aware of professional shortcomings and understanding vocation. Most trainees gained confidence after attending the programme. However, the programme can be considered to be introducing trainees to the teaching profession, leaving a more complex preparation for teaching to later stages in the teaching career.

Reflection was considered beneficial for a better understanding of the processes involved in teaching. The research findings showed awareness of reflection on the part of trainers and co-trainers and a readiness for reflection on the part of trainees. Though, there could not be identified any organised forms of activities promoting reflection, but individual initiatives. The aim of the ITE programme is to enable trainees for professional development for further stages in their career. As it results from the research, the ITE programme in Romania is able to offer trainees an introduction to teaching, but requires more tutor

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assistance and a better organisation of its components in order to become more efficient in reaching its goal.

Chapter VI will conclude on the research findings and their implications, and it will relate them back to the informative phase of the study in order to offer a complete perspective on the phenomenon under investigation.

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. Clay P. Bedford

CHAPTER VI
Conclusions

6.1. On research findings

Data collected from the stakeholders of the training programme offered insights into their understanding of teaching and professional development in relation to the training programme. Looking at the data obtained in the informative phase of this research, Phase I (see Chapter I), and in Phase II, the research study, I believe that it is possible to see

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beyond the particular context of the training programme analysed and understand better the larger educational context in which the teacher development journey takes place (see Figure 15). Therefore I will further discuss whether the opinions of the beginner trainers and mentors on teaching and professional development in Phase I are consistent with those of the stakeholders involved in the training programme analysed in Phase II.

Figure 15: Journey of development.

TRAINEES

The training programme was perceived by trainees, trainers and co-trainers through the lens of their personal theories about teaching and learning, based on previous experiences, role model teachers, their teaching experience, their motivation and perceived efficacy (Freeman and Richards, 1996; McCaughtry, 2005; Day et al., 2007). Role models were part of all participants lives, starting with the trainers, who in turn had their own role model teachers, or were trying themselves to set positive examples. Some tried to provide positive examples to trainees. Trainees had high regard for former teachers who had a

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positive influence on their learning and whose methods were applied in their own teaching. It was the co-trainers who drew attention to the danger of following role models or prescriptive paths without adapting to the rapidly changing classroom situations and new pupils. Recommendations for ITE Teacher educators should investigate trainees personal theories before the latter start their courses as they could influence their pedagogical preparation. As all participants in the study believed that teacher knowledge was important for effective teaching, they all addressed the issue of knowledge and skills that should be promoted by the training programme. The focus was on three specific elements: pedagogical content knowledge; lesson planning; and understanding the psychology of learners of different age groups. As well as the different types of skills and knowledge, enthusiasm, a passion for the profession, backed up by a series of personal qualities such as patience, flexibility, understanding, and openness were regarded as the most important elements of a good teacher. Both trainees and trainers were satisfied with the theoretical information provided by the methodology of teaching course, although trainees and co-trainers agreed that the transition to the practicum was too abrupt, and that trainees would require more time to construct knowledge.

Intrinsically motivated trainees (Tugui, 2004) tended to be more self-critical and more discontented with different aspects of the theoretical course or the practicum, requiring more practical information, more time for discussions, a better organisation of the practicum in terms of student numbers, timing and feedback received. Overall, trainees

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perceived the course as contributing to a certain degree to their self-confidence and learning about teaching. Recommendations for ITE Trainers and co-trainers should allocate more time for discussions with trainees. More tutor guidance could be given if each tutor was allocated a smaller number of trainees. There were other recurring topics that referred to the training programme. The importance of the affective factor was emphasised by trainees, trainers, co-trainers, mentors and beginner teachers. Trainers mentioned the relevance of psychology courses before the methodology of teaching, as trainees could adapt their lessons better to the age of the pupils. Both trainees and beginner teachers found theses courses necessary but unfortunately the ones they attended were less relevant as the information provided was too general and less connected to the practice. These courses felt remote due to the gap between the time of the courses and of the practicum.

Recommendations for ITE

Pedagogical preparation should be allocated a specific period of time during

the undergraduate studies.

Pedagogical courses could be taught during the same semester so that it

could be easier for trainees to relate to different sources of input in order to improve their practice

If the practicum was integrated into the theoretical preparation period,

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trainees could observe lessons or teach and then return to the theory they are learning to ask questions and analyse practice.

Trainees would have more time to concentrate on subject related courses,

understand the input they receive, conceptualize the information and internalize it.

Co-trainers and mentors underlined the necessity of trainees or beginner teachers to be open to their pupils needs and interests, a readiness to enter their pupils worlds and establish not only teacher-pupil relationships but also human-human. This required, in their opinion, awareness of their change of status, from learner to teacher, from self-centred to pupil-centred approaches and a longer time of exposure to classroom situations.

Since the environment for practice was inauthentic, trainees observed a limited number of classes where co-trainers tried to display sequences of meaningful situations that would not necessarily happen during their daily teaching. Mentors and beginner teachers suggested a variety of teaching experiences with different age/level/ social class groups of pupils. Some of them did their practice with high school pupils and found it difficult to adapt to working with young learners when they started teaching. Others discovered that teaching pupils coming from different social environments required different approaches in the classroom.

Recommendations for ITE Trainees should spend more time in schools observing experienced teachers,

teaching or being among pupils, so that they could become more aware of their

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status as a teacher and of the characteristics and learning needs of their pupils. Lack of motivation during training or for teaching as a career was connected on the one hand to the status of teachers in todays society, and on the other hand, to the way the stages in a teaching career are organised including the exam system in particular. Mentors considered that teaching is not appealing for a lot of young teachers because what they are taught at university has a different focus from what they have to teach in the classroom. Moreover, the exams they take at different stages of their professional development have very little to do with their classroom performance. Beginner teachers confirmed that the courses they had were less related to practical issues. Co-trainers also subscribed to this opinion, while trainers being aware of the theoretical character of the courses they were teaching, stated they tried to introduce practice-related issues in their teaching.

Recommendations for ITE A better correlation between the teacher preparation and the school realities

could lead to an easier and faster integration of beginner teachers into their teaching positions in schools. As far as reflection is concerned, it represented one of the topics that all the participants addressed in the context of professional development. It was regarded as a process of enquiry and analysis with positive effects for learning to teach (Day et al., 1993) Trainers and co-trainers regarded it as personal endeavour, a habit of thinking critically about their performance, but which should also be explicit through specific strategies for triggering reflection (Hatton and Smith; 1995; Roberts 1998). All stakeholders considered reflection a

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means of improving performance, by constant analysis, revision and adaptation to the classroom situations. Trainees believed that any teacher should be able to reflect on his/her own performance and on what is happening in the classroom. They regarded reflection as part of the job requirements, in the same way as enthusiasm. One of the mentors went further stating reflection was a duty as she needed to analyse not only her teaching but also the performance of others. Trainees perceived it as unconscious action, a habit or a reflex that could be trained, in contrast with the beginner teachers who considered that reflection cannot be induced, but required careful planning and development. Trainers and co-trainers believed that reflection could be guided by means of enquiring into problematic issues, while mentors considered that they could help beginner teachers articulate their teaching, their mistakes or ways to improve so that the latter could find the appropriate solutions themselves. Recommendations for ITE Reflection should be considered as an integral part of all learning processes during pedagogical preparation as contributing to an in-depth understanding of both input and output. There could be introduction courses for reflective practice as a concept that could be applied in practice during the seminars under the form of reflective exercises. It was revealed that the theoretical course offered few opportunities for reflection due to its lecture structure and the lack of seminars that would have allowed more interaction between trainees and trainers. The opportunities increased with the practicum, where trainees valued observing the co-trainers and their peers teaching, the feedback they received and the discussions that followed their teaching practice (see Table 23 in Chapter

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V). Yet with regard to the depth of their reflections, they were limited to descriptions and dialogic analysis (Hatton and Smith, 1995). Co-trainers noted the trainees inability at that stage of development to use theoretical concepts to explain different classroom issues. This suggests the need for ongoing dialogue so that trainees are encouraged to articulate their own theory of practice, in their own language, in their own way.

Trainees who enrolled on the course had different expectations about the knowledge and skills that both the theoretical course and the practicum could provide for effective teaching (Wilson and Demetriou, 2007). The interactions with more experienced teachers (cotrainers) and their peers, their exchanges of ideas and feedback, determined a process of introspection that they considered contributed to a better understanding of their ways of learning to teach and their approach to teaching. Trainers and co-trainers also regarded their professional development as a process based on reflections on ones teaching and learning which lead to informed decision-making (Day et al., 2007).

Recommendations for ITE Seminars should be introduced to facilitate discussions with tutors or peers, practical activities etc. Different methods such as portfolios, diaries, comparisons between lesson objectives and outcomes could be introduced as assessment methods triggering reflection.

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6.2. Personal considerations and implications of the study for further research

The journey for professional development starts before becoming a trainee and evolves into a beginner teacher, becoming experienced over time. This journey is assisted by trainers, co-trainers and later on by mentors who have collectively accumulated enough experience to share with and guide others. The journey is an individual one in some respects but also a collective one at the same time. Each trainee enrols on the training programme with his/her own motivation and expectations, coming from a particular educational background, with certain school experiences that influenced his/her beliefs about teaching and professional development. All these factors affect the way the training is perceived and transferred to teaching. The support and guidance received in the first years of practice is also important for the quality of the journey teachers take in their career. The beginning can be smooth, due to constant assistance and advice, or more difficult if made in isolation.

The beginner teachers interviewed spoke about their experiences as trainees and then as novice teachers. They referred to the way the training programme assisted them with their first teaching experiences and the way the support they received during the induction period or the lack of it influenced their development as teachers and their opinions about the profession. Common patterns emerged from their own and trainees discourse, as two consecutive stages in their professional development. The way trainers, co-trainers and mentors perceived teaching in general, and the journey of development in particular, might influence the way they approached training.

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Data from the first questionnaire with trainees revealed a variety of reasons for enrolling on the course and their expectations accordingly. They considered the skills and knowledge required for teaching as well as their personal qualities including the call to the profession. As they were advancing through their modules, they stated analysing their practice and their teachers practice from a methodological point of view, considering the way theory could be applied in the classroom. It emerged from their discourse that their practice needed constant revision and improvement, permanent adaptation to new information and new classroom situations. Observations of more experienced teachers for relevant examples of practice, role models, and discussions with peers, co-trainers or critical friends became important in the context of transferring what they have been taught during the theoretical courses into their teaching. Reflection, understood as a process of thinking of certain issues for the purpose of analysis, understanding, internalising and finding solutions for better practice, became the means for development. Both mentors and co-trainers considered discussions for triggering reflection as very effective for positive change and evolution of teaching practice. They believed that trainees or beginner teachers have to find their own resources to adapt to a school environment and the teaching situations encountered, and they could be guided to reaching that stage through self-development.

THEORY Figure 16. The process of adapting to new teaching situations Question ADAPTING TO NEW INPUT New question

PRACTICE Situation New situation

New question 266 New question New situation

It was interesting to notice that discussions were the preferred tool for reflection every time trainees encountered new teaching situations. Trainees and beginner teachers found them very efficient as mentors and co-trainers were leading them by means of questions. Asking the right questions in the right order for reaching ones own conclusions represents a management strategy in dealing with change. Trainees and beginner teachers were going through a series of changes that required not only adaptation to new situations, but also understanding, acceptance and implementation into practice of new ideas, concepts or approaches to teaching.

In this context approaching change in a systematic manner becomes relevant for the outcomes envisaged for trainees and beginner teachers. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGES TO THE PROGRAMME

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There were several recommendations for changes that all stakeholders of the ITE programme made. They refer on the one hand to the methodology of teaching course and on the other hand to the practicum.

The recommendations for the methodology course referred to additional seminars to the course, more time allocated to discussions and debates and less students in the lecture hall. This tends to emphasize a need for efficient communication.

Reflection, highly regarded by all stakeholders, as a means of improvement and development, should be introduced systematically under the form of an introductory course and applied in practice during seminars and assessment periods by means of specific strategies such as reflective journals or guided questioning (see Chapter II, section 2.3). Trainers and co-trainers should benefit first of courses on reflection and reflective teaching so they could explore their own personal theories about teaching and learning to teach and explore how these influence their training practice. By using reflection in their own practice they could offer an inspiring example to their trainees.

I suggest that an introductory course and sustained practice could help trainees to identify needs, become aware of their personal theories and as a result adapt better to changes during their learning experiences along the ITE programme and later in their career. Such a method is provided by the SPIN model based on guided questioning discussed earlier in this thesis (see section 2.3). The rationale for using a systematic approach to questioning is based on the assumption that in order to embrace the pedagogical practices that trainees

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need to learn in order to become competent teachers, they have to bring their beliefs about teaching to a conscious level and accommodate them with new knowledge acquired during the training. Trainees go through a process of permanent change and adaptation to new information. By means of answering questions focused on particular issues they can articulate and examine their beliefs which may contribute to a better understanding of the phenomena involved and the solutions they seek for. Reflection processes are based on the same type of reasoning where the analysis phase that any subject goes through would comprise Awareness > Acceptance> Action.

As the research showed, all groups of participants in the study are characterised by readiness for reflection, and a systematic approach to enquiry would only facilitate in-depth reflection and lead to an autonomous learning that makes sense of the way previous beliefs interfere with new theories and that enables decision making for best teaching practice.

The recommendations for the practicum first referred to the allocation of a specific period of time at the end of the undergraduate studies for trainees that attended the theoretical courses of the psycho-pedagogical module (see Chapter I) and are motivated to enter a teaching career. Second, they focused on the application schools (see Chapter I) in terms of facilities for receiving trainees such as more space in classrooms to accommodate both pupils and observing trainees, more time and rooms allocated to co-trainers for discussions with trainees. The SPIN model of guided questions (see section 2.3) could also be applied during the practicum. Trainees and beginner teachers also required a larger exposure to

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different teaching contexts, various age groups or pupils studying in central areas or suburbs, for a more meaningful encounter with various classroom situations.

The changes suggested could be adopted within the present system without interfering with the undergraduate studies. Though, they would involve rethinking the internal organisation of the ITE programme, such as special training for the trainers and the co-trainers involved in the programme in using guided questioning or other activities promoting reflection (see section 2.3.4); and constructive alignment between the intended learning outcomes, the teaching/learning activities and the assessment tasks. I believe these changes could lead to a better time management and a more efficient allocation of resources with maximization of outcomes.

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT POLICY

This research informs the educational authorities on several issues related to ITE. The research presents the opinions of the stakeholders directly involved in and affected by the ITE programme. This suggests that any measure adopted in line with the opinions of any programme's stakeholders is very likely to be implemented with better results that topdown decisions.

The findings of the research also suggest changes in (1) the certification and (2) exam system for the teaching career.

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Separate status of the psycho-pedagogical module among the other

undergraduate studies will allow a specific kind of certification. This could also allow other graduates, from previous years, to specialize for a teaching career, at later stages in their life. The main issue emerging from the research in relation to the exam system

during the teaching career was the gap between the requirements for the theoretical assessment and what teachers need to use in the classroom. This suggests a change in curriculum for ITE programmes with a focus on the practical component of the course so that later assessment could be in line with what trainees learned.

THE ORIGINALITY OF THE RESEARCH

This research is a singular study in the Romanian context of ITE research that is concerned with the opinions of trainees, trainers and co-trainers involved in an educational programme and not data from official statistics or educational authority reports. Moreover, it puts the findings into perspective, as it also discusses the needs of beginner teachers and their mentors in relation to how an ITE programme should assist teacher learning for further development. This study comes to complement statistical research and theoretical studies on ITE programmes in Romania by introducing a human component. It presents the opinions of professionals working in the educational system and facing different educational issues.

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This research is very timely as Romania has joined European Union in 2007 and it is looking towards Europe. The reforms need to be undergone at all levels and such studies can inform the reform projects. There were several emergent themes that overlap the project proposals made to bring the Romanian educational system in line with the European requirements (see Chapter I) such as the transfer of ITE programmes to Master studies level, which could offer a separate period of time dedicated to teacher education, a smaller number of students, different type of examination and certification. At the same time there were identified other issues that need to be considered, such as those related to the content and the organisation of the ITE in relation to the needs of trainees and then beginner teachers in the first years of practice.

Reflection itself represents a novelty in the Romanian ITE research. The topic requires further exploration as the stakeholders of the ITE programme showed awareness and readiness for reflection, but they have never approached it in a systematic way as a means for professional development.

LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH

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The purpose of this research was to get insights into the opinions of the stakeholders of a Romanian ITE programme. The focus was on trainees, trainers and co-trainers, for accounts of the teaching and learning processes undertaken and the use of reflection.

The sample used was reduced (see Chapter III) in comparison with the total number of trainees attending the course (see section 4.2.2). It can also be argued that the students who dropped out may have had different characteristics and/or perceptions from those who completed the study. A part of the study was conducted during the first semester of the training. Therefore, it is possible that student teachers responses were predominantly affective in nature because they lack the insights and language to describe the characteristics in more professional terms. Besides a lack of professional knowledge, the subjects of this study also had a lack of field experience. Findings have suggested that field experiences and practice teaching may shift the attitudes of student teachers. For these reasons, conducting a longitudinal study over the course of a four year training (including the other courses in the pedagogical module) with the same students would be useful to identify whether or not their preconceived perceptions about teaching change as their knowledge and teaching experience increases. Moreover, such a longitudinal study would also help to inform an entire program not just one course.

This research did not aim at generalisation but it hypothesises that other student teachers, trainers and co-trainers within other teacher training programmes in Romania experience similar learning contexts. Similar studies should be conducted in the future within the same ITE programme or other programmes, with different samples, using the same research

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tools. Though, one should be aware of the changes in the social context over time in a developing society, in the beliefs of different individuals about teaching, in their motivation for teaching and for professional development. These could influence the findings of new studies. There could be found correlations between other studies, from other contexts in order to test results' validity. However, the focus of the present study was on the particular context of a specific ITE programme and regards its stakeholders opinions as valuable insights into the process of their professional development.

FINDINGS INFORMING THE FUTURE RESEARCH AGENDA

This research addresses fellow teachers, teachers at the beginning of their career, teachers involved in ITE and educational authorities in Romania. It is a call to bring together insights into the process of learning to teach, the role of reflection and its implications for ITE. It can be used to inform other research agendas and assist changes in ITE programmes. There were several emerging research directions that can be approached in the future in completion to the present research.

In terms of reliability and validity issues as previously discussed in this thesis, a similar study with a different sample within the same ITE programme could be conducted to compare findings. This could be complemented by a similar study in other ITE contexts for a comparison of findings. There are several higher education institutions that offer new

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programmes for teacher education that could be explored in terms of learning opportunities for professional development and reflective processes.

In terms of reflection, the issue of guided reflection could be explored further by means of question sequences. The rationale for using a systematic approach to questioning trainees is based on the assumption that in order to embrace the pedagogical practices that they need to learn in order to become competent teachers, trainees have to bring their beliefs about teaching to a conscious level and accommodate them with new knowledge acquired during the training. They go through a process of permanent change and adaptation to new information. By means of answering questions focused on particular issues they can articulate and examine their beliefs which may contribute to a better understanding of the phenomena involved and the solutions they seek for.

As the research showed, all groups of participants in the study are characterised by readiness for reflection, and a systematic approach to enquiry would only facilitate in-depth reflection and lead to an autonomous learning that makes sense of the way previous beliefs interfere with new theories and that enables decision making for best teaching practice. However, other questions in relation to whether reflection can be taught; if yes, how it can be taught or how it can be assessed, need to be also explored.

The research findings lead towards a social constructivist re-conceptualization of the ITE programme. The purpose of the new courses will be to enable trainees for teaching by means of creating meaningful contexts in which they can construct their own theories about

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teaching and develop a series of skills and knowledge for teaching. The path towards new theories is fostered by reflection promoted in an introductory course about reflective learning and teaching, in seminars dedicated to discussions, analysis and theory building, and by meaningful encounters with practical classroom issues.

In conclusion, the ITE programme needs rethinking in order to respond effectively to the needs of trainees and novice teachers in the classroom. Exploration of needs, analysis of personal theories and readiness for development could be ensured by means of reflection as a continuous driver for learning.

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APPENDIX 1 Questionnaire 1 for trainees


This questionnaire has been designed to elicit your personal views on the qualities of a professional in your field and your expectations of the methodology of English language teaching course you are going to attend this term. Please help by filling in and returning this questionnaire. The results of the questionnaire will be kept confidential. Please note that there are NO right or wrong answers in this questionnaire. Your opinions, views and experiences are valuable. Thank you for your time and cooperation. 1. What is your year of study? a. 1st year b. 2nd year c. 3rd year d. 4th year

2. What are your reasons for enrolling on this language teaching training course? ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................

305

...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 3. What qualities does a good language teacher have, in your opinion? ...................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................. 4. How do you think the course will meet your needs? ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................................... 5. Underline the type/types of knowledge you consider very important for your future professional development as a teacher. Please give reasons your choice/s. TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE REASONS FOR YOUR CHOICE Content knowledge of English as a school subject (concerning grammar, semantics etc.) Pedagogical knowledge (general principles of teaching across all school subjects) Curriculum knowledge (national curriculum, official guidelines regarding strategies and recommended methodology). Pedagogical-content knowledge (ways of teaching a English as a foreign language in schools).

306

Knowledge of psychology of different age groups of learners. Knowledge of educational contexts (characteristics of communities and cultures) Knowledge of educational purposes and values, education philosophy and history. Knowledge of English (language proficiency of individual teachers)

6. Underline the skill/skills you consider very important for your future professional development as a teacher. Give reasons for your choice/s. SKILLS Lesson planning and preparation skills. Lesson presentation skills Materials selection and material design skills Classroom management skills Testing and evaluating learning skills Personal evaluation/ reflective skills ICT skills REASONS FOR YOUR CHOICE

7. Do you have any suggestions for improving this questionnaire in order to elicit more relevant information? .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. 307

.................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................

APPENDIX 2 Questionnaire 1 for trainees (revised for 2 group)


This questionnaire has been designed to elicit your personal views on the qualities of a professional in your field and your expectations of the methodology of English language teaching course you are going to attend this term. Please help by filling in and returning this questionnaire. The results of the questionnaire will be kept confidential. Please note that there are NO right or wrong answers in this questionnaire. Your opinions, views and experiences are valuable. Thank you for your time and cooperation.
nd

1. What is your year of study?


a. 1st year b. 2nd year c. 3rd year d. 4th year

2. What are your reasons for enrolling on this language teaching training course?
...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................

308

...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................

3. What qualities does a good language teacher have, in your opinion?


...................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................................... ..................................................................................................................................

4. How do you think the course will meet your needs?


...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 5.

Rank how important you consider the following types of knowledge for your future professional development as a teacher, by using the scale from 1 to 4. Please explain your choices after each statement.

1= very important 2 = important 3 = not very important 4= unimportant

a) Content knowledge of English language (concerning grammar, semantics, linguistics, phonetics etc.)

309

b) Pedagogical knowledge (general principles of teaching across all subjects)

... c) Curriculum knowledge (national curriculum, official guidelines and programmes, including suggested methodology and activities).

d) Pedagogical-content knowledge (ways of teaching English as a foreign language e.g. how to teach grammar or vocabulary in a particular context)

e) Knowledge of psychology of different age groups of learners.

f) Knowledge of educational contexts (e.g. the interaction between learners in a particular classroom, characteristics of the communities and cultures the learners belong to).

310

g) Knowledge of educational aims and values (in general and at national level).

h) Knowledge of philosophy and history of Education

i) Knowledge of English (language proficiency of individual teachers)

6.

Rank how important you consider the following types of skills for your future professional development as a teacher, by using the scale from 1 to 4. Please explain your choices after each statement.

1= very important 2 = important 3 = not very important

311

4= unimportant a) Lesson planning and preparation skills

b) Lesson presentation skills

c) Selection and design of materials and sources skills

d) Classroom management skills

e) Testing and evaluating learning skills

f) Personal evaluation/ reflective skills

312

g) ICT skills (e.g. computer skills, wide web search skills)

7. Do you have any suggestions for improving this questionnaire in order to elicit more relevant information?
.................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................

APPENDIX 3 Name: Questionnaire 2 for trainee students


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This questionnaire is to be filled in at the end of the methodology of language teaching course. It has been designed to elicit your personal views on the course you have attended for a semester. Please help by filling in and returning this questionnaire. The results of the questionnaire will be kept confidential. Please note that your opinions, views and experiences are valuable and that there are no right or wrong answers in this questionnaire. Thank you for your time and cooperation. You can contact me at: ttxcmt@nottingham.ac.uk or phone: 0722458047

1. State the degree to which you agree to the following statements by using the scale from 1 to 4. Please explain your choices after each statement.
1= I strongly agree 2 = I agree 3 = I disagree 4= I strongly disagree

The course promotes/facilitates the acquisition of:


a. Content knowledge of English language (concerning grammar, semantics, linguistics, phonetics etc.)

b. Pedagogical knowledge (general principles of teaching across all subjects)

...

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c. Curriculum knowledge (national curriculum, official guidelines and programmes, including suggested methodology and activities).

d. Pedagogical-content knowledge (ways of teaching English as a foreign language e.g. how to teach grammar or vocabulary in a particular context)

e. Knowledge of psychology of different age groups of learners.

f. Knowledge of educational contexts (e.g. the interaction between learners in a particular classroom, characteristics of the communities and cultures the learners belong to).

g. Knowledge of educational aims and values (in general and at national level).

h. Knowledge of philosophy and history of Education

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i. Lesson planning and preparation skills

j. Lesson presentation skills

k. Selection and design of materials and sources skills

l. Classroom management skills

m. Testing and evaluating learning skills

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n. Personal evaluation/ reflective skills

o. ICT skills (e.g. computer skills, wide web search skills)

2. How useful do you think that the theoretical information you received during the course will be for your teaching practice in the classroom next semester?
i. Very useful ii. Useful iii. Not very useful iv. I dont know

3. Give three reasons for your choice at question no.2.


a. .......................................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................... b. .......................................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................... c. .......................................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................

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4. Circle the teaching and/or learning processes in which you have been

involved during the methodology of teaching English course:


a. Observation of a peer, supervisor, classroom teacher (you observed a fellow student or an experienced teacher in the classroom) b. Observation by a peer, supervisor, classroom teacher (you taught a lesson while observed) c. Discussions with the course tutor/ classroom teacher (observation was followed by discussion) d. Peer group discussions (during courses discussions on a specific topic) e. Discussions in larger groups on teaching/ teaching experience. f. Critical friend/s: critical and productive conversations with a friend, colleague, family member etc concerning teaching performance and experience.

g. Lesson planning and report: structured list of events planned and taught in the classroom h. Microteaching: short teaching sessions usually focused on one problem. i. j. Reflective writing (diary, essay): regular records of learning and teaching experiences. Cassette/video recording of a lesson for analysis purposes

k. Questionnaire: survey of a target group on a particular issue.

5. When did you experience the activities you selected in question no.4?

a. During lectures b. During seminars

6. Go through the list of activities in number 4 again. For each one decide

how often you experienced this activity and place the letter in the grid.
Example: often a,d,f

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Frequency of experience Very often Often Rarely Never

Letters of the activities as listed in question 4

6. Reflection can be defined as a process of ongoing exploration and enquiry about ones experiences, about the choices made, about the reasons behind ones actions, about the information received, about the knowledge and the skills acquired, about the organization of activities in the classroom, about the use of techniques and materials, etc.

Starting from that definition, how often can you say you reflect on your learning experiences while/after attending the course?
a. Very often b. Often c. Rarely d. Very rarely e. Never

7. What is/was the focus of your reflection? Give examples.


8. Give examples of situations when you reflect/have reflected on your learning experiences while/after attending the course.

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9. Where do you reflect on your learning experiences?


10. What is the use of reflection for you?


APPENDIX 4 Name: Questionnaire 3 for trainee students


This questionnaire is to be filled in at the end of the pedagogical practice component of your training. It has been designed to elicit your personal views on the experiences you had while teaching in the classroom. Please help by filling in and returning this questionnaire. The results of the questionnaire will be kept confidential. Please note that your opinions, views and experiences are valuable and that there are no right or wrong answers in this questionnaire. Thank you for your time and cooperation. 1. Circle the teaching and/or learning processes in which you have been involved during the methodology of teaching English course in

semester I:
a. Observation of a peer, supervisor, classroom teacher (you observed a fellow student or an experienced teacher in the classroom) b. Observation by a peer, supervisor, classroom teacher (you taught a lesson while observed) c. Discussions with the course tutor/ classroom teacher (observation was followed by discussion) d. Peer group discussions (during courses discussions on a specific topic)

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e. Discussions in larger groups on teaching/ teaching experience. f. Critical friend/s: critical and productive conversations with a friend, colleague, family member etc concerning teaching performance and experience.

g. Lesson planning and report: structured list of events planned and taught in the classroom h. Microteaching: short teaching sessions usually focused on one problem. i. j. Reflective writing (diary, essay): regular records of learning and teaching experiences. Cassette/video recording of a lesson for analysis purposes

k. Questionnaire: survey of a target group on a particular issue.

2. Which of the processes you selected at question no. 1 did you find most useful for your teaching practice in the classroom and why? 3. By using the numbering from question no.1, mention which were the processes in which you have been involved during the pedagogical prac-

tice sessions in semester II:


.............................................................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................... 4. Comment on the way the teaching and/or learning processes you mentioned at question no. 3 have influenced (positively or negatively) your performance during the teaching practice sessions: 5. Reflection can be defined as a process of ongoing exploration and enquiry about ones experiences, about the choices made, about the reasons behind ones actions, about the information received, about the knowledge and the 321

skills acquired, about the organization of activities in the classroom, about the use of techniques and materials, etc. Starting from that definition, how often can you say you reflect on your teaching experiences while/after the pedagogical practice sessions? a. Very often b. Often c. Rarely d. Very rarely

6. What was the focus of your reflection during or after the pedagogical practice sessions (when observing and teaching yourself)? Give examples. Give examples of situations when you have reflected on your learning experiences while/after attending the pedagogical practice sessions. 8. Where/when do you reflect on your learning experiences? 9. What is the use of reflection for you? 10. Taking into account your learning experiences as a pupil, a student and then as a trainee during the methodology course and pedagogical practice, think about: a. A teacher you learned well with. 7.

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b. A teacher you didnt learn well with c. Your present self as a teacher during the teaching practice d. Your ideal self as a teacher In the table below you have a set of characteristics: i. Tick () the boxes for the characteristics that the four individuals you thought about have in common. ii. Cross (x) the boxes for the characteristics that the four individuals you thought about do not have in common. EXAMPLE: Characteristics Quiet Characteristics Quiet Patient Open Sociable Understanding Creative Independent Enthusiastic Superficial Unmotivated Doesnt listen Strict Class manager Fluent Explicit Well informed in general Scholar*
* scholar = a person who knows a lot about a particular subject, in this case English language

A teacher you learned well with A teacher you learned well with

A teacher you didnt learn well with x A teacher you didnt learn well with

Your present self as a teacher x Your present self as a teacher

Your ideal self as a teacher Your ideal self as a teacher

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APPENDIX 5 Interview protocol for beginner teachers


1. What types of knowledge and skills do you consider important for the future development of teachers? 2. What methods from the following list do you consider useful for improving the teaching and learning of teachers? a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. Observation of colleague or more experienced teacher Observation by colleague or more experienced teacher Discussions with a mentor or a colleague Discussions in larger groups on teaching/ teaching experience. Critical and productive conversations with a friend, colleague, family member etc concerning teaching performance and experience. Lesson planning and reports Reflective writings (diaries, essays) Cassette/video recording of a lesson for analysis purposes Attending in-service courses

3. Could you comment from the perspective of the beginner teacher on the way the preservice training courses at university you attended responded to your present needs? 4. Which areas of your teaching do you consider need further improvement and how do you plan to achieve professional development?

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5. Could you give examples of what you focus on and what you do when you think about your teaching performance? 6. Do you consider important that teachers develop reflective skills? Can you justify your answer? 7. Do you reflect on your teaching experiences or performance? What factors motivate you to reflect? 8. Do you use any methods, such as diaries, discussion with friends, colleagues, mentors etc. to assist your reflection on your own teaching? 9. What do you consider is the use / usefulness of these personal reflections on teaching experiences or performance?

10. Are you familiar with the terms reflective teaching and reflective learning? If yes, could you comment on your understanding and use of them?

APPENDIX 6 Interview protocol for mentors


1. Could you describe your role, responsibilities and experience as tutor in this school? 2. Have these responsibilities changed over time since you started working supervising beginner teachers? If yes, in which way? 3. Could you describe the situations you deal with during the induction period? 4. What do you think are the reasons for encountering these situations? 5. How do you assist the beginner teachers in their first year? 6. Are you familiar with the terms reflective teaching and reflective learning? If yes, could you comment on your understanding and use of them? 7. What types of knowledge and skills do you consider important for the future development of beginner teachers? 8. Do you think it is important that teachers develop reflective skills? If yes, how do you foster the development of reflective skills when working with beginner teachers? If not, why? 9. How would you evaluate the beginner teachers practice/performance in terms of being reflective?

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10. What methods do you consider useful for improving the teaching and learning of beginner teachers? a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. Observation of colleague or more experienced teacher Observation by colleague or more experienced teacher Discussions with a mentor or a colleague Discussions in larger groups on teaching/ teaching experience. Critical and productive conversations with a friend, colleague, family member etc concerning teaching performance and experience. Lesson planning and reports Reflective writings (diaries, essays) Cassette/video recording of a lesson for analysis purposes Attending in-service courses

11. Do you have any suggestions or comments for TE concerning reflection and related issues for the future?

APPENDIX 7 Interview with trainee students


1. Do you think about your learning to teach experiences or performance? What do you consider that determines your personal reflection on these issues? 2. Could you give examples of what you focus on when you think about your learning to teach process and your teaching practice performance? 3. Do you use any methods, such as diaries, discussion with friends, course mates, tutors etc. to assist your reflection of your own learning and teaching practice? 4. What is the use of reflecting on your learning and teaching practice? Do you consider important that you, as future teachers, develop reflective skills? Can you justify your answer?

5. Do you think that the courses you are attending encourage you to become more reflective on your own learning and teaching practice? Justify your answer. 6. Do you consider there is something that would need to be done differently in order to respond to your needs? If yes, please justify your answer. 7. Are you familiar with the terms reflective teaching and reflective learning? If yes, could you comment on your understanding and use of them?

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NB: clarifications of data from questionnaires required personalized questions for each trainee.

APPENDIX 8 Interview protocol for teacher trainers/course managers


Part 1 1. Could you describe your role, responsibilities and experience in the training programme? 2. Have these responsibilities changed over time since you started working in this field? If yes, in which way? 3. What do you think influences a trainer to change? 4. As a trainer, do you think about your past and future teaching experiences or performance? Could you give some examples? 5. What do you consider that determines you to think about your teaching experiences or performance? 6. Where do you think about your teaching experiences or performance? 7. What do you consider is the use / usefulness of these personal reflections on your past or future teaching experiences or performance? Part 2 (as a possible follow-up in a second interview)

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8. Do you use any methods to assist your reflection on your teaching, such as diaries, lesson observation by a colleague, discussions with colleagues, lesson planning and reports etc.? 9. Do you advise your trainees to use the same methods? Why? 10. What research methods from the following list do you consider useful for improving the teaching and learning of your trainees? Why? a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) j) k) Observation of a peer, supervisor, classroom teacher Observation by a peer, supervisor, classroom teacher Discussions with the course tutor/ classroom teacher Peer group discussions (during courses discussions on a specific topic) Discussions in larger groups on teaching/ teaching experience. Critical friend/s: critical and productive conversations with a friend, colleague, family member etc concerning teaching performance and experience. Lesson planning and report Microteaching: short teaching sessions usually focused on one problem. Reflective writings (diaries, essays) Cassette/video recording of a lesson for analysis purposes Questionnaire on a particular issue.

11. What types of knowledge and skills do you consider important for the future development of your trainees? 12. Do you consider important that your trainees develop reflective skills? If yes, how do you foster the development of reflective skills? If not, why? 13. How would you evaluate your teaching in terms of being reflective? 14. Are there activities that promote reflectivity on learning and teaching practice integrated in your course? Could you give examples? 15. Do you have any suggestions or comments for TE concerning reflection and related issues for the future?

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APPENDIX 9 Interview protocol for co-trainers


1. Could you describe your role, responsibilities and experience as a mentor? 2. Have these responsibilities changed over time since you started supervising the teaching practice? If yes, in which way? 3. Could you describe the situations you deal with during the teaching practice period? 4. What do you think are the reasons for encountering these situations? Do you have any suggestions for how to overcome them? 5. What types of knowledge and skills do you consider important for the future development of beginner teachers? (see the appendix) 6. What methods do you consider useful for improving the teaching and learning of beginner teachers? Which ones are you using? 7. Observation of colleague or more experienced teacher 8. Observation by colleague or more experienced teacher 9. Discussions with a mentor or a colleague 10. Discussions in larger groups on teaching/ teaching experience. 11. Critical and productive conversations with a friend, colleague, family member etc concerning teaching performance and experience. 12. Lesson planning and reports 13. Reflective writings (diaries, essays) 329

14. Cassette/video recording of a lesson for analysis purposes 15. Attending in-service courses 16. As a mentor and a teacher, do you think about your past and future experiences or performance? Could you give some examples? 17. What do you consider is the use / usefulness of these personal reflections on your past or future experiences or performance? 18. Do you use any methods to assist your reflection on your teaching, such as diaries, lesson observation by a colleague, discussions with colleagues, lesson planning and reports etc.? 19. Do you advise your trainees to use the same methods? Why? 20. Do you think it is important that trainees develop reflective skills? If yes, how do you foster the development of reflective skills when working with trainees? If not, why? 21. How would you evaluate the trainees practice/performance in terms of being reflective? 22. Are you familiar with the terms reflective teaching and reflective learning? If yes, could you comment on your understanding and use of them? 23. Do you have any suggestions or comments for TE concerning reflection and related issues for the future?

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APPENDIX 10 Data from trainees


Table 1. Emerging themes from 1st questionnaire before starting the course.
1. Entering the teaching profession Classroom management Community of practice Induction period Poor resources Lack of confidence Paperwork load Methodology course General character Abrupt transition to practice 2. Practicum Organisation Relevance 1. Talent 2. Professional skills and knowledge 1. Instinctive process of critical analysis 2. Improvement of performance 3. Training reflection 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 1.

2. The training gramme

pro-

3. Teaching and professional development 4. Reflection

Table 2. Emerging themes from 2nd questionnaire after attending the theoretical module.
1. Types of knowledge and skills promoted Lesson planning and preparation skills Lesson presentation skills

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2. Focus of reflection

3. Opportunities for reflection of

4. The reflection

results

Material design and selection skills Classroom management skills Personal evaluation/reflective skills Testing and evaluating learning skills Pedagogical knowledge Pedagogical content knowledge Knowledge of educational aims and values Knowledge of psychology of different age groups Curriculum knowledge Knowledge of educational contexts past experiences as students understanding vocation and the skills and knowledge involved, the information received and the way it can be applied into practice continuing education overcoming the difficulties of being a good teacher or the administrative issues related to teaching. peer group discussions on a specific topic discussions in larger groups on teaching/ teaching experience. critical and productive conversations with a friend, colleague, family member etc concerning teaching performance and experience. Understand complexity of teaching Raise awareness of the week points Finding ways to improve Understand the others actions Adapt to different teaching contexts

Table 3. Emerging issues from 3rd questionnaire after attending the practicum.
1. Activities useful for the practicum Observation of a peer/classroom teacher Discussions with co-trainer Lesson planning Reach objectives Follow positive examples Understand lesson plan stages Find solutions to classroom issues Self-discover/get more confidence Take action Understand teaching decisions Efficiency of different activities Driving motivation Teacher-pupil relationship Their performance in the classroom Previous classroom experiences in comparison with the present ones

2. Ways activities influenced practice

3. Focus of reflection

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4. Opportunities for reflection

5. The results of reflection

6. Concerns about present self as teacher

Decision making about becoming a teacher Observing co-trainers and peers teaching Critical Discussions with co-trainers Lesson planning Identify week points and ways to improve Awareness of what good practice involved Understand the other teachers Understand better the students Change opinion about different teaching issues Not creative enough Not patient enough Not enthusiastic enough Not a class manager Not a scholar

Table 4. Emerging themes from interviews at the end of the module.


1. Practicum Course influence practice positively Co-trainers contribution Lack of organisation Organisation of the modules Organisation of practicum Delivery of theory and the teaching practice Attitudes that changed Attitudes that didnt change Advice Personal strategies Advice or models Innate qualities Role models Negative examples Personal strategies for development

2. Things to improve about training 3. Training influence on attitude towards teaching 4. Classroom management issues 5. Lesson planning 6. Using personal experience or role models 7. Self-development issues

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APPENDIX 11 Data from co-trainers

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335

336

337

338

339

340

341

Table 1. Emerging themes from interviews

Role and responsibilities

Situations encountered

The organisation of the practicum

Reflection

Promoting reflection

Coordinating Guiding Training motivating convincing trainees to take on teaching Lack of motivation from trainees Trainees ability to adapt to changes Better theoretical preparation before practicum Knowledge of psychology required Longer period required real setting training Large number of students Schedule accommodation Transition from theory too abrupt High anxiety Contributing to improvement Self-understanding Trainees willing to reflect but not able for in depth reflection. By means of questions, discussions

APPENDIX 12 Data from co-trainers

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Table 1. Emerging themes from interviews Responsibilities

to provide the theoretical background re-

The methodology of teaching course

Professional development

Reflection

Suggestions for improvement

garding the teaching techniques and problems at a practical level to convince trainees to take teaching into consideration for a career no involvement with the practicum subject to changes according to trainees needs and expectations lack of resources by means of observations of and by a peer or more experienced teacher, of discussions with a course tutor or a peer, lesson planning and questionnaires on particular issues pedagogical knowledge, pedagogicalcontent knowledge, curriculum knowledge and knowledge of psychology. lesson planning and preparation skills enabled teaching natural and/or deliberate when comparing the rationale to the report of their lessons diaries need to be taught and have time for writing by means of discussions not part of the course priorities More time allocated Coordination, supervision guidance for trainees Assessment focused on practice

APPENDIX 13 Post Observation Report


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Fill in the table below after you have observed the lesson taught by an experienced teacher/ one of your course mates/ yourself. Express your opinions and thoughts related to the issues mentioned below. Answer the following questions when referring to points in the table below:
1. What were the positive and/or the negative aspects of todays lesson? 2. What did I learn? 3. What could I use in my own teaching? YOUR REFLECTIONS Lesson structure (e.g. stages)

Classroom interaction (teacherstudents; studentsstudents)

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Choice of activities

Classroom management (e.g. time; group/pair work)

Feedback/ assessment

Other interesting issues

APPENDIX 14
Name:.........................................

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Contact telephone number/email: ......................................................... .........................................................

Participant Information Sheet (mentors/co-trainers)


Research study title: Insights into the organization of ITE programmes in Romania Purpose of the study: The study will attempt to provide insights into beliefs and perceptions of trainees, trainers, school co-trainers, beginner teachers and school mentors about the opportunities of reflection on teaching and learning processes that the ITE programmes offer. Participating in the study: Different research tools will be used with different participants accepting the invitation to take part in this study according to the aims of the study. Participants will be offered the possibility to discuss and negotiate the dates for meetings according to personal schedules. The research study itself can be considered an opportunity for reflection on teaching and learning processes from which all participants could benefit. Mentors/co-trainers will be asked to participate in an interview. The interview will be recorded and transcribed. Confidentiality: Data collected in this study will be kept confidential. No participant will be mentioned by name in any written or oral presentation of the findings. Pseudonyms will be used. Any information they consider that might jeopardize confidentiality will be deleted. Data generated by the research will be kept securely at my residence. No-one other than me, my supervisor and the participants (if they require) will have access to the data collected. All measures will be taken to assure confidentiality and privacy. Participants may voluntary withdraw from the study if they wish. Contact Information: If you have any specific questions about the study or the procedures you may contact me, Camelia Tugui, at 0722458047 or ttxcmt@nottingham.ac.uk, my supervisor, Dr. Do Coyle at do.coyle@nottingham.ac.uk, or The Research Ethics Coordinator, Dr. Andrew Hobson at andrew.hobson@nottingham.ac.uk.

APPENDIX 15

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Name:......................................... Contact telephone number/email: ......................................................... .........................................................

Participant Information Sheet (trainees)


Research study title: Insights into the organization of ITE programmes in Romania Purpose of the study: The study will attempt to provide insights into beliefs and perceptions of trainees, trainers, school co-trainers, beginner teachers and school mentors about the opportunities of reflection on teaching and learning processes that the ITE programmes offer. Participating in the study: Different research tools will be used with different participants accepting the invitation to take part in this study according to the aims of the study. Participants will be offered the possibility to discuss and negotiate the dates for meetings according to personal schedules. The research study itself can be considered an opportunity for reflection on teaching and learning processes from which all participants could benefit. Trainees will be asked to fill in a questionnaire at the beginning and at the end of their course. A certain number of trainees will be invited to participate to interviews, case studies and stimulated recall sessions. The selection process aims for a variety of stands. Confidentiality: Data collected in this study will be kept confidential. No participant will be mentioned by name in any written or oral presentation of the findings. Pseudonyms will be used. Any information they consider that might jeopardize confidentiality will be deleted. Data generated by the research will be kept securely at my residence. No-one other than me, my supervisor and the participants (if they require) will have access to the data collected. All measures will be taken to assure confidentiality and privacy. Participants may voluntary withdraw from the study if they wish. Contact Information: If you have any specific questions about the study or the procedures you may contact me, Camelia Tugui, at 0722458047 or ttxcmt@nottingham.ac.uk, my supervisor, Dr. Do Coyle at do.coyle@nottingham.ac.uk, or The Research Ethics Coordinator, Dr. Andrew Hobson at andrew.hobson@nottingham.ac.uk.

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APPENDIX 16 Participant Consent Form

Project title: Insights into professional development and reflective processes in ITE programmes in Romania. Researchers name: Camelia Tugui Supervisors name: Dr. Do Coyle I have read the Participant Information Sheet and the nature and purpose of the research project has been explained to me. I understand and agree to take part. I understand the purpose of the research project and my involvement in it.

I understand that I may withdraw from the research project at any stage and that this will not affect my status now or in the future. I understand that while information gained during the study may be published, I will not be identified and my personal results will remain confidential. I understand that I will be audio taped during the interviews and observations.

I understand that data will be stored at the researchers residence and only the researcher, her supervisors will have access to the data collected. I understand that I may contact the researcher or supervisor if I require further information about the research, and that I may contact the Research Ethics Coordinator of the School of Education, University of Nottingham, if I wish to make a complaint relating to my involvement in the research. Signed ............................................................................ Print name ..................................................................... Date Contact details Researcher: ttxcmt@nottingham.ac.uk or phone: 0722458047 Supervisor: Do.Coyle@nottingham.ac.uk School of Education Research Ethics Coordinator: andrew.hobson@nottingham.ac.uk

APPENDIX 17 Interview transcripts- Extract from Interview with Trainer 2


Trainer: B; Researcher: A
A: Do you have some motifs or some facts that determined you to reflect on your teaching and on your experiences or do you have a place where you start thinking about, something that motivates you ? B: Im not really sure are all the same. If there is a certain place, where I reflect? A: For example, my favourite place is like a place in the house and I always think about it when I start preparing my lessons. B: Usually, when Im reflecting upon my activities during the lessons is happens on the train or on the ... because theres no other places. Theres many things for me to do, many, many things so I have no time for reflections, any kind, so, the spare time that I have is devoted to preparing my lessons. A: And how your students think that your reflections are all right, this moments that you dedicate to thinking about what you gained during the lessons, what your students reaction, so on. For a teacher in general, not only for a trainer. B: There are creepy, motivated themselves. I mean, you start thinking, what happened during the last lecture, how certain students reacted to certain activities or what ever. This is what was suppose to happen on the improvement on your work but is doesnt necessarily happens so.. A: You mentioned... B: And is conflicted Im thinking at it because I cant help it, is not something that I plan. A: So in a way, in your nature. I was wondered if you see these reflections within methods or are you using, I dont know, diaries or lesson plans? B: Lessons plans no. I used to during my firsts years. I do it now but in a very informal way, abbreviated and informal, but I dont keep diaries, I dont have time for that. Maybe if I had, Id keep diaries, but I dont have time for that. A: What about discuses with some colleagues of yours that are teaching the same course or type of course? B: Well no, that wont happen, not often in many way. The most discussions that I have are those in my mother, from all teachers, well, from the secondary school teacher, that I find her experience really valuable actually. There is no such big difference between, I dont know 5 graders and first year students. A: Its the same thing that I did, my mother help most when I have my experience on this. Than, do you advice your students, the trainees that you have to use any methods cause Im not so sure at this age there are requires to reflection. B: Yes, requires to reflection there may be but I dont know if they like to spend time reflecting on their experience or what they have been thought or, maybe they, I mean ,I have to mention ... and other methods because this is what methodology teach it us .So, I do mention during the lecture. So the second semester when they suppose to engage in the practical part of this, but Im not A: Im sure you give them some advice for the second part of course when they have to.. B: Yes, I do. Because they are scare to death that the practical part is coming closer so I do give them advice. A: And could you give me some examples of like what are the main issues? B: The main issue, the very thing that there are scare about is they need to cope with the whole list of responsibilities as teaching their own lessons by themselves and they are really scared of the future students and stuff like that. Their lack of confidence as simple as that. What Im trying to remember to fell that they are self convince. A: And you, do you show them what they are going to see there, like what to expect? B: What to expect? I cant show what to expect, I mean, their own expectations. Im not really sure I understand what you mean. A: If you give them any information about whats going to happen during the practice and how they should deal with that, some information on how to cope with all this? B: Yes, I do, I do. I tell them what is going to happen and basically was going to happen is for those attend to 10 lectures and then teach and I tell them they can choose their high school or what ever, secondary school, but then its the teachers duty, the mentors job to explain everything to them. A: Ok, so they are taking over?

Extract from Interview with Beginner Teacher 5 Beginner Teacher: B; Researcher: A


A: Ok! Now its something related to the courses you attended during your psycho-pedagogical module at University. I just wanted to ask you if the perspective of you teaching last year, so that was your first year when you entered the profession, how did the course help you enter the class room and teach? What skills and knowledge you had than? What you felt you needed more? B: of questions! A: HowBasically how well prepared do you think you were after that course, when you started teaching? B: Not much! A: Not much! Ok! Why do you say that? What problems did you encountered that made you say that? B: The problem was the number of pages. At the University courses was about teaching all children and not much a course/of course. During the formation, nothing specific. A: Most/First of all a more general, theoretical information than entering into details?! B: Yes! A: Ok! And how did you manage? You already told me about the courses, the text books you used and that was your help and than you started using your talent to build up on. B: I think so, my talent! Im born to be a teacher. No! During my University years I prepared myself for teaching now with my brother. I told him what I liked to be a teacher; it was like a game between us and I liked it. A: And you were teaching him English? B: Yes! A: Ok! So that wasDid you have like a model or did you adopt somebody elses methods, Im thinking some of your teachers, your previous teachers in school or? B: ..teacher in school, I dont have good memories about them, I dont want to tell you. A: Ok! B: Only two teachers in high school were models for me. One in 9th grade, she was very kind and paid attention to our problems and explained the lesson in such a way that everyone understand and I remember shed make a circle with our desks and each of you had to tell something, nobody left the room until she spoke. A: Ok! B: This was the teacher I learned from. And the second one in 11th grade, she was kind and she explained the lesson well. A: Do you think these two teachers that you admired had any influence on the way youre teaching now? B: Yes! A: So, basically even if you didnt have much help from the course or anybody else after you started teaching, you had those in the back of your mind? B: Yes! A: Ok! Thats interesting! I think all of us do that. B: I had a model .him or shetotally. A: I do the same. Every time I teach something or I am in a situation I dont know what to do, I just go back to a model Ive seen and than I apply that until I figure out if I can use something different or not. So, its like a choice for me, in a way, I can have. Which arias of your teaching do you consider need further improvement? If you consider you need to improve something about your teaching? I havent seen you teaching, so I cant tell you anything, but Im sure you have some opinions about your own teaching. B: I thinkMy God! A: Dont worry! No, no! So, you said you adapt every time. But when you had classes and you felt something wasnt as good as you wanted to be, was there a specific issue? Its like Im not so good at teaching grammar or a specific subject. B: I love teaching grammar and this was a problem. I love teaching grammar and my big

problem was and it still is, the problem that exists now is to speak English. At school we are taught automatically, like a robot: you put this here, put that at the end of the verb, but we dont practice speaking. A: So, you had to exercise. B: solve the exercises very easy, easier, but speak its more difficult and when I was at school I tried to speak with my student a lot. Sometimes it was, sometimes not. I think this is the problem: talking. A: Talking! And how do you think you can solve this problem? B: Also talking! A: Talking to whom? B: A person who knows English, person who are at the beginning of their studies because you can correct their mistakes and deal with them and help them, of course, more experienced teachers. A: So, anybody that can speak English and makes you speak and be fluent. B: Yes! Its the main problem I have. A: Do you have like an action plan you are thinking to follow just to get rid of this problem, I mean in real terms. Have you thought about this, like how are you going to do it. B: For the beginning I started talking to myself alone, talking in the mirror and I took a subject to talk about, talk about fashion, talk about weather or something. A: Ok! Talking to yourself in the mirror. B: Talking to myself, hearing, watching at me, but its not enough; you have, you need someone to talk, a real person to talk to. A: If you could give me some examples of what you focus on and what do you do when you think about your teaching performance. Like, when you think about the classes you have to teach, what do you focus on? Like, I like the way I think or I like the way this activity is and Im going to repeat it. I just need some examples of topics of reflection, if you want to call them like that. B: Ok! A: Take this week in mind. You have, you had already two classes with the kids here, right? B: Yes! A: Have you thought about what you were doing for them? B: We are preparing for the big activity and we are learning carols Oh, Christmas tree! Oh, Christmas tree!and anotherIt was a game, but it had instructive purpose. A: And usually when you teach something, do you think about it afterwards? B: Yes! What was good, what I forgot to do, what did I have to add and I didnt and many problems. A: And what do you usually do when you think about this? For example: do you write it down or do you make notes? B: I write it down and at the end of the week I look on the paper and I see. If I have to remember next time, not to forget, or this I did last time or something like that. I note this down. A: So, you review up to several lessons at the end of the week, not every lesson. Ok! Because we are talking about this thinking on your own teaching, do you think it is important for teachers to, lets say, develop skills like reflective skills or should somebody teach them that they need to be reflective and they need to think about something? B: You need someone to tell you how to reflect, to teach you how, but in case you dont have anybody to tell you about it, you learn from mistakes, I think. It happened to me, walking on my way home I start remember how was my day and oh, I forgot to do this or Oh, I did wrong here, I have to change it. You think about, you reflect about it. A: You just mentioned that you would need somebody to teach you how to reflect, how could somebody do that? B: You need examples; this is the best way to learn something, through examples.