Waikato Journal of Education


The field of professional experience presents opportunities as well as challenges in relation to the practicum and learning how to teach for pre-service teachers. This study sought to investigate University of Sydney third and fourth year Human Movement and Health Education pre-service teachers' practicum experiences and learning. Ninety-six (n=96) women and men in the Human Movement and Health Education pre-service course completed an anonymous questionnaire after their most recent practicum experience. Pre-service teachers agreed that their practicum was enjoyable (97.4%); requirements for practicum were clearly communicated (93%) and that they were prepared by administrative staff (93%) and coursework (85%) for their practicum. Further, the findings revealed a statistically significant difference between third and fourth year pre-service teachers (P<0.01) in regard to coursework preparation. Third year pre-service teachers believed they required additional professional development activities before their next practicum. The most enjoyable aspects were receiving a positive response to lessons from students (70.4%); receiving constructive support/having a positive relationship with their supervising teacher (22.0%); and having a sense of belonging to the teaching faculty, rather than feeling like a pre-service teacher (3.7%). There was 88.6% agreement for the initiation of new e-learning links during the practicum, including an online social support network site on which students could communicate and share lesson ideas. Pre-service teachers' qualitative responses in the questionnaire suggest a redesign of the structure and sequence of the course, as well as professional experience units of study, and the need to place more emphasis on building strong professional relationships between pre-service teachers, supervising teachers and mentors. As such, a range of improvements have been suggested to enhance pre-service teachers' enjoyment of learning in future practicum experiences, including some new e-learning practicum initiatives.


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