The effects of practicum experience on first-year primary student teachers' professional development

Year: 1994

Author: Kwan, Anna

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
This study aims at charting the initial development of primary student teachers of a school of teacher education in which the school experience has been under innovation. More practical and structured school experience was intended to provide opportunities for fostering reflective practice.

Three student teachers have been involved in the intensive case study. Data have been collected at the beginning of the program, before and after the block practicum. Data include concept maps, focused written self-evaluations of their videotaped teaching episodes, post-lesson evaluations and weekly journals. Data collection procedures are expected to be completed in August, 1994.

Preliminary results seem to indicate that the student teachers changed their conceptions of good teaching as the program proceeded. Greater confidence in teaching towards the end of the three-week block practicum was demonstrated. More willingness to put pupils at the centre of their teaching and to tolerate uncertainty during the teaching process was also observed. Their reflective thinking, however, appeared to be mainly concerned with the technical level in Van Manen's terms. Critical thinking was found related to content of curriculum and pupil learning ability. Regarding the context of the program under study, a possible explanation might be that the focus of the courses in campus seemed to be on the technical aspects of teaching. Important educational issues had not yet been introduced systematically to foster such awareness among student teachers.

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