Original Research Paper
(Re)Viewing the Landscape Inside and Outside the Box: Providing Effective Support for Early Childhood Student Teachers
Janet Moles, Bella Tanielu-Dick, Vera Atiga-Anderson, Leautuli Sauvao, Heather Fuimaono, Suzanne Ryan, Shanali de Rose, Jan Ferguson and Lucy Fuli-Makaua
Deakin University (Australia) and Whitireia Polytechnic (NZ)
Moles, J., Tanielu-Dick, B., Atiga-Anderson, V., Sauvao, L., Fuimaona, H., Ryan, S., de Rose, S., Ferguson, S., & Fuli-Makau, L. (2012). (Re)Viewing the landscape inside and outside the box: Providing effective support for early childhood student teachers. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 15, 145 - 159.
This paper presents key findings from a study that investigated how early childhood student teachers perceived the support, guidance and mentoring facilities that were available to them and aspects of their courses. The study was conducted by lecturers who were delivering the three year Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) degree to a multicultural student cohort in a New Zealand polytechnic. A multi-method approach was taken and involved practitioner action research, questionnaires and interviews with students. The findings showed that whilst first year students found large group guidance useful, second and third year students preferred small group and individual support. Being able to email lecturers, particularly during practicum placements, was important for students. During practicum placements Associate Teachers who were culturally competent communicators and fully informed about students’ coursework were important for student success. Practicums where students experienced open communication were included as part of the teaching team and felt well-informed about the philosophy and practices of the centre were found to increase their confidence and competence. However, students expressed concern that in some placements, they felt under informed or isolated. Hence, this paper argues that lecturers and Associate Teachers should be proactive about initiating communication with students and optimise opportunities for individual mentoring through questions and guided reflection.
Key words: Student, teacher, diversity, learning, study, teacher education.
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