What are the beliefs and practices of beginning teachers in terms of their teacher centerdness or student centerdness?
What are the challenges faced by the beginning teachers and the avenues to resolve them?
What are the perceptions of beginning teachers concerning the factors in the school environment which affect their proffessionality?
Quantitative data in the form of questionnaire responses were collected from 158 beginning science teachers were utilised for the study. Qualitative data in the form of beliefs interviews were collected from 47 beginning science teachers and data on observations of classroom transactional practices were collected from 47 beginning teachers.
teacher beliefs interview
classroom observation schedule
questionnaire on challenges experienced
interview schedule on challenges faced
questionnaire on the school based motivating factors
questionnaire on perception of success
Beliefs and practices :
Beliefs were qualitatively analysed with the narratives of beginning science teachers. The beginning science teachers stated beliefs were largely ‘In-transition:, which was followed by ‘teacher centered’. Of the 47 beginning science teachers studied, 35 teachers were categorised as having predominantly transitional belief system and 6 of them possesss predominently teacher centered belief system and 6 of them possess student centered belief system.
The practices of the beginning science teachers revealed that among the 47 teachers, 22 of the beginning science teachers revealed to having teacher centered practices and 1 of them exhibiting student centered practices.
When the belief-practices congruence of individual teachers are taken into consideration, the following types of combinations could be observed
teacher-centered bliefs and teacher centered practice: 5 beginning science teachers
teacher centered beliefs and tranition practice: 1 beginning science teacher
transition beliefs and teacher centered practice: 17 beginning science teachers.
transition beliefs and transition practice: 18 beginning science teachers.
Student cenered beliefs and teacher centered practice: 1 beginning science teachers
Student cenered beliefs and transitional practices: 4 beginning science teachers
Student cenered beliefs and student centered practice: 1 beginning science teachers
Challenges faced and the avenues of support available:
The beginning science teachers faced challenges related to the availability of the necessary resources and laboratory, followed by time constrain, pedagogy and classroom management. The sources which provided support were the cluster resource cenyter/ mandal resource center (CRC/MRC) meetings and the senior teachers.
School based factors of motivation:
The factors which contributed to the motivation of beginning science teachers were (in the order of highly contributing to least contributing) student teacher relationships, colleagues and administrative support, proffessional growth and privileges, work load factors.
School based factors contributing to the perception of success
The factors which contributed to the perception of success of beginning science teachers were CRC/MRC as a support system, senior teachers and administrators support, colleague support and teacher commitment.
Interplay between beliefs, practices and perceptions:
Quantitative data analysis using stepwise regression for understanding the contributing factors to the classroom transactional practices showed that only beliefs are significant predictor for practices.the other factors like the perceptions of challenges, motivation and perception of success were not found to be significant factors in determuining the classroom transactional practices. Similarly under each of the issues such as challenges, motication and preception of success the identified dimensions/ factors also were not found to be significant predictors.
In other words, classroom lesson transactions were directly dependent on the beliefs that the beginning teachers possessed.
Recognition of beginning science teachers: In the state of Andhra Pradhesh, and probably in other parts of the country, no distinction is made among the teachers based on their cognition and practices. Hence, the teachers and the beginning science teachers more so, must be recognized for their unniques characters, byy the school and education system.
Pre-service programs: pre-service programs need to challenge the existing beliefs of the prospective teachers, which will enable them to introspect and adapt their beliefs. Moreover, they must be seriously educated on the desirable teaching practices and skills, and be encouraged to put into practices those skills which will be beneficial to the school students.
In-service programs: teachers need to be provide with effective in-service programs to align their beliefs and practices with the explicit national and state policies.
Sustained and targeted in-service programs can go a long way in modyfying the beliefs, and thereby the practices of beginning science teachers.
The in-service program need to bebrought much nearer to the beginning teacher, in their own schools, which may help in providing proximal support to the beginning science teachers.
Addressing the challenges: the challenges faced by the beginning science teachers need to be addressed approximately which will help in effective teaching. There needs to be a quantitative as well as qualitative upgradation of school as well as laboratory infrastructure, which can act as a catalyst for a change in the teaching learning process. Funds also need to be rationalized as per the needs of the school whereby large-sized schools can have access to sufficient resources.
The role of Head Master/ Headmistress and other administrators need to be strengthened in the professionalism of beginning science teachers. Proper orientation had to be provided to them with respect of assuming the role of leadership and mentoring.
Score for more interaction with colleagues and senior teachers teaching science in other schools may be made available, which will help in the professional development of the beginning science teachers.
Keyword(s): Beginning Teachers , Government schools, beliefs, practices, motivators.