An Exploratory case study of pre-service EFL teachers' sense of efficacy beliefs and perceptions of mentoring practices during practice teaching

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2012
Rakıcıoğlu Söylemez, Anıl Ş
Although practice teaching is a central component of teacher education, there are still a number of organizational and practical problems encountered which have attracted considerable research. For instance, the nature of the relationship among pre-service and cooperating teachers; how this relationship plays a role in shaping pre-service teachers’ learning to teach during practice teaching are issues we still know little about (Borg, 2011). In order to understand the interwoven relationship between experiences, intentions, beliefs and actions of pre-service language teachers, opportunities created for them to become conscious of the ways they perceive and act upon needs to be investigated in detail. The present research study is designed as a mixed method case study to examine the extent to which English as a Foreign Language (EFL) pre-service teachers’ (PTs’) sense of efficacy beliefs regarding classroom management, instructional strategies, and student engagement evolve throughout the practice teaching course in addition to the role of mentoring practices and the organization of the practice teaching course in shaping EFL pre-service teachers’ sense of efficacy beliefs. The main participant group of the study was composed of senior PTs (N=22) studying in the Department of Foreign Language Education, Middle East Technical University. The study involved a variety of data collection tools in order to gather data, Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES) (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2001) and Mentoring for Foreign Language Teaching (MEFLT) scale (Hudson, Nguyen &Hudson, 2009), weekly reflective journals of the PTs, semi-structured face-to-face interviews and an open-ended survey. The results of the data analysis revealed that none of the dimensions of sense of efficacy beliefs of the PTs appeared to develop significantly after practice teaching; on the other hand, sense of efficacy beliefs regarding classroom management beliefs of the participant group significantly decreased at the end of the practice teaching. In addition, sense of efficacy beliefs regarding classroom management beliefs had a significant relationship with the Personal/Professional Attributes of the cooperating teachers (CTs). According to the content analysis of the data, the role of mentoring practices and the organization of the practice teaching course have an important role in sense of efficacy beliefs of the PTs. The data analysis framework acknowledges that there are other factors that also have an influence on the development of efficacy beliefs including the teaching situation, context and the role of other participants involved in practice teaching.