PRACTICUM FROM THE ELT STUDENT-TEACHERS’ EYE: EXPECTATIONS AND GAINSJournal: International Journal of Language Academy (IJLA) (Vol.2, No. 1)
Publication Date: 2014-03-15
Authors : Gulden ILIN;
Page : 191-207
Keywords : Teacher education; teaching practice; mentor; student-teacher; teacher thinking.;
Practicum is a period when student-teachers practice teaching for the first time in a real school setting. Depending on the nature of the experiences student-teachers encounter at this final phase of their education in the department, the period may or not be considered as a fruitful one. The extent to which the period meets prospective teachers’ expectations seems to have a determining role on the learning outcomes. Based on these discussions, This study attempts to draw a general picture of student-teachers’ expectations and gains from the practicum exploring their thinking while they proceed through this stage. Totally 16 student-teachers of the English Language Teaching Department of a Turkish University and two mentors, with more than 15 years of experience as high school language teachers, participated in the study. Data for the study came from three sources: weekly task reports student-teachers prepared throughout the ten-week practicum as part of the requirements coming from their departments, weekly written reflections on their experiences and follow-up interviews. Findings reveal that practicum, although student-teachers benefit from the period by means of some strategies they utilised, does not thoroughly meet their expectations. In addition, mentors, the main focus of student-teachers’ interest, appear to be the most frequently criticised element of the experience. The study also uncovers the need for the ELT departments to make relevant adaptations of practicum procedures to comply with real life practices at schools, providing mentors with in-service training programmes on better mentoring and systematic collaboration of universities and practice schools to contribute more to professional development of prospective teachers.
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