Author(s): Feryal CUBUKCU
Whitty (1996 :89–90) identifies two sets of qualities that characterise a successful professional teacher: professional characteristics and professional competences. Professional characteristics include professional values, personal and professional development, communication and relationships as well as synthesis and application. Professional competences include knowledge and understanding of children and their learning, subject knowledge, curriculum, the education system and the teacher’s role. On the other hand, Medley and Shannon (1994) hold that there are three dimensions of teacher quality instead of two: teacher effectiveness (the degree to which a teacher achieves desired effects upon students), teacher competence (the extent to which a teacher has the knowledge and skills) and teacher performance (how a teacher behaves in the process of teaching). In situations where the teachers are interpersonally oriented, attentive, empathic and fully cognizant of the students’ ability and they believe in the students, the students are extremely positive towards teaching (Skolverket, 1995; Chedzoy and Burden, 2007). Even if differences between schools and classes can be explained to a certain extent by factors in the students’ backgrounds, it is believed that teachers and school leaders are those who have the greatest influence on the school’s inner environment and culture. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to probe how student teachers in the English language teaching department see teachers’ competence and skills, to which factors they attribute their success and failure in language learning , and what they think the solutions are.