Experiences and Competencies of Final-Year Technology Student Teachers during Their Work-Integrated Learning
A Longitudinal Study
Alternative entrance requirements and flexible curriculum options for the four-year BEd degree in technology education were implemented in 2016 attempting to combat the trend of decreasing enrolment numbers. The entrance requirement of Engineering Graphics and Design (EGD) in year 12 was dropped, and Engineering Graphics and Technology Education (EGTE) as major at second-year level combined with Physical Sciences or Geography or Mathematics at third-year level, was introduced. The experiences and performances of students with or without EGD in year 12 were documented over a period of four years. The findings after the first stage of this longitudinal study, which were reported at the PATT36 conference, indicated that having done EGD in year 12 was not essential to pass at university level provided that sufficient support was provided to meet students’ needs and challenges. However, the students’ experiences and competencies during their final-year work-integrated learning period (WIL) is still unknown. The purpose of this stage of the study was to determine the students’ experiences and competencies during WIL. The research questions were: How did the WIL experiences of students with EGD in year 12 compare to those without EGD? How did the teaching competencies of students with EGD in year 12 compare to those without EGD? During the seven-week WIL period at schools, an observation schedule was completed for each student and a focus-group interview was also held. The findings revealed that implementing more flexible curriculum options, utilizing innovative and creative pedagogical practices, and receiving the required support from their mentor teachers during WIL, contributed towards these students becoming competent EGD teachers.
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