Action research : student teachers coping with professional dilemmas
thesisposted on 15.12.2014, 10:43 by Rivka Keren
The Seminar Hakibutzim Teachers Training College in Tel Aviv trains students to teach different subjects. The pedagogic instructors have the most responsibility for training students as it is they who impart teaching skills and evaluate students' ability and suitability to teach. However, they have long been dissatisfied with their students' handling of professional dilemmas in teaching practice. Dilemmas, which are ambivalent and lacking a clear solution, are an inherent part of teaching; however, students who are inevitably at the stage of constructing their professional identity, find dilemmas hard to handle. This leads to frustration and, in extreme cases, students ignore their dilemmas. The college has felt it necessary to change the training programme curriculum and try to provide professional tools that will help students handle their dilemmas. The main aim of this action research was to improve my method of training prospective teachers to cope with professional challenges and especially dilemmas. To this end, I developed a new teaching unit for the Early Childhood Training Program. When I taught this topic for the first time, I analysed the skills and abilities students needed to handle professional dilemmas. The research lasted two years (two research cycles), during which time I planned and taught the new teaching unit. Each research cycle comprised two elements: a college-based element, in which students learned the tools to cope with professional dilemmas, and the practical element, when students applied what they had learned in college to their school teaching practice. The study identified three levels of dilemma management in each of the skills examined: these were Low, Intermediate and High. In the second research cycle, improvements were observed in the way students managed professional dilemmas. The results of the study can be applied in every teacher training college.