ERIC Number: EJ721368
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov
Reference Count: 24
Help-Seeking Behaviour of Student Teachers
Educational Research, v47 n3 p307-318 Nov 2005
Background: Student teachers struggle with a wide range of problems because they are lacking professional knowledge, inexperienced in dealing with colleagues and students, and unfamiliar with school environments. It is essential for the survival of student teachers to establish supportive relationships for professional and personal help. Traditional support mechanisms for student teachers, such as cooperating teachers and university supervising teachers, often fail to provide the needed help. Analysing student teachers' help-seeking behaviour provides an avenue to explore the support they received. Purpose: The study investigates how student teachers seek assistance. Using a "Help-seeking behaviour questionnaire," student teachers' critical problems and their efforts to find assistance are examined. Sample: The participants were 40 student teachers in a secondary education teacher certificate programme at a university in Taipei, Taiwan. The participants belonged to a class of about 100 student teachers who did their internships at local junior and senior high schools. The participants were teaching in eight subjects, and about two-thirds were female. Every student teacher was assigned a supervising teacher from the university and a cooperating teacher at the placement school. Design and methods: The questionnaire asked the student teachers to pick a critical problem that they had encountered during the previous week. They were asked to describe the problem, whom they asked for help, how many times and through which communication channel the help was provided. The questionnaire was administered during March and May 2001. Critical problems were sorted into categories. Frequencies and percentages of the help-seeking instances were accumulated for different people and problem categories. Results: Some student teachers requested help many times; others made a limited number of requests. The number of requests ranged from 1 to 38 per problem, with an average of 12 requests per problem. Among the requests for help (n=935), only 2% were directed to university supervisors. The student teachers sought help from the cooperating teacher 15% of the time, and 41% of the time they asked student teacher peers for assistance. About 90% of the communication was face to face, 9% was by phone and 1% was by email. The largest number of requests dealt with problems of individual students (19%). The second and third largest problem categories were administration and policy issues (16%) and lack of spare time (15%). Conclusions: Peer support should be cultivated in teacher training programmes because peer student teachers' help was most frequently sought. Cooperating teachers and university supervising teachers' communication with student teachers can be improved. Various ways of contacting student teachers can be encouraged, but face-to-face communication must still be supported. It is important to keep finding new ways to assess the effectiveness of student teacher support. The results of the "Help-seeking behaviour questionnaire" can be used to examine the impact of programmes to improve student teaching.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Cooperating Teachers, Student Teachers, Help Seeking, Helping Relationship, Student Behavior, Preservice Teacher Education, Secondary School Teachers, Peer Relationship
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Taiwan (Taipei)