Policy documents from OECD and UNESCO have been stressing the need to prepare students for what has been termed a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world.
They emphasise social-emotional competencies as necessary for coping with such conditions.
This qualitative research frames the COVID-19 outbreak as an extreme case of VUCA that grants the opportunity to examine whether our teacher preparation curriculum provides teacher students with these social-emotional competencies that they are expected to model and are necessary for coping with such circumstances.
Fifty-four student teachers and 24 teacher educators responded to open-ended questionnaires, and 16 semi-structured interviews with teacher educators were analysed based on grounded theory.
Results demonstrate that our student teachers struggle substantially with VUCA circumstances and do not seem to receive sufficient preparation in the domain of social-emotional competencies.
These troubling findings serve as a wake-up call to increase a social-emotional orientation in teacher education curriculum.