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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100

Abstract

MARAIS, Petro. "We can't believe what we see": Overcrowded classrooms through the eyes of student teachers. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2016, vol.36, n.2, pp.01-10. ISSN 2076-3433.  http://dx.doi.org/10.15700/saje.v36n2a1201.

The effects of overcrowded classrooms are far-reaching for teachers and learners. Many parents base their decision on whether to send their child to a particular school on the prospective number of learners in the child's classroom (Mustafa, Mahmoud, Assaf, Al-Hamadi & Abdulhamid, 2014:178). All teacher training institutions ought to ascertain whether they offer appropriate teacher training programmes that will enable student teachers to deal with the numerous demands associated with the teaching profession, among others, teaching in overcrowded classrooms. The aim of the research reflected in this article was to explore student teachers' challenges when teaching in overcrowded classrooms. An exploratory research design and qualitative research approach was chosen as the appropriate methodology for this project. Data was collected by means of a non-compulsory written assignment set out in student teachers' teaching practice workbooks. The theoretical frameworks used constructivist learning theory and socio-constructivist learning theory. The research revealed that numerous problems were experienced by student teachers, who were teaching in overcrowded classrooms. Guiding principles regarding support from lecturers, significant observation and the responsible engagement of mentor teachers are suggested.

Keywords : Internships; Large classes; Mentor teachers; Overcrowded classrooms; Practicum; Pre-service teaching; Student teachers.

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