Being first year B.Ed. Foundation phase student teachers at a university: Wrestling apprehension in and through a chosen career

  • F. Ravhuhali University of Venda
  • Z. MacDonald CPUT
  • T.S. Mashau University of Venda
  • P.N. Lavhelani University of Venda
  • H.N. Mutshaeni University of Venda



This paper sought to understand the anxieties and challenges of Foundation Phase student teachers during their teacher training programmes and ask the following question: What are the student teachers’ anxieties and challenges with regard to their chosen career path in the years ahead? In this paper, researchers argue that the vast number of students suffer from anxiety better known to themselves. The paper argues that the diverse nature of anxieties experienced by student teachers had varied adverse consequences and might lead to dropping out of the programme or simply leading a miserable career life. Qqualitative exploratory design was utilised in which a purposive sampling procedure was adopted in selecting three hundred and eighty-three (383) respondents doing Foundation Phase Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programme from three (3) universities. The most identified causes of student anxiety revolve around finances, self-esteem, career identities and choices conundrum. This paper would not necessary provide all the answers but seeks to provide deeper understanding of the anxieties experienced by student teachers and provide credible empirical findings. The researchers recommend that this study be conducted in other universities across South Africa

Author Biography

F. Ravhuhali, University of Venda
Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning



Armstrong, P. (2009). Teacher pay in South Africa: How attractive is the teaching profession? A Working Paper of the Department of Economics and the Bureau for Economic Research at the University Of Stellenbosch: 04/09. Retrieved on November 22, 2015.From:

Bailey, G. & Johnson, B. (ny) Preservice Teachers' Beliefs about Discipline Before and After Student Teaching. Retrieved on March 31, 2015. From:

Barry, H. (2014). Teachers’ salaries: Who earns more? Moneyweb, 14 January 2014 13:26

Retrieved on November 22, 2015.From:

Britzman, D. P. (1986). Cultural myths in the making of a teacher: Biography and social structure in teacher education. Harvard Educational Review, 45(4), 442-456.

Burns, D. J. (2004). Anxiety at the Time of the Final Exam: Relationships with Expectations and Performance. Journal of Education for Business, 80 (2),119-124.

Council on Higher Education (CHE) (2015). Content Analysis of the Baseline Institutional Submissions for Phase 1 of the Quality Enhancement Project, Institutional Audits Directorate, May 2015.

Council on Higher Education (2010). Report on the national review of academic and professional programmes in education. Pretoria: CHE.

Chong, S., Ling, L. E., & Chuan, G. K. (2011). Developing Student Teachers’ Professional Identities – An Exploratory Study. International Education Studies, 4 (1), 30-38.

Crandell, T. L., Crandell, C. H., & Vander Zanden, J. W. (2012). Human Development (10th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill.

Cresswell, J.W. (2012). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (4th ed). Boston: Pearson.

Daniels, L. M., Mandzuk, D., Perry, R. P., Moore, C. (2011). The Effect of Teacher Candidates’ Perceptions of Their Initial Teacher Education Program on Teaching Anxiety, Efficacy, and Commitment. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 57 (1), 88-106.

De Beer, J. (2013). Challenging students’ perceptions of what it means to become a teacher:

Annual first-year excursion, 9(1), 4. Retrieved January 10,2012. From:EDU.brief@UJ>,

Department of Education (DoE). (2005). A National Framework for Teacher Education in South Africa. The Report of the Ministerial Committee on Teacher Education. Republic of South Africa.

Department of Basic Education (DBE). (2015). Five-Year Strategic Plan 2015/16-2019/20. . Retrieved on November 22, 2015.From:

Department of Basic Education (DBE). (2015). Action Plan to 2019: Towards the realisation of Schooling 2030. Taking forward South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030. Retrieved November 22, 2015. From:

Dobson, C. (2012). Effects Of Academic Anxiety on the Performance of Students with and Without Learning Disabilities And How Students Can Cope With Anxiety at School. A Proposal Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Education at Northern Michigan University. Retrieved on November 07, 2015.From:

Eysenck, M.W., Derakshan, N., Santos, R. & Calvo, M.G. (2007). Anxiety and Cognitive Performance: Attentional Control Theory. Emotion, 7(2), 336-353.

Fischer, W. F. (1970). Theories of Anxiety. NY & London: Harper & Row.

Gamble, A. (2009). Anxiety and Education: Impact, Recognition & Management Strategies. Conference Proceedings: Mental Health and Wellbeing: Recognising Problems and Supporting School Aged Children. Hippocrate & Socrate XIV 3 and 4 September 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2015.From:

Gocken, L. (2012). Student teaching demands time commitment is a full workload. The collegian. Retrieved on November 22, 2015. From:

Goldberg, J. (2014). Anxiety Disorders. Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center. Retrieved on November 20, 2015. From:

Gujjar, A. A., Naoreen, B., Saifi, S., & Bajwa, M. J. (2010). Teaching Practice: Problems and issues in Pakistan. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 2 (2), 339-361.

Hamaidi, D., Al-shara, I., Arouri, Y., & Abu Awwad, F. (2014). Student teachers’ perspectives of practicum practices and challenges. European Scientific Journal, 10 (13), 191-213.

Heeralal, P.J. & Bayag, A. (2011). Pre-Service Teachers’ Experiences of Teaching Practice: Case of South African University. Journal of Social Sciences, 28(2): 99-105.

Halvorsen, K. V. (2014). Building Teacher Identity in a New Partnership Project: Multiple Perspectives. Journal of Studies in Education, 4 (1):11-24.

Hill, A., Thornhill, C., & Alexander, J. (2007). Teaching reading: student teachers and the schooling context. Retrieved July 29, 2015. From:,%20Thornhill%20C%20,%20Alexander%20J.pdf

Hofmeyr, J. & Graham, H. (1996). The National Teacher Education Audit: Synthesis Report.

Hogg, M.A. (2000). Subjective uncertainty reduction through self-categorization: A motivational theory of social identity processes. European Review of Social Psychology, 11, 223-255.

Hogg, M.A. (2007). Uncertainty-identity theory. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.). Advances in experimental social psychology, 39, 69–126. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Hogg, M. A. (2012). Uncertainty-identity theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (pp. 62–80). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Human Development Resource Council (HDRC). (2014). Building teacher professionalism for quality basic education, South Africa. Retrieved on July 29, 2015.From:

Kumar, R. (1996). Research Methodology: A Step-by-step Guide for Beginners. London: SAGE Publications.

Leedy, P. D., & Ormrod, J. E. (2013). Practical Research: Planning and Design (10th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Liam, E. (2012). Learning to teach: A Descriptive study of student language Teachers in Taiwan. English Language Teaching, 5 (12), 152-162.

Lyneham, H. (2009). The Impact of Anxiety on Student Performance? Retrieved on November 07, 2015. Available From:

Lodico, M., Spaulding, D. T., & Voegtle, K. H. (2006). Methods in Educational Research: From Theory to Practice. Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.

Mabasa, L. T. (2011). Preparing Student Teachers in dealing with disciplinary issues in Schools. South African Journal of Higher Education, 25(8), 1541-1552.

MacBeath, J. (2012). Future of Teaching Profession. Education International Research Institute. University of Cambridge: Leadership for Learning, the Cambridge Network.

Majavu, A. (2015). Newly Qualified Black Teachers Struggle to find jobs despite overcrowding in South Africa Classrooms. The South African Civil Society Information Service (SACSIS). Retrieved on August 15, 2015 from:

Mapfumo, J. S., Chitsiko, N. & Chireshe, R. (2012). Teaching Practice generated stressors and coping mechanisms among student teachers in Zimbabwe. South African Journal of Education, 32(2):155-156.

Marais, P. & Meier, C. (2004). Hear our voices: Student teachers' experiences during practical teaching. Africa Education Review, 1(2), 220-233.

Marsh, S. (2015, January 27). Five top reasons people become teachers – and why they quit. The Guardian, Retrieved on November 07, 2015 from:

Maynard, T. & Furlong, J. (1993). Learning to teach and models of mentoring, in D. McIntyre, H. Hagger and M. Wilkin (Eds.) Mentoring: Perspectives on school-based teacher education, London: Kogan.

Meetei, N. R. (2012). A critical study of impact of academic anxiety on academic achievement of class sixth students. Retrieved on November 21, 2015.From:

Merriam, S.B. (2009). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. (2nd ed). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Myers, D. G. (2014). Exploring Psychology. (4th ed). New York: Worth Publishers.

Miller, M. (2014). Matt Miller’s Plan to Make Teaching the Most Attractive Profession in America. Retrieved November 22, 2015. From:

Miller, D., & Fraser, E. (ny). Stress associated with being a Student Teacher: Opening out the Perspective. Retrieved on November 26, 2015. From: http:///

Minahan, J. & Rappaport, N. (2013). Anxiety in students: A hidden culprit in behaviour issues., 94(4), 34-39. Retrieved on November 07, 2015. From:

Mlambo, S. (2014). Disillusioned teachers leaving profession, IOL News, September 30 2014. Retrieved on November 07, 2015. From:

Modipane, M. C. (2011). Initial Experiences of First entering students at the University of Limpopo: Implications for Coping with Academic Work/Studies. South African Journal of Higher Education, 25(8), 1592-1607.

Mudzielwana, N. P. (2015). Student teachers’ reasons for choosing teaching as a career: A case study of First year students from a rural university. International Journal of Educational Science, 10 (1), 35-42.

Mutshaeni, H. N., Denhere, C., Ravhuhali, F. (2015). High School Students’ Attitudes towards the Teaching Profession. J Sociology and Social Anthropology, 6(2), 227-233.

Nadeem, M., Ali, A., Maqbool, S., & Zaidi, S.U. (2012). Impact of Anxiety on the Academic Achievement of Students Having Different Mental Abilities at University level in Bahawalpur (Southern Punjab) Pakistan. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 4(3), 519-528.

Ncontsa, V. N., & Shumba, A. (2013). The nature causes and effects of school violence in South African high schools. South African Journal of Education, 33(3), 1-15.

Ngidi, D.P. & Sibaya, P. T. (2003). Student teacher anxieties related to practice teaching. South African Journal of Education, 23(1), 18-22.

Nnenna, E. E., & Olanrewaju, M. K. (2015). Teaching Practice Anxiety Sources as Correlates of Teaching Performance among Student Teachers in Federal Colleges of Education in South-western Nigeria. European Scientific Journal, 11(22), 181-196.

Okeke, C., & Van Wyk, M. (Eds) (2015). Educational Research: An African approach. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

Otanga, H. & Mwangi, J. (2015). Student Teachers' Anxiety and Satisfaction with Teaching Practice among University Students in Kenya. International Journal of Education and Research, 3(8), 1-12.

Palmer, P. J. (1997). The Heart of a Teacher: Identity and Integrity in Teaching. The essay from edited excerpts of the Introduction, Chapter I, and Chapter V of Parker J. Palmer’s book, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997). Retrieved September 15, 2015. From:

Rao, M. R. (2008). 'Teaching has become an unattractive profession'. The Economic Times magazine. Retrieved on November 22, 2015. From:

RSA Department of Education (DoE) (1997). Education White Paper 3: A Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education. Pretoria: Government Printers.

Republic of South Africa, Department of Higher Education and Training (RSA DHET). (2011). Policy on Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications. Pretoria: Government Printers.

Republic of South Africa, Department of Higher Education and Training. (RSA DHET) (2015). Revised Policy on Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications. Pretoria: Government Printers.

RSA Department of Education (DoE). (1995). White Paper on Education and Training in a Democratic South Africa: First Steps to Develop a New System. Pretoria: Government Printers.

Russell, G. (2008). Social Anxiety: The elephant in your classroom? Education and Health, 26(3):50-53.

SANRC (South African partner of the National Resource Centre) (2015). South African partner of the National Resource Centre for the First year Experience and Students in Transition housed at the University of South Carolina. Retrieved on November 15, 2015. From:

Schoeman, S.& Mabunda, P.L. (2012). Teaching practice and the personal and socio-professional Development of prospective teachers. South African Journal of Education, 32(3),240-254.

Strongman, K. T. (1995). Theories of Anxiety. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 24 (2):4-10.

Sexton, S.S. (2007). Power of Practitioners: How Prior Teachers Informed the Teacher Role Identity of Thirty-Five Entry-Level Pre-Service Teacher Candidates. Educate, 7 (2):46-57.

Swartz, L., de la Rey, C., Duncan, N., Townsend, L., & O’Neill, V. (2011). Psychology: An Introduction (3rd ed). Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

Swift, P., Cyhlarova, E., Goldie, I., & O’Sullivan, C., Bristow, P., Carson, J., Biggs, H., & Edwards, J. (2014). Living with Anxiety: Understanding the role and impact of anxiety in our lives. Mental Health Awareness Week 2014. Mental Health Foundation. Retrieved on November 21, 2015. From:

Tateo, L. (2012). What Do You Mean By “Teacher”? Psychological Research on Teacher Professional Identity. Psicologia & Sociedade, 24 (2), 344-353.

Valcke, M., Sang I., Rots, I. & Hermans, R. (2010). Taking Prospective Teachers’ Beliefs into Account in Teacher Education. In Penelope Peterson, Eva Baker, Barry McGaw (Eds) International Encyclopaedia of Education, 7, 622-628.

Van der Merwe, M. (2015). Knife’s edge: How dangerous are South Africa’s schools? Daily Maverick. Retrieved on November 08, 2015. From:

Villette, F. (2015, May 18). Student teachers funding shock. Cape Times. Retrieved August 28, 2015.From:

Wagenaar, M. (2005). Student Teachers' Experiences of Practice Teaching. Research project submitted in partial fulfillment for the Degree of Master of Educational Psychology of the University of Zululand, Department of Educational Psychology: KwaDlangezwa. Retrieved on July17, 2015. From:

Živković, P. (2013). Professional Development and Teachers Professional Identity: Self-Assessment in Republic of Serbia. Journal of Educational and Instructional Studies in the World, 3 (1), 150-158.

How to Cite
Ravhuhali, F., Z. MacDonald, T.S. Mashau, P.N. Lavhelani, and H.N. Mutshaeni. 2019. “Being First Year B.Ed. Foundation Phase Student Teachers at a University: Wrestling Apprehension in and through a Chosen Career”. South African Journal of Higher Education 33 (3), 98-114.
General Articles