University of Limerick
LC_pthesis.pdf (2.73 MB)

Becoming a teacher: students’ experiences and perceptions

Download (2.73 MB)
posted on 2023-02-03, 16:21 authored by Lisa Coady
This research is focused on teacher education students in initial, concurrent teacher education programmes at the University of Limerick (UL). This longitudinal study tracks two cohorts of student teachers from Year Two to Year Four of their undergraduate programme and analyses their experiences during their initial teacher education (ITE). This thesis begins by examining the need for research on second-level teacher education, outlining evidenced gaps in the existing body of research in the Irish context and highlighting areas that merit further consideration with reference to current policy. The study then presents key data on teaching as a career in Ireland and considers recent developments, which recognise the needs of student and beginning teachers. This is followed by an analysis of the growth of concurrent programmes both nationally and internationally and a synopsis of traditional models of ITE in Ireland. This section of the thesis concludes with a summation of how the concurrent teacher education programmes at UL have evolved since their inception and how changes that have ensued have manifested in terms of programme content and format. The subsequent literature review begins by appraising the traditional approach to teacher education and trends pertaining to the theoretical underpinning of programmes. It considers how educational theory has been incorporated into teacher education and perceived by student teachers. This is followed by a discussion of the place of educational theory in teacher education and the relationship between both educational theory and the theory of teaching and how these relate to real-life teaching. This study examines findings from both cross-sectional and longitudinal data and investigates student teachers’ perceptions of their needs and requirements during preservice teacher education and their perceptions of their experiences during teaching practice (TP). The research findings create a profile of the student teachers studying at UL and consider how student teachers’ own educational histories, learning styles and academic abilities impact on their experiences. It considers how student teachers see the university and faculty vis-à-vis the reality of classroom life and reveals the gap between the “type” of educational practice advocated by the university and that experienced by students in schools. It investigates the nature and quality of support students receive and whether this support is sufficient to successfully navigate their experiences on TP. Specifically this study maps student teachers’ developmental journey through teacher education, encompassing their perceptions of planning and reflection, their experiences within the school environment, their feelings about TP and teaching and overall, their feelings of preparedness to begin full-time teaching.



  • Faculty of Education and Health Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Teresa O'Doherty





Department or School

  • School of Education

Usage metrics



    No categories selected


    Ref. manager