Zeynep Gülşah Kani, Cevdet Yılmaz


Observation skills and strategies which prospective teachers acquire during their school experience are of paramount importance for the development of their experiential knowledge about the teaching profession in the field of English as a foreign language (EFL). The intent of the present study is to explore the effect of different types of observation on the professional development of twenty pre-service EFL teachers during their school experience under the supervision of two EFL teacher trainers as the researchers in the current situation. To this end, the unstructured and structured forms of observation which pre-service teachers completed according to a twelve-week observation task schedule, student teachers’ and supervisors’ field notes and an opinion questionnaire provided a wide range of data in a qualitative research design. Also, in-depth interviews were conducted with six participants willing to reflect more on the contributions of these tools on their professional development. The tasks of observations consisted of both learner-centred and teacher-centred areas such as the learner, the lesson, learning, materials, teaching skills, and classroom management, and each task demanded pre-service teachers to pay attention to different elements of what went on in the classroom. The pre-service teachers were encouraged to explore teaching in the areas of their interest and choice in addition to the areas specified by the supervisors; therefore, each of them chose one extra area in the last week of observation they conducted unstructurally. The findings point out that both unstructured and structured types of observation are beneficial for the professional development of pre-service teachers from different aspects. While the first gives way to them to see the whole picture of a classroom and record the important points according to their own perceptual differences in particular teaching situations, the latter facilitates their concentration on more specific issues about the teaching profession and methodology. The study concludes by showing the fruitful sides of bringing both kinds of observation together and suggesting the need to develop such tools of observation-in-action for the possible integration into the training of prospective teachers.


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pre-service EFL teachers; tools of observation; school experience; professional development

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