Ghent University (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Page: 3467 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
In a nutshell:
Despite thorough revision and constant improvement of teaching programs, novice teachers still encounter arduous challenges and often have to resolve them independently (Tait 2008). The study investigates new teachers’ “job readiness” for the state-of-the-art demands of the teaching job through scrutinizing internship programs for student teachers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On the base of a stratified sampling approach and by administering surveys and interviews, the perceptions about teaching and its related competences is studied in two cohorts: (1) student teachers enrolled in colleges of education in the UAE and (2) teacher educators. This allowed contrasting the perspectives of the two target groups as to their view and experiences about job readiness.

Why it matters to consider the student teachers’ perception of teaching?
The literature in the field of teaching and teachers education often suggests that teachers performance is mainly subject to two types of factors; a. internal factors, such as teachers' skills and personal beliefs about teaching and teaching methods, and b. external factors, namely policy of education and teaching settings. While teacher education has considerably less control on teaching policies and can do very little to change the teaching settings, it generally targets teachers' characteristics and therefore, focuses on variables that can be developed, such as teachers' skills, or improved, such as teaching methods. It is not uncommon that student teachers lose connection to formal and informal supervision from teaching colleges after graduation. Accordingly, teachers’ expertise should comprise knowing how to deal with situations that do not always mimic student teachers’ former experience in teachers colleges. Ultimately, it becomes important to study student teachers’ perceptions about teaching competences that, in their view, help them become prepared for the job and resolve new challenges independently, in addition to the thinking styles that underlay their perception.

Research questions:
The study is guided by the following two questions;
1. What is the level of “readiness for the job” in student teachers as reflected in the perspective of student teachers and teacher educators in the UAE?
2. Does the current variation in internship approaches between UAE teacher education institutes result in different levels of “readiness for the job”?