Yeditepe University, Faculty of Education, Turkey.
Problem Statement: This paper reports on a study of whether student teachers in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher education course perceive themselves to have learned from teacher education via early development of reflective practice.
Purpose of the Study: The study aimed to demonstrate that by employing methodologies characteristic of teacher education, it is possible to inculcate reflective practices during teacher education and not only in field experience during pre-service training.
Methods: Twenty-seven student teachers (all female) initially participated in the study, though numbers dropped to 14 and finally eight over the research period. Qualitative data were gathered via reflective essays and interviews. The data were investigated, first, for evidence that student teachers were learning to teach at an early stage via being reflective, and, second, for evidence of a causal relationship between the design of the courses and the capacity of the student teachers to become reflective learners.
Results and Discussion: The data gathered shows that the design of the methodology and practicum courses enabled the student teachers to learn from teacher practices by adopting a reflective approach, and that the gap described in the literature as one between theories and practice can be overcome by using lesson plans as a springboard for adoption of critical reflection.
Conclusions and Recommendations: As the student teachers move from microteaching to practicum and from there to the teaching profession, they adapt to the new conditions, but still favour the practices initially acquired during their microteaching experiences. They look forward to being given the opportunity to use their full potential, skills, abilities and knowledge to fulfil the educational needs of society and the new generation, and to creating an appealing learning climate by critically reflecting on the theories that underpin their teaching practices.
Keywords: Teacher education, reflective teaching practice, lesson plan