J. Kohli, M. Gopal

University of Delhi, Mahrishi Valmiki College of Education (INDIA)
As part of the pre-service teacher education programme for secondary and senior secondary levels, the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) programme in the University of Delhi, India, prepares prospective school teachers to take up the challenge and responsibility for educating adolescents. The course focuses on orienting them to basic theories related to different aspects of education along with some interface with the school system. The main thrust of the school experience programme is primarily on developing understandings about pedagogy and classroom management. The preoccupation with pedagogy and management issues leaves them with little room to develop insights about their target group of learners. A concern that emerges from the outcome of pre-service programmes is that as inductees into the regular school system, they are not well versed with, and hence lack confidence to undertake meaningful transactions with their students. Their understanding about the nature of their students and the responsibility reposed in them is rather limited. Therefore, a need was felt to make certain interventions to bridge this gap in their understandings.

Our project incorporated the development of tools (questionnaires), collection and analysis of data by undertaking a survey of adolescents in different schools. A common practice in the school experience programme is that these interns are provided an opportunity to interact with students in absentee teacher/ substitution periods. The pre-service teacher interns capitalized on this opportunity by getting the school students to fill in a set of questionnaires they had developed in order to get to know the adolescents' psychological and sociological contexts better. The broad areas covered by the questionnaires included the cognitive, linguistic and emotional aspects of the adolescents. They focused on identifying the academic and professional aspirations and the factors affecting these. Along with this, the pre=service teacher interns tried to identify the difference between the aspirations of girls and boys. Overall, they endeavoured to identify the role of context in personality development. The planning, implementation and analysis of these helped them deepen their understandings, thereby helping them theorize and develop the connections with theories that they had studied as a part of the B.Ed curriculum. For each one of them, it turned out to be a personal journey where they were able to build on their confidence and arrive at a set of opinions to guide their future practices.

The paper endeavours to highlight the research questions, that the pre-service teachers set out with the processes taken up and the conclusions that they reached.