School practitioners' perceptions of the pre-service teacher education practicum: A Comparative Study

Year: 2012

Author: Allen, Jeanne, Turner, David

Type of paper: Refereed paper


The importance of strong school-university partnerships in bridging the theory-practice gap in pre-service teacher education has been well established in the literature. The experiences of pre-service teachers during practicum have in particular been shown to be enhanced where there are strong links between the two educational sectors. This paper draws from research conducted in two diverse Australian pre-service teacher education programs to evaluate factors that are perceived to profoundly impact on the professional experiences of pre-service teachers during practicum. The particular focus of this paper is the beliefs and experiences of school practitioners regarding the efficacy of the practicum. A mixed methods approach was adopted for both studies, one of which was located in an urban university in Tasmania, the other in a regional university in Queensland. Findings generated from the comparative study of both programs revealed some differences but predominantly a number of similarities between the perceptions of the two samples of school practitioners towards practicum. Three key findings are presented and discussed in this paper.