Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Learning to Teach: A Case Study of Student Teachers' Practicum and Policy Recommendations

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Learning to Teach: A Case Study of Student Teachers' Practicum and Policy Recommendations

Article excerpt

This qualitative case study was conducted to gather information on the implementation of teaching practicum in order to improve the quality of the program in an English teacher education program at a state-owned university, Jambi, Indonesia. Information was gathered from five recent teacher graduates, five beginner teachers, five school principals, and five teacher educators on their perceptions of English Foreign Language Teacher Education Program (EFLTEP) graduates as beginner teachers. This qualitative study employed a background survey, document analyses and interviews for data collection. Document analyses were used to examine the aims and content of the English teacher education program and official Indonesian English teacher education curriculum and policies. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the main data from graduates and collect information from the beginner teachers. Interviews with principals and teacher educators were used to obtain further data and evidence about the beginner teachers' knowledge and preparedness to teach. We organized our analysis, findings, and discussion around the implementation of teaching practicum. The analyses of the documents and texts revealed that major themes related to (1) the standards for implementing the teaching practicum in the program, (2) quality of the teaching practicum, (3) duration of the teaching practicum, (4) the roles of mentor teachers and teacher educators, and (5) selecting school partners for the student teacher practicum. Particularly, the findings indicated that teaching practicum projects undertaken during the program provided suitable but limited experience for student teachers to translate their knowledge learnt at university into the real practice of teaching at school levels. For future improvement of the program, the role of supervising teachers and teacher educators in assisting student teachers during the teaching practicum project should be a priority. The organisation and management of school-university partnerships for schools taking part in the teaching practicum require attention to maximise benefits to student teachers. Keywords: Indonesian Student Teachers, Teacher Education, Educational Policy, Qualitative Case Study

Learning to teach is a multifaceted process (Darling-Hammond, Hammerness, Grossman, Rust, & Shulman, 2005). Hence, teacher education programs around the globe are prepared to develop professional and quality teachers to encounter teaching challenges in the classrooms. Particularly, teacher education programs are intended to develop student teachers' knowledge, skills, and characters in order to prepare them to educate students effectively and professionally at schools (Sulistiyo, Mukminin, & Yanto, 2016; Mukminin, Kamil, Muazza, & Haryanto, 2017; Mukminin, Rohayati, Putra, Habibi, & Aina, 2017). To achieve the purposes of teacher education programs, the academic programs of the teacher education should include an important element such as school or centre-based practicum experiences which will facilitate student teachers to experience what it means to be a teacher within an academic context under the guidance of school teachers and teacher educators from the university as Zeichner (2010) pointed out that the teaching practicum is one of the most critical components of teacher education that affects the quality of teachers.

Field experience in teaching or student teaching practice is an important part of teacher preparation programs (Guyton & Mclntyre, 1990). Field experience is described in a range of ways, including teaching practice, student teaching, practice teaching, practicum and internship (Darling-Hammond, 1999; Guyton & Mclntyre, 1990; Wickramasinghe, 2004). The implementation of teaching practicum is important to bridge the gap between what student teachers have learnt in the program and the reality of teaching practice in schools (Darling-Hammond, 2006). Literature on teaching practicum in Indonesian and international contexts which was relevant to this study was used in order to frame a broader discussion of how graduates of the Teacher Education Program (TEP) of Jambi University experienced teaching practicum during their preparation program. …

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