Cooperating teachers conceptions about their influence on teacher preperation in physical education

Por: A. Albuquerque, Amândio Braga dos Santos Graça e C. Januario.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The conceptions about being a teacher vary according to the different paradigms and orientations. The images put forward have been numerous and, often, contradictory. In a row, the efficient, the competent, the technical, the professional, the decision-maker, the researcher, or the reflexive teacher has been glorified. Each one of these images is ideally reflected in the contents, methods and strategies of teacher training, and interacts with the conceptions of all the members of the student teaching triad. This study intends to investigate one of those members the literature points up a critical role - the cooperating teachers. The query focused on his/her conceptual orientations in relation to teacher education; his/her knowledge, experience, and purposes and actions; his/her perceptions about the students teachers’ fears and needs, and about the kind of relationships he/she establishes with them.


The theoretical framework of the study was based on the Grossman’s [1] model of professional knowledge for teaching, and on Feiman-Nemser’s [2] conceptual orientations in teacher preparation. Fifteen physical education cooperating teachers from 7-12th grade schools in the District of Porto participated in the study. Data collection was made by means of open-ended semi-structured interviews. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and introduced into the qualitative data analysis NVivo2 software, which assisted the coding process. Common and opposing themes and perspectives among cooperating teachers’ conceptions were systematically searched. The measures of quality control of the data were made by active and systematic research of negative cases.


Findings suggested that cooperating teachers carried out the legacy of their own formative experiences and used it to construct their conceptions about student teaching and teacher preparation. Cooperating teachers’ conceptions were strongly influenced by the features of the models in which they were socialized to the profession, but also by the memories of their cooperating teacher, their supervisor, and their own professional experience. They built their role upon an evaluation of the degree of practicality, coherence and soundness of the conceptual basis underlying their formative experiences, as well as the direction and intensity of the related affective tone. Cooperating teachers called for specific and specialised in-service preparation, and for opportunity to share experiences with peers.


Differences among CT were apparent in central themes like teacher preparation goals, knowledge base for teaching, and learning to teach. Differences among CT and tension within each one emerged from dilemmas such as advising or assessing, transmitting or fostering reflection, helping to teach or learning to teach [3].


[1]. Grossman P. (1990). The Making of a Teacher: Teacher Knowledge and Teacher Education. New York, Teachers College Press
[2]. Feiman-Nemser, S. (1990). Teacher preparation: structural and conceptual alternatives. In W. R. Houston & M. Haberman & J. P. Sikula (Eds.), Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 212-233). New York: Macmillan.
[3]. Chaliès, S., & Durand, M. (2000). Note de synthèse. L’utilité du tutorat en formation initiale des enseignants. Recherche et Formation, 35: 145-180.



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