Investigating Perceptions of Pre-Service Teachers and Instructors about Field Experience: An Explanatory Study from a Federal University in the UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Quality of the field experience provided to pre-service teachers is a decisive factor in producing efficient and skilled teachers after graduation. To implement field experience of quality in pre-teacher training, it is first important to understand stakeholders’ perceptions about it. If any drawbacks in the programme are identified, then proper measures, programs and courses should be applied to enhance effectiveness of the field experience program. In federal universities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), research work on pre-service teachers’ perceptions of pre-service training is lacking. Therefore, the present study attempted to investigate the perceptions of pre-service teachers and instructors about their field experience. To do so, this research work employed Bem’s self-perception theory and Danielson’s framework for assessing the efficacy of the pre-service teachers’ teaching quality. Using these theoretical backgrounds, this research work used mixed methodology of quantitative surveys, followed by qualitative open-ended unstructured interviews in which 113 pre-service teachers and 13 instructors provided their perceptions about the field experience. Further, suggestions for improving the program were also collected. The surveys and interviews were conducted as per international ethical guidelines. After analysing the collected data, it was revealed that most of the pre-service teachers and instructors have highly positive perceptions about the field experience. However, some areas were identified which needed improvement, as a considerable fraction of the pre-service teachers and instructors provided negative feedback about these areas. These crucial drawbacks identified were discussed and suggestions for rectification are provided in the present study. Based on the results, the present study made proposals for improving field experience programs in UAE, which can be optimized further to provide world-class training for pre-service teachers in the UAE before they graduated as certified teachers. It is anticipated that the findings of the present research study will also help policymakers in the education sector to implement appropriate programs and training to achieve the highest skill levels, to strengthen the pre-service teachers’ preparation program. Furthermore, it is expected that the present study will add on to the essential knowledgebase for achieving the goals set for the education sector in the UAE’s Vision 2030.
field experience, self-perception, Danielson’s framework, federal university, United Arab Emirates (UAE), pre-service teachers