Pre-Service Beginning Teachers’ Beliefs, Expectations and Other Teacher Preparation Issues of the Practicum at the University of Trinidad and Tobago

George Gowrie, Mala Ramdass


The study examined the extent to which there were changes in pre-service teachers’ beliefs, expectations and other teacher preparation issues over a four-year period at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. The study was guided by the conceptual framework of Calderhead and Shorrock (1997) – the personal, critical, academic, practical and technical orientation - and compared pre-service teachers’ reflections on these five components before and after their exposure to the practicum at the university. The participants in the study were 36 pre-service beginning teachers who were never exposed to any teacher training programme. There were 12 males and 24 females whose average ages were 24 years. Data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews at the beginning and the end of the four year period. The interview data were audio-taped and later transcribed in the tradition of grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). Systematic coding was used to uncover key features and emerging themes from the first and second phases of the study. Five categories consistent with the conceptual framework of the study were identified: beliefs and expectations, mentorship support, resource adequacy, content and pedagogical knowledge and adequate classroom experiences. The findings suggested there were some changes in pre-service beliefs and expectations and other preparation issues. There were also mixed messages from the beginning teachers with regard to adequate resources, mentorship support and classroom experiences. Recommendations were made for the continuing professional development of these novice teachers.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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