Student teachers’ perceptions towards school experience in Mufulira district.

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Zonde, Chilombo Ireen
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The University of Zambia
The aim of teaching practice is to ensure that student teachers are well prepared for the teaching profession. Teaching practice denotes the preparation of student teachers for teaching by practical training. It grants student teachers experience in the actual teaching and learning environment. As such the thrust for the research was to find out student teachers’ perceptions towards school experience in Mufulira district. In this research study, a qualitative approach was adopted, using interviews and focus group discussions as a means of collecting data from the research participants. Qualitative data was gathered from fourteen student teachers, two lecturers and two permanent teachers. Findings showed that despite the positive experiences encountered during school experience, student teachers faced challenges which affected their perceptions towards school experience. Results showed that student teachers had idealistic views and expectations of what they expected to find prior to entering schools. This is an indication that teaching practice is a very important exercise in teacher professional development as it enables the student teacher to understand how to write lesson plans, apply different methods of teaching, manage time properly, and know how to handle students, prepare and use appropriate teaching and learning aids, learn how to manage school records and so on. Based on the findings of this study, measures like befriending student teachers and giving them professional coaching in order to boost their confidence and hope during school experience as well as supervisors consciously making an effort to assess student teachers comprehensively are suggested in order to improve school experience and also have a positive influence on student teachers’ perceptions towards school experience.
Teaching practice. , Teacher professional development. , Teachers--In-service training.