Practice and Challenges of Practicum at Shambu College of Teacher Education
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In this study, an attempt was made to investigate the practice and challenges of Practicum at Shambu College of Teacher Education. The principal aim of the study was to explore the ways in which student teachers had were encouraged to acquire professional expertise, the assessment condition of mentors and tutors and the coping behavior of student-teachers with respect to the challenges associated with their professional and academic performances, and supervisory practices of mentors and tutors. Quantitative research methods were applied in this study. Data were gathered from tutors and Practicum Unit Coordinator through interviews. Questionnaire was also distributed to mentors and 3rd year student-teachers to obtain data, in addition to this document consultation was carried out. Questionnaire was organized and analyzed using tables, frequencies and percentages. In order to get adequate information on the issue, 165 student-teachers by simple random sampling(lottery method), 84 mentors by census, 15 tutors by and one practicum unit coordinator by convenience sampling were selected. Major findings of the study are that, in the course of helping student teachers to acquire professional expertise, a tendency to emphasize teaching as craft was not observed. Instead, the practicum was found to be based on the view of teaching as an applied science the student teachers were merely encouraged to transform the theoretical knowledge they have into a practical one. There was a failure, during the practicum, to foster reflective teaching skills in the student teachers, that assessment in practicum has some problems, inadequate supervision, and inadequate tutors’ and mentors' professional support, had been given to student-teachers. Based on the results of the study and conclusions drawn, the recommendations were forwarded to improve the practice of practicum in the college under study.