Nur Adillah (on the right) and her class (in Hillcrest Normal School, New Zealand)
From left: Ms Annelie Björk, Nur Khairunnisa Binte Jawahir, Mr Johnny Wretmanand and Lau Kai Jing (in Rosendalsskolan Sweden)
51 student teachers, 15 partner universities, across 10 countries and spanning 4 continents. This has been the highest number of student teachers participating in International Practicum since its humble beginnings in 2012.
The 6th International Practicum Symposium 2017, organised by the Office of Teacher Education (OTE) was held at the National Institute of Education’s (NIE) U-Connect Room on 16 August 2017. The symposium aims to provide a platform for student teacher participants of the International Practicum (IP) programme to celebrate and share their experiences with their NIE supervisors, peers and juniors.
This year, a total of 51 student teachers took part in the IP programme, and NIE received a total of 93 foreign students. During the symposium, three student teachers and twenty seven foreign students presented and gave an overview of their International Practicum experience.
The International Practicum aims to broaden and deepen undergraduates’ learning experiences as well as to develop a global mindset with an appreciation of multiple perspectives. Since 2012, the program has grown from having 1 partner University to having 15 partner Universities from Asia, New Zealand, North America and Europe.
Lau Kai Jing, a Year 2 Degree student teacher who opted to fly to Sweden for her international practicum. She was attached to Rosendalsskolan, a Swedish primary school, for five weeks.
“My mentor, Mr Johnny Wretman, was wonderful with his students. His advice for handling students who misbehaved was to focus our talk on the student’s misconduct and to avoid criticising his/her character. He believes that all children are good and that teachers should love all students equally. Mr Wretman advocates that we should always let students know that we are upset with their behaviour, but continue to love them as our students.”
When it came to comparing Asian and Western education systems, Kai Jing noticed that in Asian cultures, students often have to show absolute obedience to teachers (or any other authority figure). In the West however, a more informal teacher-student relationship is encouraged.
“I appreciate the informality between students and teachers in the Western culture as I think that students often find more motivation to work hard in a class with their ‘favourite’ teacher. However, I find it important for teachers to establish themselves as authority figures in the class, so that students can also learn about respect. All in all, it was a fruitful five weeks in Sweden. I am sure these experiences will go a long way as I embark on my journey to become a full-fledged teacher.”
Another student teacher who was enriched by the experience was Nur Adillah. Adillah spent her five weeks at Hillcrest Normal School in New Zealand.
“I had an enriching experience at Hillcrest Normal School. I now have a greater cultural appreciation and awareness. I will keep striving to be a better educator who can inspire others to achieve their dreams and reflect on my beliefs and practices.”
International Practicum has indeed fulfilled its purpose of providing the opportunity for NIE student teachers to experience school and classroom environments of a different educational system and culture.