Education (2007) points out that teacher education is critical

Education is seen the world
over an important instrument for development in every human society. There is
no single civil society which does not link its current state of development to
the contribution of education. At the core of every educational endeavor is the
teacher. Saban & Cokler (2013) point out that different factors have effect on
the education of people and one of the most important of these factors is the
teacher. They outline the roles of the teacher as including shaping the
terminal behaviors of the students, helping the student to have positive
relationships and making them skillful and disciplined. Ankuma (2007) also contends that the teacher is the vehicle on
which education thrives, and is therefore indispensable. The quality of the
human capital of any nation depends on the quality of education it offers, and
that is also determined by the quality of teachers who teach (Republic of Ghana, 2002). It is therefore widely acknowledged that the role
of teachers in the quality of education is vital. Teachers’ competence,
confidence, dedication, and general predisposition towards the profession are
however informed by the kind of education or training they receive. Ankuma (2007) points out that teacher
education is critical because it produces the right caliber of teachers to
deliver. To meet the professional standards of the educational field, various
institutions have been established to produce high quality teachers. According
to the Presidential Committee on the Review of Education Reform in Ghana,
teacher education and training in Ghana is undertaken by the Colleges of
Education who produce professionals for the basic level, and the University of
Cape Coast and University of Education who are mandated to produce teachers for
the second-cycle institutions (Republic
of Ghana, 2002). In the Colleges of Education, trainee teachers spend the
first two years on the college campus and are taught academic courses in the
subjects taught at the basic level. They are also exposed to curriculum studies
integrated with methodology, demonstration lessons and campus-based practice
teaching. In the third and final year, trainees embark on an off-campus
teaching practice to gain practical experience (Ankuma 2007). In the Universities, a similar pattern is followed.
In the first three years, prospective teachers are exposed to the theoretical
issues and philosophical underpinnings of their various subject areas and also
engage in microteaching sessions. In the first semester of the final year,
students go out for the off-campus teaching practice in any lower level school
to teach their major subjects. This “Out” programmed, as Ankuma (2007) posits, is envisaged to
make trainees more effective for teaching after training. However, due to the
complex nature of the profession, and it attendant demands, student-teachers
mostly report various forms of stress and anxiety during their field experience
in teaching. These anxieties, if not addressed, may affect student-teachers’
performance during teaching practice and may in the long run affect their
perception of the teaching profession.

Teaching is an exciting and
rewarding activity but it is demanding as its practitioners are required to
clearly understand what should be done to bring about the most desirable
learning in the pupil and be highly proficient in the skills necessary to carry
out these tasks (Azeem, 2011). Bhargava (2009) argues that the
teaching process is multitasking. Aggarwal
(cited in Ghansah, 2009) notes
that the teaching of Social Studies and History demands more ingenuity from
teachers as these subjects demand well prepared conscientious teachers of sound
knowledge. It is in a bid for teachers to meet the demands of the profession
that their training do not only aim at “imparting theoretical but also practical
knowledge and skill in teaching different subjects to prospective teachers” ( Azeem 2011,). Teaching practice is
the ground on which this practical skill or experience is gained. Teaching
practice, also referred to as professional experience, practice teaching or
field experience, is a period when student-teachers obtain a first-hand
experience in teaching. “It is the practical use of teaching methods, teaching
strategies, teaching principles, teaching techniques and practical training and
practice or exercise of different activities of daily school life” (Nwanekezi, Okoli, & Mezieobi, 2011.) To Azeem (2011), it is an opportunity for
student-teachers to make their theoretical knowledge practical. Komba & Kira (2013) also contend
that the overall purpose of teaching practice is to expose student-teachers to
the actual teaching and learning environment. During teaching practice,
student-teachers are expected to exhibit the highest level of professionalism.
They are regarded as part of the teaching staff and are supposed to act in
accordance with the established structures of the school. Like any other
teacher, History student-teachers are expected to prepare lesson notes and
appropriate teaching aids, deliver lessons, give and mark exercises and assignments,
and manage their classrooms. They are also to be regular and punctual at
school, exhibit acceptable personality traits, and develop good inter-personal
relationship with other mentees and permanent staff. (Ankuma 2007; Bhargava
2009). Bhargava (2009) further observes that these demands constitute a
heavy workload which exhausts the student-teachers. As a result of these
demands, teaching practice is seen by many student-teachers as the most
stressful component of the undergraduate teacher curriculum. This is because
student-teachers have to struggle with the emotional stress generated by the
realities of classroom teaching such as learner behaviour, teaching colleagues
and time constraints as well as the demands of academic life (Wagenaar, 2005). These student-teacher experiences create a number of worries
and anxieties, sometimes resulting in high levels of stress and restlessness (Turan 2011). The researcher, having
experienced similar conditions in the school where he taught History during the
teaching practice, deem it expedient explore the anxiety that History
student-teachers experience whiles on teaching practice.

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Anxiety could be defined as the uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or
worry about something that is happening or might happen in the future (Cambridge, 2012). Barlow (2002) viewed
anxiety as a future-oriented mood state associated with preparation for
possible upcoming negative events. Anxiety could also be seen as the
apprehension or excessive fear about real or imagined circumstances (American National Association of School Psychologists, 2004).