Re-conceptualising professional competence development of student teachers in initial teacher education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article presents a qualitative study which presents professional competence development in an undergraduate initial teacher education (ITE) programme in Hong Kong. Fifteen student teachers participated in two rounds of interviews, one after the first ITE fieldwork and another after the second ITE fieldwork in a five-year Bachelor of Education Programme. The interviews placed focus on the ‘context-specific’ aspects of professional competence, namely Competence in Classroom Teaching and Competence to Work in Schools, as well as student teachers’ experiences in different aspects of the ITE fieldwork context. The findings provide important insights into re-conceptualising professional competence development with an integrated analysis which explicates the dynamic interaction between the teaching context, the school context and the student teacher’s approach to learning. Three distinctive patterns of competence development in terms of student teachers’ perceived change in the two ‘context-specific’ aspects of professional competence were identified. The insights from the integrated analysis also extend Mutton, Burn and Hagger’s (2010) study by connecting different patterns of professional competence development with the interaction between student teachers’ approaches to learning from experience and factors in the ITE fieldwork context. Enhancing and constraining conditions for professional competence development and implications for ITE stakeholders are discussed. Copyright © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Papers in Education
Early online date26 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jun 2019



Tang, S. Y. F., Wong, A. K. Y., Li, D. D. Y., & Cheng, M. M. H. (2019). Re-conceptualising professional competence development of student teachers in initial teacher education. Research Papers in Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/02671522.2019.1633563


  • Professional competence
  • Initial teacher education (ITE)
  • Student teachers