The teaching practice is a crucial part of the teacher education program. During the field experience program, student-teachers put the theory learnt into practice, and acquire teaching experience in actual school settings. The quality of learning acquired largely depends on the quality of support provided by the Institute and the schools before and during the practice period. Dispoto's study stated that student-teachers experienced conflict and stress during their field experience. The strain to learn to teach may result in feelings of incompetence and lack of confidence, and may affect the attitude, behaviour and performance of the student-teachers. Besides support from the Institute, student-teachers also receive support from teachers (mentors) in the schools where they perform their practice. With reference to the expectations for mentors concluded by Grimmentt and Ratzlaff, mentors need some pre-requisite knowledge and skills, e.g. observation skills, up-dated knowledge on education theories, ability to undertake critical analysis of one's and other people' lesson in order to involving student-teachers in planing and evaluating learning experience, conferring and evaluating their development through regular observation and feedback. Since the establishment of the Hong Kong Institute of Education in 1994, a new form of teaching practice has been introduced in the 2-year full time primary teacher education program, namely the Co-operating Teacher Scheme (CTS). Co- operating teachers from schools are assigned to student-teachers and perform the functions of the mentors. In a local study student-teachers were found to have lowered the perception of their competence after the teaching practice. Our previous researches revealed that the co-operating teachers (CTs) would like to have more updated knowledge of education theories, teaching strategies, observation and communication skills so as to enhance the learning of the student-teachers. In order to improve the quality of the teaching practice, a supporting program is organized before the teaching practice in 1998. Workshops on self-understanding, stress and time management, peer supporting and developing social skills will be offered to some student-teachers. It is hoped that they will be better psychologically prepared by reducing their anxiety and stress. Three training sessions provide the CTs the background of the 2-year teacher education course and aims to equip them with the pre-requisite skills and knowledge for effective observation, and to analyze the lesson critically with the student-teachers. As the aim of the teacher education course is to train student-teachers to be reflective practitioners, introducing the CTs about reflection and reflective skills will better enhance reflection among the student-teachers. After attending the workshops and training sessions, student-teachers and the CTs will be asked to fill in the questionnaire to evaluate the content and the administrative arrangement of the program. According to the ideas reflected after the first two training sessions, CTs found the themes were useful. They suggested the training should better be provided on school base. Some proposed to make it a whole day program on a weekday or several Saturday morning sessions. This paper will analyze the evaluation made by the student-teachers and the CTs after they complete all the workshops and training sessions. It is hoped that the data collected will provide insight for the improvement of our supporting program so that the training can be extended to all student-teachers and CTs, thus enhancing the quality of learning effected in the field experience program.
|Publication status||Published - 1998|