Kindergarten teachers' perception on pre-service and in-service teacher training factors which influence the educational practicum

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Professional development of teachers has become an essential condition in today's knowledge-based society to sustain the quality of teaching. Any direction of the professional development inquires actions related to teachers' identity,
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  Masari, G. (2013). Kindergarten teachers' perception on pre-service and in-service teacher trainingfactors which influence the educational practicum. In E. Seghedin, G. Masari (eds.) KnowledgeBased Society - Teaching Proffesion Challenges . pp. 279-292. Iasi: Institutul European. ________________________________________________________________________________ Kindergarten teachers' perception on pre-service and in-service teacher trainingfactors which influence the educational practicum Masari Gianina-Ana, postdoctoral researcher, Romanian Academy, Iasi Branch Abstract Professional development of teachers has become an essential condition in today'sknowledge-based society to sustain the quality of teaching. Any direction of the professional development inquires actions related to teachers' identity, learning, adaptation,changes, transformation, and losses throughout the life span. Because of a number of factors such as personal experiences, social environment and organizational influences,teachers professional development moves in and out of specifical developmental phases.Modes of thought and action are direct constrained by relationships to people, relationalnetworks, places, objects, ethical, structural, economical, policy, personal, and culturally practices and symbolic systems have important implications for the study of professionallearning through the life span.The purpose of this research paper concerns on two studies that investigated whichfactors are involved during the specifical professional developmental phases of teachingcareer, and kindergarten teachers' perception on pre-service and in-service teacher trainingfactors which influence the educational practicum. The final remarks of the teachers is thattheir professional development should aim to skills of personal development, managementdecision making, taking responsibility and interaction with others, creating opportunitiesfor professional skills training. This paper was made within The Knowledge Based SocietyProject supported by the Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development(SOP HRD), financed from the European Social Fund and by the Romanian Governmentunder the contract number POSDRU 89/1.5/S/56815.  Key words : professional development; factors; teacher perceptions; in-service training; pre-service training; kindergarten teachers. Introduction Professional development of teachers has become an essential condition in today'sknowledge-based society to sustain the quality of teaching. Any direction of the professional development inquires actions related to teachers' identity, learning, adaptation,changes, transformation, and losses throughout the life span. The speed and explosion of knowledge has important implications for the role of the school. Nowdays, the teaching profession requires a highly skilled person, and this is not at all an easy process. Teachersmust develop themselves some new personal skills, like emotional communication,motivation for learning, design skills for making computer and media products,counselling, and research skills. Because of a number of factors such as personalexperiences, social environment and organizational influences, teachers professionaldevelopment moves in and out of specifical developmental phases. Modes of thought andaction are direct constrained by relationships to people, relational networks, places, objects,ethical, structural, economical, policy, personal, and culturally practices and symbolicsystems have important implications for the study of professional learning through the lifespan. Many researchers, like Loucks-Horsley and Matsumoto (1999), Hawley and Valli(2001), Vannatta and Fordham (2004), Klieger and Yakobovitch (2012), Tse, Ming et all(2012) argue that some of the most significant factors are the level of guidance and supportthrough-out the implementation stages, and their willingness to accept the changes, thedegree to which teachers support those changes, and their investment above and beyondtheir regular duties for its success. The willingness is closely related to perception that plays a significant role in an individual's career decision-making, because it can maximizethe learning process and teaching approaches. Borko and Putnam (1995) argue that perceptions play a critical role in how teachers learn and make changes in their teaching practice. I believe that knowing/investigating their perceptions it could be a way for   curriculum designers and policy makers to redesign pre-service and in-service teacher training programs.Therefore, this research paper concerns on two studies that investigated whichfactors are involved during the specifical professional developmental phases of teachingcareer, and kindergarten teachers' perception on pre-service and in-service teacher trainingfactors which influence the educational practicum. The first study  Defining the terms It is necessary to make a difference between the terms of teaching training andteacher professional development. Teaching training aims to complete a set of logical andsystematic assimilation of knowledge and skills with the ultimate goal of achieving practical and theoretical skills in order to obtain an initial qualification in a particular field.Professional development means to assimilate new knowledge, abilities and skills by thosewho are already skilled in an area. The teacher professional development is a complex andsystematic process of acquiring knowledge, skills and practical skills related to specificrequirements and personal needs to optimize the performance achieved up to that point withthe ultimate goal of obtaining a specialization in that field.Until a few decades ago, there was used only teaching training as a term, but due tothe complexity of the concept was taken by the professional development. Our opinion isthat the professional development as part of teacher development includes the developmentof new educational activities from different perspectives, and also the development of the beliefs and concepts associated with those perspectives to approach teaching.  A brief emerging models to professional development  In recent years, numerous studies presents the professional development fromvarious perspectives, such as school implications, the teacher or the director. Some models put the professional development in relation to the purpose, location, length of the training program, methods used and the impact of the program. Other models are related to possibleareas where there can be achieved professional development needs, such as educational   practice, the curriculum, counseling, cross-curricular themes, management and career development. Other analysis models of professional development are based on identifyingindividual factors that influence the teaching professional development, like: educationalvalues, learning style, professional context, personal responsibilities, the vision of  professionalism, teacher job requirements, annual evaluation of the teacher, chair or department priorities, school development plan priorities of the school, national or local priorities, opportunities / resources available etc.. For example, Edelfet (1983, p. 102) provides a conceptual model for professional development model focused on four contexts: personal development, teacher development, improving the school environment andeducational actions optimization role. Fessler's conceptual model (1985, pp. 181-183) isdesigned by reference to three environments that influence each other: personalenvironment, organizational environment and career cycle. The Ray Bolam's model (1986)reminds us that the professional development can be more or less oriented towards system /whole school or to the individual needs of those involved. Or the Bell and Gilbert's model(1994) is focused on three dominant: social, personal and professional.  Developmental phases of teaching  Phases of professional development are not linear. Teachers move in and out of  phases because of a number of factors such as personal experiences, social environment andorganizational influences. Various studies of teachers’ professional development haveidentified different phases that teachers go through during their careers. Some of thecommonly identified phases are called as initial survival and exploration phase, followed by stabilization phase, than an experimentation and diversification stage in which teachersare highly motivated to try out new ideas and increase their teching impact, and finally a phase of serenity in which teachers come to terms with themselves.The first phase, between 21 and 28 years, is known as ''entry into the adult world'' because it involves self-image changing. Getting a job is considered a rebirth. It is the period in which the beginner's behavior oscillates between adolescence and the youngadult, it is the time when he has to sacrifice the comfort and parental home and he has to be  identified with a profession which involves certain rituals and values. Now, it is the timewhen the basic concern of the beginner teacher is to take responsibility and to be makethings to be seen by colleagues and staff management, and to prove that he tries to cope for  better job requirements. This is the period when teacher appropriates best teaching skills,and he enters directly into contact with the reality of the class by identifying effective waysof classroom management, particularly focused on actions to maintain children order.Basically, he tests different approaches of classroom management, building his own style of teaching. But usually, this newly style of teaching is based on previous experiences duringhis nurturing, and here once again it emphasizes the role of quality in education.Summarizing specific elements of this stage, beginner teachers develop their own teachingstyle in relation to the activities, and they have very rare opportunities to observe or toassist experienced colleagues during their work. Also, they have limited opportunities toexpand their teaching training. Most often, during their short meetings there are presented afew appropriated codes to approach some activities with emphasis on communication andnetworks with pupils and colleagues, or how to dress or to get involved in extra-curricular activities. There are also situations in which some of them, a small part that's right, realize acareer plan in another direction. Usually, by the end of this stage most teachers have formedsome ambitions about a career plan and they have already experienced some promotion possibilities. It is a time of inner conflict between what they want to do and what it offers.Resolving these conflicts can lead to maturity and to the next stageof professionaldevelopment.The second phase is specific to the period between 28 and 33 years, called transitionage to 30 years. The teacher takes on new responsibilities, he lives his first failure andopportunities of starting a new career. Most teachers feel more confident in their ownforces, and they want to take as much responsibility at work and in relationships withothers. Some teachers may value the promotion opportunities, while others may feeloverlooked. With increasing confidence in their teaching skills, they become more relaxedin applying different methods of teaching approach and they show greater confidence inteaching experience gained. It is a phase characterized by a high level of physical fatiguedue the overlap of biological rhythm changes with assuming the first familyresponsibilities.
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