Pamukkale University, Faculty of Education, Denizli-TURKEY
Problem Statement: The teaching practicum is an indispensable component of initial-teacher education programs. However, students who go through the teaching practicum have some concerns related to their experience. They have a number of worries and anxieties, resulting in high levels of stress. Various factors may lead students to be anxious about the teaching practicum such as methods used in their teaching, classroom management and materials, or inconsistencies in the way students are evaluated by mentors or supervisors.
Purpose of Study: This study aims to find out student teachers’ anxiety regarding the teaching practicum, what the possible sources of anxiety for student teachers are, and how different genders are affected.
Method: For this purpose, a student teacher anxiety scale has been used for data collection as well as student teachers’ interviews. Participants are 101 student teachers in an English Language Teaching department of a Faculty of Education.
Findings and Results: The findings reveal that student teachers are anxious about factors such as evaluation, classroom management, pedagogy and staff relations. Next, they are more anxious about evaluation and classroom management than pedagogy and staff relations, and female student teachers are more anxious compared to their male counterparts in the teaching practicum. Our findings also reveal that student teachers’ anxiety before and while undergoing their teaching practicum may be caused by some inconsistencies: the way student teachers are assessed and evaluated, varying expectations of mentors and supervisors related to their performance in class, lack of conformity among mentors regarding their approach to teaching practice, and finally, the poor quality of feedback given to student teachers by their mentors and supervisors.
Recommendation: Findings point to the need for mentors and supervisors to become fully aware of the anxieties held by student teachers. They should review their role in preventing unnecessary problems occurring in the process of the teaching practicum and help student teachers go through the process smoothly by providing necessary feedback.
Keywords: student teacher anxiety, stress in the teaching practicum, teaching practicum, student teacher.