Investigating EFL Elementary Student Teachers’ Development in a Professional Learning Practicum

in Teachers’ Professional Development in Global Contexts
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Abstract

The preparation of teachers through practicum is a central component of teacher education programs all around the world. Over the years, teacher educators have been arguing for a rethinking of the connections between campus courses and field experiences, on the grounds that more closely connecting these social spaces might enhance the learning of student teachers and better prepare them to be successful in the classrooms. How can teacher educators bridge the different learning sites and enhance prospective teachers’ learning? The researcher, implementing the concept of professional learning community, investigated EFL elementary student teachers’ development in their practicum in Taiwan. A qualitative case study approach was applied. Data were collected from discussions during each meeting, the student teachers’ reflective journal writing, semi-structured interviews, and the researcher’s classroom observations. The study found a carefully structured teaching practicum helped student teachers to analyze teaching practices critically and reflectively. It is suggested that university programs, teacher educators, and elementary schools can work together to make the teaching practicum a professional development opportunity for both student teachers and mentoring teachers.

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