In the Hong Kong Institute of Education, Co-operating Teacher Scheme (CTS) is an important element of the School Experience. Its aims are to let students obtain various forms of support as they first enter the school, progressively learn about a teacher's work and progressively develop professional ability and reflective skills and habits. It was implemented in the initial primary teacher education programmes in 1994. The focus of the present study is to view from the perspective of student-teachers and study what they have really learned from the CTS; how they perceived the relative effectiveness or importance of different phases of the scheme; how they perceived the difference between the roles of the co-operating teacher and the practicum tutor. In the Hong Kong Institute of Education, Co-operating Teacher Scheme (CTS) is an important element of the School Experience. Its aims are to let student teachers obtain various forms of support as they first enter the school; progressively learn about a teacher's work and progressively develop professional ability and reflective skills and habits. The study was conducted within a month after the completion of the CTS. There are quantitative and qualitative components. From the list of 130 schools participating in the Scheme in 95-96, eighty schools were selected randomly. School heads and co-operating teachers were invited to complete a questionnaire. At the same time, in the Institute 71 practicum tutors and 707 student teachers also completed a questionnaire. Futermore, 6 school heads, 12 co-operating teachers, 10 practicum tutors and 10 student teachers were interviewed in order to collect information in addition to that obtained from the questionnaire. The present paper only focuses on the data obtained from the student teachers in order to study the CTS as a learning experience from the perspective of student teachers. From the data of the questionnaire, on the whole, the student teachers supported the implementation of the Scheme, including its duration, the arrangement of the different components of the scheme and the assessment mode. They perceived themselves being able to achieve the learning outcomes listed on the questionnaire. The comparatively strong item is to learn the role of a teacher whereas the comparatively weak one is to make use of appropriate means to evaluate of the effectiveness of one's teaching. They also advocated that both school heads, co-operating teachers and practicum tutors provided arrangements and supports to them but they perceived school heads were more helpful in providing teaching resources, co-operating teachers in helping them know the subject and the class while practicum tutors in evaluating their teaching performance. From the interviews, the responses of the student teachers were quite diverse. However, student agreed on the overlapping of the Preparation and Supportive Phase and the Solo-teaching Phase. Concerning the aims of the Scheme, they saw that this school experience is a way to put theory into practice. Most of the student teachers did not perceive that they handled all the daily work of a primary school teacher. They started to realize that it is hard work. They agreed that they could teach well to the average students but might not be able to take care of individual differences. They advocated that they started to be aware of the sense of responsibility, being enthusiastic and involved in school activities. They also percieved the Scheme as a chance or a challenge whether they should pursue teaching as a career. They found that the school heads provided good environment for them. On the other hand, most of them said that the co-operating teachers were more helpful than the practicum tutors, e.g. in classroom management or handling disciplinary problems. Some noted that the schools and the co-operating teachers did not seem to understand fully about the scheme.
|Publication status||Published - Nov 1996|