Supporting Pre-service Teachers in Preparing for Teaching Practicums: A Blended Learning Approach

James Ko
The Education University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong SAR, China

In this study, an e-platform used a Google site for delivering six online lessons and related learning activities; and 61 pre-service teachers participated at three different periods before their block practice periods in April and October 2015. The learning activities included practice in rating lesson videos — using the same Field Experience form as used to rate them during their own practicums — lesson planning, and micro-teaching. The students could use blogs to discuss their work experiences in schools and seek support from the investigators.

E-learning has been promoted in many courses in teacher education. However, there has been little attempt to support student teachers in preparing for their practicums in both the pre-practicum and practicum periods. To address this gap, this project aimed to create an e-learning context in which student teachers could self-access a series of online lessons developed to help them to review classroom practices and share work experience with their fellow students in the practicums. It was expected that student teachers’ supportive agency beliefs could be enhanced through the knowledge-building and peer-sharing activities involved.

The sense of agency of the participants during the practicum was assessed using the scale developed by Malmberg and colleagues (2004).

The results suggested that a blended learning approach involving support from the project investigators was crucial for engaging students who were working in schools. Those who felt that they were more competent and accomplished in their work tended to have stronger agency beliefs in their classroom practices and the capacity to provide students with instructional and emotional support. In general, these students showed confidence, but they lacked confidence in their practicum settings. While students who were more self-confident tended to be more positive in their practicums, some showed disillusionment after the practicums, consistent with the findings in England (Malmberg et al., 2012).