Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 38, No. 3, 392–407, 2015
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article aims to present a systematic review of research studies on school practicum to identify the main critical points and also provide a wider perspective to the researchers in the field.
The authors reviewed 114 studies published on the topic and analyzed them in terms of: goals, main participants, methodology used and the main outcomes. The authors also considered other terms for this comparative review such as journals published between 2000 and 2012; being concerned with stakeholders of teaching practicum; being published in journals on teaching and teacher education; and being mainly focused on the practicum in Initial Teacher Training.
The findings reveal that many of the reviewed studies take pre-service teachers as their main participants. These pre-service teachers consider the following issues as important in the practicum: collaboration with mentor teachers, factors that affect PSTs’ beliefs, the link between theory and practice, benefits from teacher educators, changing perceptions during practicum, technology support, importance of peer and mentor observation and also peer coaching, and the overall quality of practicum.
Furthermore, the authors examined the main issues that emerged regarding mentoring. They found that issues include mentors’ role, perceptions of good mentoring, effective quality feedback and effective cooperation with PSTs.
This article also found that many practicum studies are relatively small-scale studies since they are mainly qualitative focused and findings derived from a relatively small sample.
The authors suggest that more large-scale studies are needed in the field in order to provide greater insight into teaching practicum.
Furthermore, the results show that the literature omitted the perspectives of school's students. This is a limitation that should be redressed.
The authors also found that while the practicum studies mainly based on both elementary and secondary school levels, they included a range of school subjects, such as science, maths and English.
The authors also found that teaching practicum research studies have been undertaken in quite different educational settings and in different countries. They argue that it is difficult to discern strong patterns in the outcomes of the studies, as the cultural and educational contexts in which practicum are undertaken may have had a major impact on participants’ perceptions of them.
The authors conclude that these findings help them to understand the dynamics of the practicum.