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Key factors for success in the practical training of teachers

Claus per a l’èxit de la formació pràctica de mestres
The Organizational Development Group of the UAB have analyzed the factors which foster the acquisition of optimal professional skills during the practicum of early childhood and primary education teachers. The study points to some of the keys for success and considers essential the creation of new spaces and models of collaboration and training between the university and the schools offering practicums to the teachers of the future.

Internships are an essential element of initial teacher training programmes, contributing not only to student teachers’ skill development, but also to their career guidance, job placement and, of course, to the improvement of our educational system quality. However, there is little empirical evidence about both the factors affecting skills acquisition during in-school internships and the required conditions for assuring the quality of these training periods.

The aim of this study, published in the Revista de Educación of the Ministry of Education(Rodríguez-Gómez, Armengol & Meneses, 2017), and developed as part of the project "Evaluation of the effects and impact of curricular practices in teacher training and training centers" (ref. 2014ARMIF00023), coordinated by prof. Joaquín Gairín, is to identify factors promoting better professional skills development during the internship period within the Early Childhood Education and Primary Education Bachelor’s degrees.

The field study of this research took place during the 2014-2015 academic year and consisted of applying a questionnaire to a sample of 567 students from the Primary Education (276) and Early Childhood Education (291) Bachelor’s degrees in four Catalan universities (two public and two private) that cover a wide network of both public and state-subsidised private internship centres.

The results of this study enable us to confirm that, in addition to the type (intensive or extensive) or the placement of the practicum in the degree studies (distributed evenly throughout the programme, or concentrated in the last two years), the identification of that which some authors have called “training centres” (e.g., Conroy, Hulme & Menter, 2013), the involvement of the tutor from the centre or the mentor (Jaspers, Meijer, Prins y Wubbels, 2014), the psychological and emotional support received during their internship (Sorensen, 2014) and the consolidation of effective cooperation structures between all the agents involved, are some key elements for a successful internship period.

University and school are responsible for preparing the students to professionally execute their role as teachers. To do so, a debate is required about the relationship between both educational institutions, giving rise to new spaces and ways of collaboration and training that result in an improvement in our educational system. 

David Rodríguez-Gómez
Department of Applied Pedagogy
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Carme Armengol
Department of Applied Pedagogy
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Julio Meneses
Psychology Studies and Education Sciences
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya


Original reference:

Rodríguez-Gómez, D., Armengol C., & Meneses J. (2017).  La adquisición de las competencias profesionales a través de las prácticas curriculares de la formación inicial de maestros. Revista de Educación, 376, 229-251. http://dx.doi.org/1010.4438/1988-592X-RE-2017-376-350

Other references:

Conroy, J., Hulme, M., & Menter, I. (2013). Developing a ‘clinical’model for teacher educationJournal of Education for Teaching39(5), 557-573.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2013.836339

Jaspers, W. M., Meijer, P. C., Prins, F., & Wubbels, T. (2014). Mentor teachers: Their perceived possibilities and challenges as mentor and teacher. Teaching and Teacher Education44, 106-116.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2014.08.005

Sorensen, P. (2014). Collaboration, dialogue and expansive learning: The use of paired and multiple placements in the school practicum. Teaching and Teacher Education, 44, 128-137.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2014.08.010

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