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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


BOTHA, Carolina. The impact of the apprenticeship of observation on pre-service teachers' perceptions of teaching. Journal of Education [online]. 2020, n.81, pp.50-64. ISSN 2520-9868.

First year pre-service teachers' images of, and beliefs about, teaching are formed over years of prior educational experiences and these images exert a powerful effect on their perceptions of teaching. In this paper, I examine the impact of the apprenticeship of observation on the developing professional identity of two cohorts of first-year pre-service teachers at a South African tertiary institution. I use Schlossberg's transition theory (1981) to explore the perceptions and expectations with which pre-service teachers enter their initial teacher program. I argue that these deeply rooted ways of thinking about teachers and what they do should be acknowledged, challenged, and disrupted, and pre-service teachers should be supported in efforts to scrutinise their local knowledge and lived experience that constitute their dominant discourses about teaching and being a full-time teacher. The findings indicate that students have a naïve understanding of the teaching profession and confirm that the apprenticeship of observation serves as a measure of their own ability or inability to teach. Recommendations highlight the opportunity for tertiary educators to empower pre-service teachers in their journey towards an ethical and caring professional identity.

Keywords : apprenticeship of observation; pre-service teacher; perceptions; professional identity.

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