DDP EFL Student Teachers’ Perceptions About the Qualities of a Professional Teacher
Keywords:professional teacher, practicum, study abroad, EFL student teachers, dual diploma program
AbstractThis study explores how EFL student teachers of an undergraduate dual diploma program describe the qualities of a professional teacher after spending a year in their partner university in the United States, and after experiencing international and local practice teaching contexts. As a case study, the data were obtained through in-depth interviews, student teachers’ observation journals, and a survey. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. In addition, student teachers’ observation journals were gathered on a weekly basis. As a supplementary tool, International Survey (TALIS) was administered to all participants. The collected data suggested that study abroad and international short-term fieldwork experience made contributions to their perceptions about the ideal teacher thanks to broadening their worldviews about multiculturalism and diversity, and improving their personal skills, including human relation and communication skills. As a result of these experiences, the prospective teachers re-shaped their perceptions and attributed new features indicating interpersonal skills to the image of a professional teacher. The study also revealed that after returning to Turkey and completing Practice Teaching course in one of the cooperating schools, their perceptions were re-shaped again under the influence of experiencing a real teaching context with the same students for a long time. They indicated that while international fieldwork and study abroad experience showed them being fluent in English, patient, eager to raise human beings, and being able to address individual differences in a classroom, thanks to local practice teaching experience, they added new features to them, including love of teaching, motivating students for life-long learning, being a facilitator to help them find their own path, attending to the learner, getting along with students within the framework of respect, kindness and temperateness, dealing with disruptive behaviors and accomplishing classroom management by developing techniques to create a safe and pleasant learning environment for students.
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