Becoming a teacher: Learning how to teach and learning how to be a teacher

Barbara Lent Lapetina, Fordham University


This hypothesis-generating study describes how student teachers reflect on their experiences becoming teachers. It is designed to examine and describe the student teaching experience from the perspective of the student teacher. Research focused on three major questions: (a) What do student teachers' reflections reveal about their understanding of the complexities of learning how to teach and learning how to be a teacher? (b) How do these reflections change over the course of a semester? and (c) What experiences contribute to the evolution of the student teacher's knowledge and beliefs? Four student teachers participated in the study. Through the method of student journals, summative narratives, interviews, and participant observation, the researcher came to understand how these student teachers reflected on and defined their student teaching experiences in the social context of an apprenticeship. Five hypotheses were generated by the study: (1) A student teacher's attitudes and beliefs about success in student teaching may depend upon the degree of self-efficacy he or she possesses. (2) Examining the student teacher's propensity for reflection may guide the growth and development of the student teacher. (3) Collaborative dialogue with their cooperating teachers seems to be the pivotal aspect in determining the degree to which the student teachers are able to develop new knowledge about classroom practice. (4) Learning how to teach may not be a process in which the prospective teacher moves through a predictable sequence of development but rather a process in which the student teacher orchestrates into a whole the separate parts of his or her education and training. (5) Understanding the process of the development of professional knowledge may contribute to that body of knowledge about student teaching that assists teacher educators in designing preservice programs that promote professional growth. Recommendations were suggested for further research in the above areas to foster learning how to teach and learning how to be a teacher.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Lapetina, Barbara Lent, "Becoming a teacher: Learning how to teach and learning how to be a teacher" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3021706.