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STEFE Databases



The STEFE (Student Teachers' Experiences in France and England) databases have been developed by Barry Jones at Homerton College, Cambridge.  They consist of two databases containing accounts of the experiences of French and English student teachers participating in a programme which combined the English Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), at Homerton College, Cambridge, with a Maîtrise: Français Langue Etrangère (Masters in French as a Foreign Language) at one of seven French universities.

The students spend the first five weeks in Cambridge studying modern foreign language teaching methodology, including ten days' observation and some teaching in a local secondary school.  They then spend four months in France completing their Maîtrise before returning to Cambridge at the end of January or the beginning of February to start teaching practice in a secondary school.  This continues until the end of the school summer term in late July.

A report giving more detail of the development of this project, including a full description of the course followed by the students can be found in the section on sub-projects.

The STEFE databases consist of interview data and diary data.  Interviews were conducted at different points through the year and edited extracts have been collected in the Exploring student teachers' experiences database.  Students also kept detailed diaries of their experiences, and four of these have been collected together in the Learning to teach French as a foreign language database.  Learning activities are available for use with the interview database, and will shortly be made available for use with the diary database.  

The databases are written as Windows Help (.hlp) files and should be compatible with PCs running Microsoft Windows 95 or above with functional Windows Help.  Clicking on the links below will save the databases to your computer as self-extracting zip files.  Once the program has been downloaded, double-click on the icon 'explore.exe' (or 'diary.exe')  and it will create a directory called 'explore' (or 'diary') on your PC containing the database as a .hlp file.  Double-click on that 'explore.hlp' (or 'diary.hlp') file to open it.

The databases and activities have been developed by Barry Jones at Homerton College, and the activities piloted with Homerton's PGCE / Maîtrise students.  The ways of working, procedures and questions suggested reflect this context.  Feel free to adapt them to suit your particular circumstances.

Exploring student teachers' experiences interview database.  Download

This database contains extracts from interviews with both English and French student teachers.  Interviews were conducted at two points in the year: in February (printed in black), when the students returned from their university studies in France, and in July (printed in blue), as they were finishing their course and teaching practice in or around Cambridge.

To help you explore how the students describe their experiences the interview data has been organised under seven headings or categories.  These are:

  • Classroom management skills 
  • Classroom teaching skills
  • Personal ability to cope
  • Positive outcomes
  • Social experiences and cultural differences
  • Subject knowledge
  • Support from teachers
Here is how you start.

Download the database and open it.

Read the Introduction.

Click Index.  This list shows you the categories  under which the students' comments are filed and the names of all the French and British students, grouped by nationality. 

Try this example first to familiarise yourself with the way the resource works.

Click on Denise under a category  in which you are interested.  Read the few lines of student comment. 

To read the next student's comments click on  students >>.  The symbol >> enables you to go forward from student to student.  <<   enables you to go back.  If you have clicked on  >>   you should have Eleanor's comments on screen.

To go to another category and read other comments click on  << category>>.   To move between categories click on  category>>  to go forward, or <<category   to go back. 

The resource will enable you to profile a student quickly by reading all the information provided by that student, or to view all the data available under one heading, or category.

You can at any stage print the text on screen by selecting Print on the icon bar.

Learning activities relating to this database are available relating to the following contexts:

Social experiences in England and France
University in France
School in UK

These follow the chronology of the students' experiences.

The activities can also be downloaded as an RTF file here.

Diary database: Learning to teach French as a foreign language.  Download

All the student cohort wrote diaries which kept track of the highs and lows of their experiences, and what they have learnt, culturally and linguistically, through living as a French and English mixed nationality group.  Four of these diaries have been made available in this database, written by  Sean, a male British student, Claire and Lucy, two female British students and Simone, a French student.  The names are fictitious but the diaries are as they were written.  The pseudonyms used are the same as those used in the interview data, so it is possible to compare diary and interview material from the same student.

The diaries cover the periods from:

1 September: PGCE course starts in Homerton College, Cambridge (dates shown in red).
4 October: departure for France and the beginning of the French university Maîtrise:Français Langue Étrangère course (dates shown in green).
1 February: return from France and start of the teaching practice in a secondary school teaching French - and for some students another foreign language (dates shown in blue).

The database uses a similar format to the interview database, above.  Entries relating to specific dates can be accessed by clicking on the calendar in the 'Index' section.

There are no learning activities related to these diaries, as they are best read as a whole.