Hudson, S 2009, 'Preservice teachers' perceptions of their middle schooling teacher preparation', International Journal of Learning, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 1-12.
Copyright 2009 The authors.
The middle schooling movement in Australia has gained momentum in the past 10 to 15 years (Pendergast & Bahr, 2005) with much of the literature recognising that preservice teachers need to graduate with theoretical and pedagogical knowledge to engage middle years students (Education Queensland, 2004). This qualitative study analysed the responses of preservice teachers towards their completion of a four-year Bachelor of Education primary degree that included a middle years pathway (or electives). The study aims to investigate the final years' perceptions of their confidence and preparedness to teach in the middle-school context as a result of their university learning. Data were gathered using open-ended one-to-one interviews of approximately 45 minutes duration. Seven of the twenty-two final-year preservice teachers were involved in the study that represented 32% of the cohort. Results indicated the need for increased school-based units, the importance of pedagogical approaches employed by the lecturer and the preference for further linkages between middle school theories and middle school teaching practices. Those who provide teacher education courses need to consider the importance of how they deliver middle years courses as well as the content of the course. Furthermore, teacher education institutions need to evaluate and re-shape their courses to ensure preservice teachers are provided with real-world experiences related to both the literature and the profession.