Hudson, S, Beutel, D, Bradfield, K & Hudson, P 2010, 'Changing perceptions of preservice teachers: innovations in middle schooling teacher education', International Journal of Learning, vol. 17, no. 7, pp. 99-112.
Copyright 2010 The authors.
For the past twenty years, the disengagement of early adolescents has been the focus of much of the literature related to middle schooling. In response, some universities in Australia have introduced teacher education programs that focus upon graduating specialised middle schooling teachers. The aim of this study was to explore and describe the 38 first-year preservice teachers' perceptions of their first middle schooling elective unit and ascertain whether the combination of university classes and school-based experiences assisted their development of middle schooling concepts and approaches. Data were gathered using pre-test and post-test questionnaires combined with guided written reflections to record their views before, after and during the unit delivery. Results indicated that initially the preservice teachers had little understanding of middle schooling concepts and pedagogical practices, however, 11 participants recognised that bullying and peer pressure were issues experienced by early adolescents. The reflections, which were presented after their field experiences, focused on teaching, learning, behaviour management, and resources and infrastructure. More school-based experiences linked to theoretical underpinnings can help to facilitate understandings about students in the middle phase.