Stress management for student teachers in the practicum

Year: 1995

Author: Sumsion, Jennifer, Thomas, Dawn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

For many student teachers practicum is a source of considerable stress.

If not managed effectively, high levels of stress can detract from the quality of the practicum experience. Suggestions from the literature concerning ways of reducing student teacher stress focus mostly on changes to the practicum context, structure and requirements.

In contrast, this paper reports on an exploratory study which investigated the feasibility of teacher educators assisting student teachers manage stress associated with practicum through the development of stress management skills. The study involved an intervention program which was conducted over a 6 week period prior to the commencement of the student teachers' second practicum. Thirteen student teachers completed the program, which focused on the use of relaxation and visualisation techniques.

To ascertain the impact of the program a range of qualitative and quantitative data, including group interview transcripts and pre and post practicum surveys, was collected from participants. Although the results need to be interpreted with caution, they suggest that the intervention had a positive outcome.

The paper concludes with a discussion of some of the methodological, ethical, and practical issues which arose for the teacher educators who conducted this pilot stress management program.