Student Teachers’ Experiences of Teaching Practice at Open and Distance Learning Institution in South Africa
This small-scale study focused on the experiences of student teachers towards teaching practice in an open and distance learning (ODL) institution in South Africa. The sample consisted of 65 fourth year students enrolled for Bachelor of Education, specializing in secondary school teaching. The mixed-method research design consisting of quantitative and qualitative approaches was used. Questionnaire and individual interview discussions were used as instruments for data collection. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze quantitative data. Content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. The study revealed that student teachers experienced challenges with regard to on-time placement in schools, supervision and mentoring. Based on the findings, recommendations were made. Among others was that mentors and university contracted supervisors should be constantly empowered through workshops to work effectively in leading and guiding student teachers. On the issues of placement of students in approved schools, the university should consider implementing a system which will enable students to place themselves online. Placing students in approved schools is a major challenge for the ODL institution in South Africa given the great number of students that have to be placed in schools every year and the slow pace at which the institution is moving to integrate technology in addressing the problem.
KEYWORDS: Teaching practice, open and distance learning, student teachers, experiences, South Africa.
DOI : 10.17718/tojde.306564