n Africa Education Review - Hear our voices : student teachers' experiences during practical teaching




Practical teaching forms an integral part of teacher training. Teacher education programmes at the University of South Africa (Unisa) are no exception. However, there are two sides to this coin. On the one side, research studies led to the conclusion that teaching practice is a valued and a very necessary part of teacher education for students to become competent teachers. On the other side, it was also concluded that teaching practice was less than satisfactory because of deficiencies in the quality of supervisor teachers and in the application of theory in practice. Given the critical importance of practical teacher education, there has been a concern among lecturers at Unisa about how student teachers experience their teaching practice periods. A survey based on two unstructured questions and open-ended semistructured questions as a data collection instrument was undertaken with a sample population of third-year teacher training students to determine the negative and positive experiences of student teachers during their teaching practice. It was evident from the findings that the most outstanding positive experience of the student teachers concerned was the support system offered to them by the supervisor teacher. Negative experiences included exposure to bad discipline in the classrooms and the enlistment of students as cover teachers, thus precluding the presentation of lessons as planned. These findings compelled the researchers to prepare students during their training more thoroughly for what they might experience while doing their teaching practice.


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