About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4620-4625
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2016

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain


L. de Jager, B. Fraser, R. Fereirra

University of Pretoria (SOUTH AFRICA)
Through teacher education programmes, student-teachers not only acquire essential knowledge bases (i.e. knowledge of assessment, pedagogy, content, curriculum, and of students), but also construct a sense of themselves, their identity, as professional teachers (Lanas & Kelchermans, 2015; Loughran, 2014). Constructing a sense of self is generally regarded as a complex, multidimensional, dynamic and contextualised process (Chang et al, 2016; Chong et al, 2011). While the construct of “identity” has been termed in a variety of ways, there seems to be consensus that “professional identity” includes a number of identifying features, namely that it is an ongoing process of interpretation and re-interpretation of experiences; that it implies interactions between person and context; that sub-identities may be formed; as well as the centrality of agency (meaning student-teachers’ active role in the professional development process) (Avraamidou, 2014).

In this paper we report on a study where student teachers’ views were investigated regarding the characteristics and roles of effective teachers. We followed a Participatory Reflection and Action (PRA) approach, a type of Participatory Action Research (PAR), which seeks to understand and improve the practices of the participants, through cyclic series of participation, self-reflection and action (Baum, MacDougall, & Smith, 2006). The sample comprised seven hundred and thirteen (n=713) students, comprising of 563 (79%) females and 150 (21%) males, all final-year (fourth-year) undergraduate BEd student-teachers enrolled in the Faculty of Education at a South African university. We further used the principle of Community of Practice (CoP) to explore the perceptions of student-teachers’ roles of effective teachers. In this paper we report on one aspect, namely the student teachers’ role as mediator of learning. The student-teachers engaged in a process of collective learning about their practice as prospective teaching and learning experts. In order to elicit their own views and perceptions as a learning community, they examined their beliefs, practices and orientations regarding their roles of mediating the process of learning, implemented proposed actions and reflected on the outcomes of their actions, in order to improve their practice. This was done by using questions on four matrix sets, as explained by Von Maltzahn and van der Riet (2006). The questions on the matrix sets related to teachers’ roles as mediators of learning. The completed matrices were transcribed, coded, classified and categorised according to emerging themes which were then analysed.

The main findings indicate that student teachers felt strategies such as question and answer techniques; role play and play as strategies; the use of technology, media and models; direct teaching and demonstrations; cooperative learning and group work; inquiry-based learning; as well as problem-based learning posed various challenges to them during teaching practice, irrespective of the fact that methodology lecturers dealt with the content of these strategies as part of their formal tuition. Students often felt themselves poorly equipped to deal with these challenges. They highlighted the importance of mentor lecturers, mentor teachers, peers, parents, the university and the department of education in not only supporting them when experiencing challenges, but also in informing their professional development as teachers.
author = {de Jager, L. and Fraser, B. and Fereirra, R.},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.2016},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.2016},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {4620-4625}}
AU - L. de Jager AU - B. Fraser AU - R. Fereirra
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2016
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 4620
EP - 4625
ER -
L. de Jager, B. Fraser, R. Fereirra (2017) STUDENT-TEACHERS’ VIEW OF THEIR ROLE AS MEDIATORS OF LEARNING, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 4620-4625.