Learning from interpersonal interactions during the practicum: A case study of non-native ESL student teachers

Zhengdong GAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Although research reveals that pre-service student teachers often regard their relationships with their significant others as an important element of their initial teaching practice experience, much remains unknown about the influence of significant others on non-native English as a Second Language (ESL) student teachers’ professional learning process during field experiences. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative study of the professional learning experiences of 17 pre-service non-native ESL student teachers during an eight-week-long practicum. Grounded in a sociocultural view of teacher learning, the study explores how the ESL student teachers developed their understanding of professional learning in the light of their experiences of engaging with their supporting teachers, supervisors, other school staff members as well as peer student teachers during the practicum. Analysis of the data reveals that these people assumed the role of coach either directly or indirectly, having a positive influence on the student teachers’ role as a teacher. Analysis of the data also reveals negative interactions between student teachers and their significant others, which sociocultural theories have so far not taken sufficiently into account. While, findings of this study challenge past assumptions about where knowledge for teaching comes from and how it can be learned; this study also suggests an urgent need to consolidate university–school partnership to foster student teachers’ adaptation to the context of teaching practice and maximise their professional learning opportunities. Copyright © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-139
JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
Issue number2
Early online dateJan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


student teacher
teaching practice
teacher's role
learning process


Gan, Z. (2014). Learning from interpersonal interactions during the practicum: A case study of non-native ESL student teachers. Journal of Education for Teaching, 40(2), 128-139.


  • Practicum
  • Pre-service ESL teacher
  • Interpersonal interactions
  • Sociocultural view of teacher learning