Views from below: students’ perceptions of teaching practice evaluations and stakeholder roles
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Interest in teaching practice as an essential component of teacher education is growing. In spite of this, there is a dearth of research investigating students’ perceptions of teaching practice evaluations from them as beneficiaries. This qualitative study examines students’ perceptions of teaching practice evaluations administered by means of observations and criteria-based forms from a systems theory approach, with a view to establishing how effectively all aspects of support, structure and teaching practice evaluation interact and contribute to the development of new teachers. The sample was drawn from one of three campuses that offer the teacher education programme. Data was gathered from 12 focus groups of 57 students using in-depth, semi-structured, open-ended interviews. Results revealed that, although students generally found teaching practice evaluations meaningful, several systemic factors mitigated against their growth and development. Recommendations included strengthening partnerships between schools and university and among all stakeholders; development of a teaching practice theoretical framework and alignment of teaching practice in the campuses that offer the teacher education programme, and developing teaching practice frameworks and structures that could offer students meaningful learning experiences while they are in the schools.