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Teaching practice: a make or break phase for student teachers

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Abstract:

Teaching practice is an integral component of teacher training. It grants student teachers experience in the actual teaching and learning environment. We explore the experiences of student teachers in the Vaal University of Technology Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) during their 10 weeks’ teaching practice in the Vaal area. In this article we aim to establish the ways in which these experiences influence the student teachers’ perception of the teaching profession. Semi-structured interviews with all student teachers were used to collect the data while content analysis was used to identify themes and analyse the data. We established that, despite the positive experiences during teaching practice, student teachers experienced challenges which affected their perception of the teaching profession. Based on the findings of this study, measures are suggested on how to improve teaching practice in order to have a positive influence on the student teachers’ perception of, and attitude towards, the teaching profession.

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