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Appears in:
Pages: 6612-6618
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1714

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain

ARE WE AS GOOD AS WE THINK WE ARE? STUDENT TEACHERS’ VIEWS OF THEIR PRACTICUM EXPERIENCES IN A CANADIAN TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM

C. Mattatall, R. Bright, T. Gunn, N. Grigg, C. Loewen

University of Lethbridge (CANADA)
Often perceived as one of the best teacher education programs in Canada, among other things, the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada boasts the longest practicum experience for students anywhere in the country (27 weeks over 4 placements). Practicum experiences across international teaching contexts are challenging and important to the growth and development of new teachers (Busher, Gündüz, Cakmak & Lawson, 2016). We sometimes assume that all students find everything about these in-school sessions to be beneficial and rewarding. They do not. While research tends to indicate that student teachers value their practicum experiences highly in their teacher education programs (Smith & Lev-Ari, 2006), this study was motivated primarily by a small number of student complaints regarding their practicum experiences.

We decided to survey our students immediately after they completed their third practicum to learn more about what students valued the most in their practicums and what may have caused them to feel unsupported or have a negative learning experience. The third practicum is a 6-week assignment that consists of a teaching load that reaches at least two-thirds of the school day in the area of the student’s major of study (e.g.; maths, sciences, physical education, music, etc.). Before the practicum begins students attend an Orientation Day that attempts to provide students with information related to expectations, timelines, teaching load, policy and practical advice. Each student works closely with a supervising classroom teacher who provides daily advice and guidance during the practicum, as well as a university consultant who works with the classroom teacher and the student to ensure the practicum meets program requirements. In addition to daily feedback from classroom teachers, students receive a mid-practicum formative evaluation and an end-of-practicum summative evaluation. Theses evaluations, along with the mentoring and advice from the classroom teachers and university consultants are designed to contribute to a progression of teaching skills, aptitude, and a positive learning experience for students well on their way to becoming teachers (Izadinia, 2016).

All students in this practicum (n=233) were invited to participate in a 50-question online anonymous survey that used a 5-point Likert-scale (Strongly agree to strongly disagree) format. In addition, text boxes for student comments were included for each question. Approximately one-third (n=77) completed the survey. Although survey results showed that 80-85% of student responses were very positive about their learning experiences, we learned a great deal about this practicum from the comments students provided. The results of these surveys were sobering and helpful in fine-tuning areas of our teacher education program that needed further attention, strengthening and maintenance. This session describes the findings from our study and suggestions for making similar teacher education programs stronger and responsive to students’ needs particularly in light of negative perceptions and experiences.
@InProceedings{MATTATALL2017ARE,
author = {Mattatall, C. and Bright, R. and Gunn, T. and Grigg, N. and Loewen, C.},
title = {ARE WE AS GOOD AS WE THINK WE ARE? STUDENT TEACHERS’ VIEWS OF THEIR PRACTICUM EXPERIENCES IN A CANADIAN TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.1714},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.1714},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {6612-6618}}
TY - CONF
AU - C. Mattatall AU - R. Bright AU - T. Gunn AU - N. Grigg AU - C. Loewen
TI - ARE WE AS GOOD AS WE THINK WE ARE? STUDENT TEACHERS’ VIEWS OF THEIR PRACTICUM EXPERIENCES IN A CANADIAN TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.1714
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 6612
EP - 6618
ER -
C. Mattatall, R. Bright, T. Gunn, N. Grigg, C. Loewen (2017) ARE WE AS GOOD AS WE THINK WE ARE? STUDENT TEACHERS’ VIEWS OF THEIR PRACTICUM EXPERIENCES IN A CANADIAN TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM, ICERI2017 Proceedings, pp. 6612-6618.
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