Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Providing Effective Feedback to EFL Student Teachers

Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Providing Effective Feedback to EFL Student Teachers

Article excerpt

Abstract

Feedback on school practicum is of utmost importance for student teachers to help them to develop their pedagogical and teaching skills. This paper attempts to collect data from both student teachers and their mentors in an ELT teacher training programme in Oman to answer the questions which are raised by this study: 1) What kind of feedback do student teachers receive in their practicum? 2) What are the student teachers' and mentors' views of feedback on the practicum? 3) What type of practicum feedback is more effective, oral or written? This study also aims to offer practical ideas that would empower both student teachers and supervisors in improving the practice of giving and receiving feedback in practicum. The data was analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. The statistical approach that is adopted in the questionnaire depends on frequency and percentage. The item of high frequency and percentage reflects the most significant, required answers for the three study questions. The findings indicated that student teachers and their mentors perceived their feedback practices on practicum positively; however the student teachers believed that both types of feedback are important to them but they are in favour of written feedback more than oral one. The study offered some pedagogical implications and recommendations with regard to feedback on practicum.

Keywords: effective feedback, EFL student teachers, practicum, mentors, oral & written feedback

1. Introduction

School-based practicum feedback is considered a highly important, influential and central component in helping student teachers learn to teach and teacher education programmes (Soares & Soares, 2002 & Simpson, 2006 cited in Al Sohbani, 2012). Practicum is viewed as critical to the development of student teachers because it is their first hands-on experience with teaching (Al Sohbani, 2012, p. 196). Effective practicum feedback offers student teachers an opportunity to get both oral and written feedback from their mentors. Moreover, practicum feedback should allow dialogue between students and their mentors and promote their thinking and reflection skills and consolidate their pedagogical skills. Effective practicum feedback should focus on the task and the associated learning outcomes and inform the student teachers whether they are on the right track. This study is an attempt to share with practitioners some insightful ideas and information that would inform their giving of feedback to their student teachers during their school-based practicum. It strives to answer questions raised by the study: What kind of feedback do student teachers receive in their practicum? What are the student teachers' and mentors' perceptions of feedback on the practicum? What type of practicum feedback is more effective, oral or written? To answer these questions data was collected through focus group interview with 12 mentors and a questionnaire was distributed to both student teachers of English language speciality and their supervisors. The findings are believed to be of a great value to both teachers and training programmes across the region to run effective school-based practicum.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) in Oman strives to provide quality education to all students across the country. One of the important programmes which have received its supreme attention is the EFL teacher training programmes. This study was promoted by the need of society for effective and well-trained EFL teachers in both primary and secondary schools in Oman. EFL teacher training programmes are crucial for developing student teachers' pedagogical skills (Al Sohbani, 2012). However, these programmes are currently limited to two institutions across the country. They are run only by Sultan Qaboos University at the faculty of education and Rustaq College of Applied Sciences at the English language and literature department. …

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