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Nonis, K. P., & Tan, J. S. Y. (2011). Beginner pre-service special education teachers’ learning experience during practicum. The International Journal of Special Education, 26(2), 1-14.
The International Journal of Special Education
In Singapore, training for pre-service special education (PSSE) teachers is supported by a ten-week special education teaching (SET) practicum process in special school setting. In the first four weeks of SET practicum PSSE teachers are familiarized with their pupils, class routines, school culture and administrative processes within the school. The PSSE teachers were guided in lesson preparation and delivery by way of written and face-to-face feedback. Following this handholding, the PSSE teachers are observed by supervisors and cooperating teachers in the school and the University supervisors and they are graded for their overall performance of the SET practicum. This study focuses on the learning experiences of the PSSE teachers during the ten-week SET practicum in their respective special schools. The PSSE teachers completed a survey the week following completion of their practicum experience in school. Thirty-three (Male = 3; Female = 30) PSSE teachers participated in the survey. The survey instrument used a 4-point Likert scale which included two sections: (a) Teachers’ Response to the Practicum Experience their Learning Experience and (b) The process of the SET Practicum. The overall findings indicate that the PSSE teachers had positive experiences. Although the majority of PSSE teachers indicated that they enjoyed the SET practicum, their reasons varied. They felt that their supervisors both within the school and the University understood and the SET practice process and also conveyed the correct SET practicum process to them. The findings of this study are discussed in the light of recommended improvements to the SET practicum process for the PSSE teachers in special schools.
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