Training for Small Group Instruction in Pre-Service Teacher Education: Pedagogical Instructors’ Perceptions
Source: The European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences, 2016
According to the New Horizon educational reform, all teachers in Israel must implement small group instruction within the school curriculum. Small group instruction is perceived as an opportunity to provide a supportive learning environment that can enable schools to reach their educational aims in individualized ways. Having examined the implementation of small group instruction by novice teachers, our objective is to present the results of a research which aimed to clarify how pedagogical instructors perceive training for small group instruction, and how small group instruction is embedded in their curricula. Data were collected from 16 pedagogical advisors pertaining to EFL, Physical Education, special Education, and Sciences.
The findings emerging from this research shows a duality in the pedagogical instructors’ perceptions of the importance assigned to teaching for small group instruction hours. On the one hand, small group instruction hours are perceived as important enough to constitute part of teacher training, but on the other hand, they are considered as a subject that it is preferable for students to learn to implement during their practice teaching. Therefore, this research places training for implementing small group instruction on the educational and public agenda as a dual issue, presenting a gap between perceptions of its importance and its absence from the training program in the teacher education process.
To summarize, this modest research places training for implementing small group instruction on the educational and public agenda as a dual issue presenting a gap between perceptions of its importance and its absence from the training program in the teacher education process. From previous research carried out on implementing small group instruction by novice teachers in the first year of teaching (Od-Cohen & Hadari, 2015) clearly shows the necessity of this training as a proper process of induction into teaching. In light of the current research findings, and in order to allow proper implementation of small group instruction, not just as part of implementing the 'New Horizon' educational reform but also to allow novice teachers to implement small group instruction hours as a critical teaching process to improve and reinforce learning at schools and raise achievements of the education system, we recommend training pedagogical instructors themselves in this critical area. Therefore, it is recommended to develop, within teacher training institutions, frameworks to professionally develop pedagogical instructors so that they will be able to pass knowledge and skills along to student teachers as part of the training process.