Guest Blogger: Dipali Puri
Teacher education programs continue to change and evolve in an effort to address the changing needs concerning what pre-service teachers need to know to successfully function in today's schools. In order to better prepare pre-service teachers for a career in education, where they feel ready and prepared to take on the classroom and address the needs of their students, it is important to look at the pre-service teachers themselves and their perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes about education.
The perceptions and expectations of teachers are of crucial importance to the way that a teacher behaves in a classroom (Giovannelli, 2003; Ross & Gray, 2006). The study of pre-service teacher perception is a crucial topic of research for, not only the teacher education community, but for the larger educational community as a whole. Teacher perception, or cognition, is a concept that encompasses what teachers know, believe and think. This concept comes into play in the larger educational discourse through the recognition of the relationship that perceptions and cognitions have with teacher behaviors. In other words, teacher perceptions are an important topic of study because they influence what a teacher does on a day-to-day basis in the classroom
Pre-service teachers should be questioned on what their vision of a classroom looks like, who the students in that classroom are, and where that classroom is located For example, do undergraduate pre-service teachers perceive that ideal classroom as located in an urban, suburban or rural area? What type of student population do they envision teaching in the future? What type of teaching technique do they plan to implement? Student centered, teacher directed, etc? What is their philosophy of education? In turn, how does this influence their beliefs about education?
Through teacher preparation programs, pre-service teachers are beginning to think about and reflect on what they envision their own classrooms will look like. As a result of this, it is important that teacher educators provide opportunities for pre-service teachers to reflect on their own teaching practices and how this will translate into their future career as educators.