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Abstract

Teacher development programs incorporate field experiences for pre-service teachers (PTs) to gain first hand teaching experiences. The purpose of this study is to examine PTs’ perceptions of field experiences, and more specifically, to investigate whether these perceptions relate to PTs epistemological beliefs. A sample of 115 undergraduate educational psychology students completed the Epistemological Beliefs Inventory (EBI) and a Field Experience Questionnaire. Results indicated that PTs’ beliefs about teaching and learning influenced their perception of teaching. Students holding more sophisticated epistemological beliefs, as measured by the EBI, reported more positive perceptions of field experiences, while students holding more naïve epistemological beliefs focused on negative classroom issues such as behavior management. Results inform designers of field experiences on how to better prepare PTs for student teaching and underline the importance of efforts to foster more mature epistemological outlooks in developing teachers.

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