Primary teacher trainees in Trinidad and Tobago: Characteristics, images, experiences and expectations


This monograph reports on a study that was undertaken to provide some insights into the characteristics, image experiences, and expectations of the student teachers in Trinidad and Tobago so that educators can provide programmes that take cognizance of these qualities in the attempt to adequately prepare these trainees for there work in primary school classrooms. Three different techniques were employed to collect data: 1) The examination of the personal files of trainees to determine their entry characteristics; 2) administration of a questionnaire to obtain survey data; and 3) small-group work with 16 volunteers utilizing autobiographies, focus group interviews, and one-on-one interviews. It was found that, on the whole trainees have an image of the good teacher as caring and nurturing, as technically proficient in the classroom, and as performing in difficult contexts where intrinsic rewards can enhance their self-image, but where poor working conditions and the low status accorded the profession may militate against a feeling of satisfaction on the job. The trainees not only had images of the teacher as expert, but they also expected to become experts as a result of their teachers’ college experiences. Their experience, though, was that the route to becoming an expert at the teacher’s colleges was not as facilitating as they had expected. Their expectations of how lecturers should treat them were sometimes not met.


First published as Discussion Paper 22 by the Centre of Centre for International Education, University of Sussex Institute of Education, August 2000. Available in CVTLIB

Table of Contents


teacher characteristics, primary school, teacher trainees