Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 16. Nr. August 2006

8.4. Lehrerausbildung in der Europäischen Gemeinschaft: Eine Analyse der Strukturen und Visionen der Lehrerausbildung in den Europäischen Ländern | Teacher Training in the European Community: An Analysis of the Structures and Visions of Teacher Training in European Countries
Herausgeber | Editors | Éditeurs: Leyla Esentürk-Ercan / Melek Çakmak (Gazi Universität, Gazi Education Faculty, Ankara,Türkei)

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The Expectations and Views of Teacher Candidates about School Experience: A Case Study

Melek Çakmak (Gazi Universität, Gazi Education Faculty, Ankara,Türkei)



One of the important aspects of teacher training programmes is school experience. With school experience, teacher candidates are expected to integrate the theoretical knowledge they are taught and practical experience.

This study aims to investigate the expectations and views of teacher candidates about school experience. A survey and interview techniques are used to gather data in the study. Finally, the findings based on data gathered are discussed and several recommendations are suggested based on the findings.


One of the important expectations of all pre-service teachers is professionalism in the teaching process which requires more than one factor. Teaching experience is one of the important components of teaching which relates to both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Teaching experience gives pre-service teachers an opportunity to have experience about the teaching process including many aspects, therefore teaching experience might be considered as one of the necessities in initial teacher education.

According to Cope and Inglis (1997) student teachers need to have experience of teaching in a school. Caires & Almeida (2005) emphasize that student teachers have the opportunity to teach one or two classes under the supervision of a more experienced teacher and a college supervisor, to take part in all the activities and the routines of school life and to contact its different members such as pupils, parents, and other school staff. They briefly note that teaching practice represents a unique opportunity for the development and consolidation of a significant variety of knowledge and skills for the large majority of student teachers. In addition student teachers might have the various pedagogical experiences such as planning, teaching and assessment that take place during this period. It can be briefly said that student teachers need to learn many things in a real life atmosphere.

On the other hand, Stanulis et al., (2002; cited in Lindgren, 2005, p.252) notes that unfortunately, as good as their training might have been in the university, in-service training for student teachers often produces conflicts with the reality of the classroom. These conflicts can contribute to feelings of unpreparedness for meeting pupils’ needs, classroom management and understanding school culture.

On this specific issue, several aspects have been studied by researchers. Some studies (e.g., Graham, 1997, Çimer ve Çimer, 2002) focus on mentors in the teaching process whereas some others deal with other aspects of teaching experience in schools.

For instance, Jones (2001) aimed to compare and evaluate concepts and procedures in mentoring with reference to the cultural and structural framework determining each setting. Mainly, it was designed to identify similarities and differences in the way in which teachers perceive themselves in the role of ‘mentor’ in school-based teacher training in England and Germany. A questionnaire was used and interviews were carried out. The findings of the study showed that mentors perceived the various aspects of their roles differently. Mentors also showed convergence in some of their interpretations. A high level of agreement is reflected in their perception of their main role as the trainee’s ‘advisor’, whereas divergent views emerge in relation to their responsibilities as ‘assessor’, ‘trainer’, ‘partner’, and ‘model’ in the study. In another study, with a different approach, Çimer ve Çimer (2002)investigated the views of teacher candidates about the characteristics of mentor teachers at schools. Data were collected through questionnaires from 68 teacher candidates in the study. The findings indicated that most of the teacher candidates defined mentor teachers as being open, being tidy, giving positive feedback, giving enough time to students and listening to students, dealing with their problems, being experienced about classroom management, and being friendly.

In a different research, Ünver (2003) has studied the collaboration process during the school experience. In that study, the main aim was to determine whether administrators in the educational faculty, principals of schools, tutors, mentors and student teachers have enough information for collaboration, on which topics, and how they could cooperate. Data was collected through a questionnaire including open-ended questions in the context of a case study. The results mainly showed that both administrators in educational faculty and tutors have enough information about collaboration.

Caires and Almeida (2005)investigated the impact of teaching practice in Initial Teacher Education on student teachers’ professional skills and development. Data were collected through the Inventory of Experiences and Perceptions at Teaching Practice (IEPTP) which was developed by the researchers themselves. The instrument for data collection consisted of five dimensions as follows: (1) learning and professional development; (2) professional and institutional socialisation; (3) socio-emotional aspects; (4) support/resources/supervision; and (5) vocational development. In total, 224 student teachers participated in the study. The results described the main changes occurring in the student teachers’ perceptions between the beginning and the end of teaching practice. In the study, it is also emphasized that supervisors have important roles in fostering and supporting the new candidates’ professional and personal growth.

Aim of the study

This study was mainly aimed to investigate the expectations and views of teacher candidates about their school experience. When the school experience is thought of as a wholistic process, every single aspect might be important. In a sense, expectations and views of teacher candidates are important factors as much as the problems encountered by them during the school experience.



The main research approach was a ‘case study’. A survey and interview research techniques were used in the study.

The Sample

In total, forty student teachers participated in the study and they were in the last year of their program at Gazi University, Gazi Education Faculty, Primary Mathematics Teacher Department. Teacher candidates in this program completed courses related to the school experience. In the courses related to school experience and teaching practice, student teachers are expected to have knowledge and skills about school, students and the various aspects of teaching profession based on observations and interviews and make practice about those.

Data Collection and Analysis

In order to obtain responses to the research question of this study, mainly a survey and interview techniques were applied, as mentioned earlier. Before administering the questionnaire to the participants, a pilot study was carried out on another group of student teachers and they were asked to list their expectations from the school experience. They were asked to limit their expectations to only five items. After they listed the expectations, their responses were analysed and then the items used in the questionnaire were determined with respect to these student teachers’ responses. In the final draft, 18 items were decided to be placed in the questionnaire. The final draft was applied to another group of mathematics teacher candidates in order to see whether there were problems with it or not. Following this pilot study, the questionnaire was applied to the sample group.

The second way to gather data in the present study was an interview technique. The researcher has interviewed all the participants in the study and directed only one question to them individually. The question asked them was ‘What are your expectations and views from your school experience?’.



Teacher candidates’ expectations from their school experience:

In order to show the expectations of teacher candidates from their school experience, a table was used in this part of the study. Table 1 shows the percentage of participants who agreed with various statements about their school experience.

Table-1. The most ranked expectations of teacher candidates from school experience (n=40)


Expectations   %

1. To establish effective communication with students  
2. To draw students’ attention to the course  
3. To prepare activities for making students active  
4. To use a various teaching methods and techniques effectively  
5. To use verbal and non-verbal language in an effective way  

Findings from the questionnaire indicated that t he first five items which reflect the teacher candidates’ expectations were as follows: To establish effective communication with students (67,5%), to draw students’ attention to the course (47,5%), to prepare activities for making students active (42,4%), to use a various teaching techniques and methods effectively (40%) and to use verbal and non-verbal language in an effective way (40%). On the other hand, the least often mentioned expectations were as follows: to be able to avoid interruptions (%10), to give clear explanations and directions (%10) and to listen the students (%7,5).

As stated earlier in this study teacher candidates are also asked ‘what are their expectations and views from school experience?’ during the interview process. In general teacher candidates commonly pointed out similar issues. Some of views of teacher candidates about expectations from school experience are given below:

To recognise and understand students’ psychology.

To determine teachers’ strategies related to concretizing the subject, to communicate with other teachers in the school.

To see how teachers would use time during teaching, and questioning skills used by teachers.

To estimate students’ expectations based on the observations.

To see the problems that can be encountered during teaching.

To seek an answer to the question of ‘how can I be an effective teacher? And observe the characteristics of the effective teacher.

To recognize different aspects of teaching profession.

To observe how teachers use teaching aids, assessment strategies used by teachers, classroom management strategies and teaching techniques and strategies.

To see how teachers motivate the students.

To observe experienced teachers’ strategies.

To observe the classroom, and the expectations of the students towards teaching.

To observe teachers’ attitudes and behaviours during the teaching process, to observe how teachers give the lecture and manage the class.

To analyse teacher-student relationships in a real school context.

As seen from the findings based on interview process, teacher candidates have a variety of expectations and views about their school experience. This suggests that teacher candidates need to improve on the issues mentioned.

When the views reported by the teacher candidates are analysed, it might also be possible to classify the expectations and views of teacher candidates under several points: as expectations related to teacher-student relationships, expectations related to teachers’ behaviour and attitudes, expectations related to teaching strategies such as classroom management, assessment, teaching methods, expectations related to teaching profession and the other expectations.

As Jones (2001) noted : "it is vital that trainees not only develop an extensive repertoire of teaching strategies and techniques but also acquire a sound knowledge and understanding of the principles underlying learning against which to check their actions and decisions taken in specific classroom situations". In a sense school experience is important for teacher candidates because it provides very useful opportunities to them, related to knowledge and skills about the teaching process.


Conclusion and Recommendations

In the present study, it was decided to investigate teacher candidates’ expectations and views with respect to school experience. As Caires and Almeida (2005) also pointed out in their study "through the exploration of the fears, doubts, needs, expectations and the achievements perceived, it might be possible to obtain a more complete picture of what happens during this process and its effects on the new teachers’ overall development and growth". This suggests that teacher candidates’ expectations should also be considered by the researchers and teacher training programs. The main results of the study and several recommendations can be summarised as follows:

© Melek Çakmak (Gazi Universität, Gazi Education Faculty, Ankara,Türkei)


Caires, Susana. & Almeida, Leandro.S (2005). ‘Teaching practice in Initial Teacher Education: its impact on student teachers’ professional skills and development’, Journal of Education for Teaching, 31 (2), 111-120.

Cope, J.M.P. & Inglis, B. (1997). ‘The Student Teacher in School: Conditions for Development, Teaching and Teacher Education , 13(5), 485-98.

Çimer, A. & Çimer, O. (2002) Öğretmen Adaylarının Okullardaki Uygulama Öğretmenlerinin Özellikleri Hakkındaki Görüşleri, V. Ulusal Fen Bilimleri ve Matematik Eğitim Kongresi, Eylül, 1247-1253.

Graham, P. (1997) "Tensions in the Mentor Teacher-Student Teacher Relationship: Creating Productive Sites for Learning within a High School English Teacher Education Program", Teaching and Teacher Education, 13 (5), 513-527.

Unver, G. (2003). Öğretmenlik Uygulamasında İşbirliği: Bir Durum Çalışması, G.Ü.Gazi Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 23(1), 87-100.

Jones, M. (2001). ‘Mentors’ Perceptions of Their Roles in School-based Teacher Training in England and Germany’, Journal of Education for Teaching , 27 (1).

8.4. Lehrerausbildung in der Europäischen Gemeinschaft: Eine Analyse der Strukturen und Visionen der Lehrerausbildung in den Europäischen Ländern | Teacher Training in the European Community: An Analysis of the Structures and Visions of Teacher Training in European Countries

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For quotation purposes:
Melek Çakmak (Gazi University, Gazi Education Faculty, Department of Educational Sciences, Ankara-TURKEY): The Expectations and Views of Teacher Candidates about School Experience: A Case Study. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 16/2005. WWW:

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