Volume 47- Number 3 - 2006 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2006.03045
This study describes student teachers' perceptions of important elements of the student teaching experience. Selected characteristics of student teachers and their cooperating centers are also identified. The purposive sample (N = 25) included all student teachers who completed a 12-week field experience during the spring 2004 semester. Student teachers rated 34 elements of student teaching before and after the experience using a summated rating scale: "5" = "High Importance", "1" = "No Importance." Questionnaire items also identified selected characteristics of participants. Cronbach's coefficient alpha reliability estimates for five core areas of the experience ranged from .60 to .84; the overall importance scale yielded an estimate of .91. The overall pretest and posttest means were 4.30 and 4.58, respectively, or about midway between "much" and "high importance." Results from both observations revealed student teachers perceived that the relationship with their cooperating teacher was the most important aspect of the student teaching experience. Perceptions related to students' SAEs held the lowest importance before and after student teaching. Findings provide some support for what other researchers posit about the role of concrete experience and modification of one's perceptions, especially viewpoints that may have been abstracted originally.