Original Research

Student teachers’ views of their experiences in a Bachelor’s programme

Sene van Heerden, Yusuf Sayed, Zahraa McDonald
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 10, No 1 | a749 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v10i1.749 | © 2020 Sene van Heerden, Yusuf Sayed, Zahraa McDonald | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 March 2019 | Published: 12 August 2020

About the author(s)

Sene van Heerden, Centre for International Teacher Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa; anc, Education Department, Intermediate Phase, Cornerstone Institute, Cape Town, South Africa
Yusuf Sayed, Centre for International Teacher Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa; and, Centre for International Education, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom
Zahraa McDonald, Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education Studies, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education Studies, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: It is widely accepted that the quality of schools depends on the quality of teachers. Understanding what occurs while learning to teach is an important pursuit for acquiring a sense of the quality of teachers. The initial development of teachers is a critical point from which to activate such understanding.

Aim: This study, therefore, examines the ways in which pedagogic content knowledge is developed within experiences that relate to initial teacher education programmes. Pedagogic content knowledge is a concept describing a form of knowledge related to transmitting subject matter knowledge to learners.

Setting: A qualitative study was conducted with a cohort of participants in the final year of a bachelor’s degree programme.

Methods: Data generation ensued from focus group discussions, complemented by questionnaire data. The study analysed data categorised according to themes.

Results: Findings demonstrate that the participants found their initial teacher education programme to have had positive and negative influences with regard to the development of pedagogic content knowledge. Administrative duties, adapting to school contexts, relationships with people of influence (such as lecturers during initial teacher education and mentor teachers), teaching practice (which had the most profound influence on classroom practice) and professional knowledge and skills as taught during initial teacher education were all factors that had an impact on participants’ experiences in developing their pedagogic content knowledge.

Conclusion: This paper argues for the need to rethink the structure of initial teacher education programmes in order to better facilitate the development of pedagogic content knowledge.


Keywords

teacher education; pedagogic content knowledge; student teachers; classroom practices

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