Details of Thesis

Title A Study of Learning Environment in the Extended Practicum of a Pre-Service Teacher Education Course at a Catholic University
Author Kennedy, Joy
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2006
Abstract This thesis reports research which employed quantitative data collection methods to investigate pre-service teacher perceptions of extended practicum learning environments of pre-service teachers at a Catholic university and their self-efficacy for future teaching. By drawing on learning environment research, practicum in teacher education literature, student teacher practicum evaluation data and stakeholder perceptions of dimensions of the ACU extended practicum learning environment, an instrument, a 72-item questionnaire, the Extended Practicum Learning Environment Inventory (EPLEI) was developed and validated. To establish relationships between student teacher perceptions of the extended practicum learning environment and their self-efficacy for future teaching, a Student Teacher Efficacy Instrument (STEI) was also developed. Data were collected from student teachers using the EPLEI and the STEI. In 2001, the total sample consisted of 64 students. Recognising that there are a number of dimensions to the learning environments of the extended practicum and to assess differences in student teacher and supervising teacher perceptions of the same extended practicum learning environment, supervising teachers responded to an analogous form of the EPLEI. In 2002, the sample consisted of 57 student teachers and their supervising teachers. Statistical analyses were performed on the quantitative data and revealed some statistically significant differences in the way student teachers and supervising teachers perceive the same environment. Statistical analyses also revealed significant differences in student teachers perceptions of extended practicum environments in relation to school type. Student teachers who participated in the extended practicum in Catholic schools perceived the learning environments more positively than student teachers in State and Other Christian schools. The analyses revealed significant associations between student teacher perceptions of the extended practicum learning environments and their self-efficacy for future teaching. This research clearly demonstrates that extended practicum experiences of student teachers at a Catholic university are affected by features at both classroom and school levels.
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