European journal of teacher education vol:33 issue:1 pages:3-18
This study focuses on student teachers' perceptions of their professional identity. The respondents are students enrolled in a three-year course in secondary education teaching at bachelor level. Questionnaires were filled out by first-year, second-year and third-year students from two colleges. The questionnaire included four scales: commitment to teaching, professional orientation, task orientation and self-efficacy. In the first five months of the first-year course, a shift in students' task orientation was observed: students developed a more pupil-centred view on teaching. Practical experience with classroom teaching again caused a shift: students focused less on the subject matter, on maintaining order in the classroom, on the long-term educational qualification targets and self-efficacy decreased. Students with work placement experience developed a more 'realistic' view of learning and teaching compared to students without this experience. A final important difference in professional identity is based on students' gender: while male students tend to attach more importance to discipline in the classroom, their female counterparts focus more on student involvement.