|dc.description.abstract||Various researchers have emphasised the urgent need for a focus on the personal development of teachers as part of their training programme (Appleton & Stanwyck, 1996:120; Kruger & Adams, 2002:120; Gouws, Kruger & Burger, 2000:84). This need is related to the challenges posed by the present situation on the one hand, and on the other hand it relates to the influence that educators have on learners. The development of the teacher as person should therefore be an essential part of teacher training. At present, though, focus on this aspect in pre-service teacher training is very limited. Added to this shortcoming is the fact that very little research is currently being done on the personal development of teachers. In this study the researcher explored the personal development of first-year education students at the North-West University. The purpose of the research was to contribute to the expansion of scientific knowledge concerning personal development as an important component of teacher training.
The purpose of the study was to explore qualitatively the experiences regarding personal development, as well as the roles of personal and environmental factors as possible contributing factors. A group of 50 first-year education students from the North-West University participated in the study. Data was collected by means of questionnaires with incomplete sentences, collages, focus group interviews and individual interviews. The participants were accordingly evaluated at the beginning of their first year, after six months, and again at the end of the same year.
The findings indicated that education students developed spontaneously in both the intrapsychological and interpersonal spheres during their first year at university. In the intrapsychic dimension participants were more self-accepting and self-confident. They were also more independent and self-assured and also indicated that they experienced self-actualisation. As far as the interpersonal dimension is concerned, students developed strong friendships. They also realised the role of interdependence amongst people and they were capable of asserting themselves in relationships with other people. Furthermore, it was clear that there was a reciprocity between the personal development process and the students' personal and environmental experiences. These experiences included experiences from both the academic and social context.||