Practicum plays a major role in helping student teachers bridge the theory and practice gap and develop their personal teaching competence.


Developing teaching competence through practice

The practicum enables student teachers to acquire beginning teaching competencies and is a core component of the Initial Teacher Preparation programme in NIE. The purpose of the practicum is to help prepare student teachers for the realities of student teaching by providing them with a clear understanding of the contexts for schooling.

The practicum plays a major role in bridging “theory and practice” but beyond that, it offers the context for student teachers to develop their personal teaching competence (Smith and Lev-Ari, 2005, 291) and to acquire and develop the knowledge of teaching and professional content knowledge of teachers (Shulman, 1987). It is through the practicum experience that student teachers develop important professional knowledge such as knowledge of people, knowledge of themselves, self-control and inter-personal sensitivity - all of which are important traits that would see them though their professional lives (Eraut, 1988, cited in Yan & He, 2009). In addition, practicum teaches soft skills such as independent problem-solving, working collegially with fellow staff teachers and developing professional values and attitudes (Ramsden, 1992).

During practicum, student teachers are mentored and guided by their School Coordinating Mentors (SCMs), Cooperating Teachers (CTs) and NIE Supervisors (NIES) through systematic observations, assistance and advice. They will have opportunities to become involved with, and actively participate in all aspects of the school’s activities. Through these experiences they will learn to link theory and practice, and to acquire the understanding and skills necessary for teaching effectively in a range of classroom situations.


Ramsden, P. (1992) Learning to Teach in Higher Education. London: Routledge.

Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge as teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1–22.

Smith, K., & Lev-Ari, L. (2005). The place of the practicum in pre-service teacher education: The voice of the students. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 33, 3, 289–302.

Yan, C., & He, C. (2010) Transforming the existing model of teaching practicum: A study of Chinese EFL student teachers' perceptions. Journal of Education for Teaching, 36, 1, 57-73.