|dc.description.abstract||The purpose of this study was to examine the issue of conformity and the relationship
between student teachers and associate teachers during the pre-service practicum. The three
questions that guided this research included: (a) Did associate teachers expect pre-service
teachers to mirror their practices during the practicum? (b) Did student teachers describe and
expectation of conformity within their field experience?; and (c) What circumstances during the
practicum increased the likelihood of conformity?
This study was conducted with a sample of student teachers and associate teachers during
the 1999 - 2000 school term at one Ontario university, and it consisted of two phases of data
collection. The first stage involved preliminary interviews with one student teacher on two
separate occasions. The data from these interviews guided the surveys that were distributed to
student teachers and associate teachers in the second phase of data collection.
This study found that associate teachers indicated that conformity occurred, and a fraction
of these participants clearly expressed a desire for this behaviour. Other associate teachers may
have implied this expectation through communication, feedback, and their actions. The student
teachers suggested that conformity occurred in smaller numbers. Some participants expressed
that it was a requirement of the practicum, while others felt that conformity occurred out of
respect for the associate teacher.
With reference to the factors that contributed to conformity, a perceived expectation of
conformity and an associate teacher with more than 20 years of experience all increased the rate
of conformity with this group of participants. If student teachers observed for one week at the
start of their practicum and then proceeded to teach 3 - 4 lessons per day, they reduced their risk
o f conformity. Additional variables aside from the ones presently stated were also examined
within this research.||