Bridging the gap between pre-service teacher education and in-service teachers’ experiences in Spain

This report examines the curriculum offered to pre-service teachers in Master's programmes at two universities in Spain, particularly in relation to the training and preparation required by in-service teachers for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms.

Teacher talking to class


The first teaching years are critical for novice teachers as this transition period could lead to teachers leaving the profession (Farrell, 2012; Moon, 2007). Teacher education should prepare and support teachers to ensure teacher retention and avoid teacher attrition. This study aims to bridge the gap between pre-service teacher education and in-service teacher development, with the idea that novice teachers should experience a smoother transition from teacher preparation to their first teaching years. Data was gathered qualitatively by using classroom observations and semi-structured interviews with in-service and pre-service teachers. This study examined teacher education in Spain and its applicability in the classroom for novice EFL teachers in secondary and further education state schools.

Findings revealed the need for including more practical opportunities, a longer placement and adopting a more realistic approach to teacher education. Several classroom challenges and resulting training needs were exposed and these included classroom management skills and improving pre-service teachers’ competencies to safeguard inclusivity and diversity in the EFL classroom. This research suggests an urgency to reconcile pre-service teacher education objectives and in-service teachers’ needs and to inform teacher training programmes so that novice teachers can be better prepared for the complexity of real classrooms. Continuous and formal programme evaluation, as well as meaningful communication and collaboration among stakeholders, are some of the recommendations from this study.

Based on participants’ experiences and beliefs, this study illustrates strengths and weaknesses of the teacher training programme in two Spanish universities. This investigation may be a starting point towards a formal evaluation of this Master’s which should aim to facilitate the transition from pre-service to in-service teaching and avoid the ‘reality shock’ that teachers often face. If we want to bridge the gap between pre-service teacher education and in-service teachers’ experiences, there is need to design training which is based on a more realistic view of the 21st-century classroom, and we can only do this if we include the perspective of those who are currently teaching.

This publication is free to download in PDF format below. The text is creative commons licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 

Citation: Gadella Kamstra, L. S. (2024). Bridging the gap between pre-service teacher education and in-service teachers’ experiences in Spain. British Council. doi.org/10.57884/ZZGN-0K41

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