Future-wishing, magical fantasies, yet being 'real': Snapshots of student teachers' perceptions during their initial training
This article explores student teachers' perceptions and experiences over the course of the training year. It discusses five important themes to emerge from responses at intervals during the year; themes which, although in some respects contradictory, combine to create a picture of the conflicting feelings experienced by student teachers. This tracking of student teachers' perceptions represents a synthesis of experiences to illustrate feelings and responses, demonstrated by student teachers at various points, in order to give a flavour of their experience. Over 140 students of modern foreign languages (MFL) from two separate higher education institutions in England participated in this longitudinal cohort study, which combined both quantitative and qualitative techniques (the qualitative data serve as the basis for this paper). Although the students were all specialising in modern foreign languages, this paper does not focus primarily on subject specific issues. Whilst some aspects, such as the pressures of course and teaching workloads, are to be predicted in such a study, other issues are more surprising, such as future-wishing and fantasising, which contrast sharply with the student teachers strong desire to be 'real' teachers. It is, however, this desire to be 'real' which appears to fuel the future-wishing and fantasies.
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