Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Search results for: practicum experience

3 A Mixed Method Investigation of the Impact of Practicum Experience on Mathematics Female Pre-Service Teachers’ Sense of Preparedness

Authors: Fatimah Alsaleh, Glenda Anthony

Abstract:

The practicum experience is a critical component of any initial teacher education (ITE) course. As well as providing a near authentic setting for pre-service teachers (PSTs) to practice in, it also plays a key role in shaping their perceptions and sense of preparedness. Nevertheless, merely including a practicum period as a compulsory part of ITE may not in itself be enough to induce feelings of preparedness and efficacy; the quality of the classroom experience must also be considered. Drawing on findings of a larger study of secondary and intermediate level mathematics PSTs’ sense of preparedness to teach, this paper examines the influence of the practicum experience in particular. The study sample comprised female mathematics PSTs who had almost completed their teaching methods course in their fourth year of ITE across 16 teacher education programs in Saudi Arabia. The impact of the practicum experience on PSTs’ sense of preparedness was investigated via a mixed-methods approach combining a survey (N = 105) and in-depth interviews with survey volunteers (N = 16). Statistical analysis in SPSS was used to explore the quantitative data, and thematic analysis was applied to the qualitative interviews data. The results revealed that the PSTs perceived the practicum experience to have played a dominant role in shaping their feelings of preparedness and efficacy. However, despite the generally positive influence of practicum, the PSTs also reported numerous challenges that lessened their feelings of preparedness. These challenges were often related to the classroom environment and the school culture. For example, about half of the PSTs indicated that the practicum schools did not have the resources available or the support necessary to help them learn the work of teaching. In particular, the PSTs expressed concerns about translating the theoretical knowledge learned at the university into practice in authentic classrooms. These challenges engendered PSTs feeling less prepared and suggest that more support from both the university and the school is needed to help PSTs develop a stronger sense of preparedness. The area in which PSTs felt least prepared was that of classroom and behavior management, although the results also indicated that PSTs only felt a moderate level of general teaching efficacy and were less confident about how to support students as learners. Again, feelings of lower efficacy were related to the dissonance between the theory presented at university and real-world classroom practice. In order to close this gap between theory and practice, PSTs expressed the wish to have more time in the practicum, and more accountability for support from school-based mentors. In highlighting the challenges of the practicum in shaping PSTs’ sense of preparedness and efficacy, the study argues that better communication between the ITE providers and the practicum schools is necessary in order to maximize the benefit of the practicum experience.

Keywords: Mathematics, practicum experience, pre-service teachers, sense of preparedness.

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2 Unpacking Chilean Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs on Practicum Experiences through Digital Stories

Authors: Claudio Díaz, Mabel Ortiz

Abstract:

An EFL teacher education programme in Chile takes five years to train a future teacher of English. Preservice teachers are prepared to learn an advanced level of English and teach the language from 5th to 12th grade in the Chilean educational system. In the context of their first EFL Methodology course in year four, preservice teachers have to create a five-minute digital story that starts from a critical incident they have experienced as teachers-to-be during their observations or interventions in the schools. A critical incident can be defined as a happening, a specific incident or event either observed by them or involving them. The happening sparks their thinking and may make them subsequently think differently about the particular event. When they create their digital stories, preservice teachers put technology, teaching practice and theory together to narrate a story that is complemented by still images, moving images, text, sound effects and music. The story should be told as a personal narrative, which explains the critical incident. This presentation will focus on the creation process of 50 Chilean preservice teachers’ digital stories highlighting the critical incidents they started their stories. It will also unpack preservice teachers’ beliefs and reflections when approaching their teaching practices in schools. These beliefs will be coded and categorized through content analysis to evidence preservice teachers’ most rooted conceptions about English teaching and learning in Chilean schools. The findings seem to indicate that preservice teachers’ beliefs are strongly mediated by contextual and affective factors.

Keywords: Beliefs, Digital stories, Preservice teachers, Practicum.

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1 Professional Development of Pre-Service Teachers: The Case of Practicum Experience

Authors: G. Lingam, N. Lingam, K. Raghuwaiya

Abstract:

The reported study focuses on pre-service teachers’ professional development during the teaching practice. The cohort studied comprised participants in their final year in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science with Graduate Certificate in Education programmes of a university in Fiji. Analysis of the data obtained using a survey questionnaire indicates that overall, the pre-service teachers were satisfied with the practicum experience. This is assumed to demonstrate that the practicum experience contributed well towards their professional preparation for work expected of them in Fiji secondary schools. Participants also identified some concerns as needing attention. To conclude, the paper provides suggestions for improving the preparation of teachers by strengthening the identified areas of the practicum offered by the university. The study has implications for other teacher education providers in small developing island states and even beyond for the purpose of enhancing learning in student teachers’ for future work.

Keywords: Pre-service, teacher education, practicum, teachers’ world of work, student teachers.

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