Often studies examining the development of a sense of professional efficacy in pre-service educators are concerned with either the systemic viewpoint of teacher education programmes or the relationship between the perceptions of pre-service educators and what is “really” happening in the classroom. The intent of this study is to investigate the question “What do pre-service educators perceive that they know and that they need to know to develop a sense of professional efficacy? solely from the vantage point of the pre-service educator. The study encompasses two specific objectives: --- to identify through narrative analysis the circumstances of the construction of and the content of the knowledge created by the pre-service educators from their experiences --- to investigate and describe the relationship of the knowledge constructed by the pre-service educators to the development of a sense of professional efficacy. The study attempts to produce an in-depth qualitative description of the explicit and sometimes tacit perceptions of four pre-service educators as they prepared to begin professional careers. Four pre-service educators enrolled in a recently developed innovative Post Graduate Certificate of Education programme at a large urban university in South Africa participated in the study over a two year period. The perceptions of the pre-service educators are presented through an analysis of the narratives taken from interviews and reflective journal entries. The narratives are analyzed using a variety of narrative inquiry methods which were investigated and described as part of this study. The interpretation of the narratives is also informed by theoretical constructs such as professional efficacy and knowledge and private theory. Through the analysis and interpretation of the narratives the unique and individual nature of learning to become an educator as well as similarities of experience were revealed. Ultimately the broad aim of this study through the use of narrative inquiry methodology and methods is to add the “voices” of these pre-service educators to a larger dialogue and to the collective body of evidence of how one learns to become an educator with a sense of professional efficacy.
Thesis (PhD (Curriculum Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2006.