National Institute of Education (SINGAPORE)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 4697-4704
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Literature has shown that teachers’ perceptions and beliefs represent an important concept held by individuals who enter the teaching profession (Murphy, Delli & Edwards, 2004). This concept is complex in nature yet it forms a critical construct in teacher education. The importance of teacher perceptions and beliefs within teacher education rests with the constructivist’s conception of learning; that beliefs are thought of as critical in terms of the education programme. Furthermore, a growing body of research suggests that not only must teacher educators address issues of course structure, content and articulation in improving teacher education, they must also take into account the beliefs, attitudes, expectations and perceptions that pre-service teachers bring with them prior to the teacher education programmes and how they develop during their initial years as a beginning teacher.

This paper reports part of the results of a longitudinal study obtained from July 2005 cohort of the one-year post-graduate diploma in education (PGDE) programme, an initial teacher education programme, offered at the National Institute of Education (NIE), the sole teacher preparation institute in Singapore. The purpose of this paper is to examine the changes, if any, in the PGDE student teachers’ perceptions and beliefs about teaching as they progressed from initial teacher preparation (ITP) into their first year of teaching as beginning teachers. It seeks to gain an understanding of the graduating teachers’ perception of how they feel about teaching prior to starting their teaching career. Three key time points of data collection were at entry (T1) and exit (T2) points of the programme through to the end of their first year of teaching (T3).

The first part of the analysis explored the validity and reliability of the factor structure of participants’ perceptions of teaching across the three time-points. An Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was performed to establish the factor structure for the survey responses at time point 1. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was performed to validate the structure, which clustered into five factors: Orientation towards Students, Benefits and Stability of the Teaching Career, Teaching as a Career Choice, Orientation to Self and Professional Recognition of Teaching as a Career. The second part of the analysis examined the changes in perception and beliefs between the three time-points.

The CFA model fit indices showed that participants perceived the items in a similar structure throughout the three different occasions. Two factors, Orientation towards Students and Orientation to Self maintained a high mean score of above 3.50. Repeated measures ANOVA showed that there were significant differences in the five factors from the beginning of their initial teacher preparation programme to the end of their first year of teaching. The implications of the findings are discussed in terms of how initial teacher preparation programmes can be enhanced and key areas of focus for beginning teacher induction programmes.

Murphy, P. K., Delli, L. A., & Edwards, M. N. (2004). The good teacher and good teaching:
Comparing beliefs of second-grade students, preservice teachers, and inservice teachers.
The Journal of Exceptional Education, 72(2), 69-92.