Practicum is the crucial component in teacher education with the ultimate aim for student teachers (STs) and in-service teachers (ITs) attempting to apply the learned knowledge , theories and techniques into the real and vivid teaching situation effectively and reflectively. In practice, apart from teaching practice, practicum may consist of : peer observation, school visit and journal writing etc. so as to strengthen STs and ITs's professional understanding and competence. In Hong Kong, practicum is a compulsory module in all teacher preparation courses including pre- service and in-service in the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd). As a two-credit point module, practicum in the One-year Mixed Mode In-service Qualified Kindergarten Teacher Education Conversion Course (QKT-Con) in the Department of Early Childhood Studies, HKIEd comprises of Peer Observation (PO) (2 times), School Visit (SV) (2 times), Directed Studies (DS) (6 sessions of 18 hours), Teaching Supervision (TS) (2 times) and Journal Writing (JW) (1 piece weekly). Normally, one experienced supervision tutor is responsible to look after about 30 students in one academic year. The primary aim of this paper is to investigate " how useful " is the practicum with regard to the above-mentioned 5 elements in the QKT-Con Course in the HKIEd. Thirty in-serviced teachers, being supervised by the present researcher, were invited to fill in a self-devised questionnaire in the last period of the Directed Studies of the practicum. Afterwards, the questionnaires were analyzed by the method of content analysis. The results of the study, on the whole, were very positive except the journal writing. There were 23.4 teachers (78 %) viewed the practicum as very useful & useful. Besides, it showed that 26 teachers (86.7 %) opined the PO and SV as very useful & useful. Also, 25 teachers (83.3 %) opted the DS and TS as very useful and useful. On the contrary, 8 teachers (26.6 %) expressed that the JW was not very useful & useful. With regard to teachers' comments on the 5 practicum components, positive and encouraging feedback was collected. Finally, based on these illuminating and objective information, recommendations are made to the currently adopted practicum model in this paper in order to strengthen the existing practice in achieving a more over-arching and practicable goal in the preparation of kindergarten teachers.
|Publication status||Published - 1997|