This article is about how beginning teachers developed their professionalism and knowledge. It analyses these students who had followed a three year programme at the university to in order to qualify as primary teachers. They needed to build specific knowledge including other skills in their development as they were constructing their identities and becoming teachers.
According to Shulman (1986), a model of teacher knowledge distinguished in several types that were required for teaching such as general knowledge of pedagogy, subject matter knowledge (SMK) incorporating syntactic and substantive features specific to discipline and pedagogic content knowledge (PCK). The personal dimension to professional knowledge is used to examine student – teacher development and use of subject knowledge to connect with their belief, self images and professional identities in primary science.
While Nias (1989) focused on interactionism and self psychology for her study of identity and self-conducted with primary teachers. Her study portrayed how teaching partakes of and shapes a particular person, the significance of interpersonal relationships with pupils and the situational influences which give positive effects upon the one self.
As for Giddens (1991) examined the concept of trajectory and he mentioned that it was used in the sense that an individual appropriates their past to anticipate a future. Wenger (1998) defined term trajectory ‘suggest not a path that can be foreseen or charted but a continuous motion’. This concept can be used in understanding of individual biographies and social structural influences.
In the first year of teaching was seen as the most difficult time for the beginning teachers. They needed to adopt and adapt with new environments and faces of students from various backgrounds and technique or approach of learning. In Beth’s story, she was fond of explaining rather than using teaching aids, creating activities and responding to pupil’s difficulties. After a year or so of teaching, she managed to adapt and change her teaching methods. This has made her class become more interactive, lively and exciting.
Her identity developed into a generalist class teacher rather than subject specialist. She enjoys those opportunities of learning less familiar subjects and was looking to have position in the school. Beth improved in her approaches to tackle the students during the one year programme.
Another story is Tess, teacher who has a rural background. Her field was English but then during the programme, she needed to teach Science instead. At first, she did not have the confidence to teach something totally different from her major speciality. So in her lesson, she tends just let her student do their own work. A year later then she has interest in some of the topics of Science and got excited but still she has no confidence to teach the subject. By the end of the programme, she was confident in science and that subject became an important part of her identity as a teacher. She appeared to be able to work happily with her pupils. She taught in an open plan classroom where other adult also worked to support learner and from that she gained a lot of ideas by talking to other teachers.
Then Ann, one of the selected four looked very confident for the first time in school. After a few times, became stress because of the job pressures, and the main problem is that she was not able to teach Science. She is a music major and would really like to teach it. During her classes, she tied to be friendly with children rather than the authoritarian in order to get their attention. Over the years, she still remained not well integrated in the practice.
Lastly is the only male teacher, Richard who has working experience of nine years in design and engineering. For this, Science is not a matter prior to his background. In his teaching, he likes to teach physically and love telling his experience rather than attempting bookish words. After teaching for years, he managed to build rapport with his students, made jokes and still closely controls the class. He was looking forward to improve in teaching methods.
After reading the text given by the lecturer, I found out that there are many methods and approaches in teaching. As what that has been told before by my mentor during my school-based-experience activity, it is true that students especially children of young ages need not just teaching and guidance but also attention. Looking at the psychological factor of a child, it is true that they cannot focus on a certain subject for too long. Therefore, besides using teaching – aids, I found out that stories also can be used to win their ‘limited’ attention. Depending only on text books does not help to create an ideal environment for the children. Thus, creativity of the teacher comes into the scene. As we may know that children have such high inquisitive feeling, we must not stop them asking so many questions and maybe practise ‘hands – on’ method sometimes as it is the best way to make one remember. Teachers of primary schools especially must not be too strict to the children as their intelligence are building at it’s peak in this particular stage. As a conclusion, I can say that there are many ways to tackle a student but it has to be the right method, approach and style and also at the right time.