The effectiveness of the practicum in EFL teacher education: case studies of three universities in Vietnam

Nguyen, H 2015, The effectiveness of the practicum in EFL teacher education: case studies of three universities in Vietnam, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global, Urban and Social Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The effectiveness of the practicum in EFL teacher education: case studies of three universities in Vietnam
Author(s) Nguyen, H
Year 2015
Abstract The practicum is an integral part of any pre-service teacher training program. However, its effectiveness has rarely been explored in the context of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in Vietnam. This research was conducted to (i) explore the perceptions of the university's academic staff, university mentors, school mentors and trainee teachers about the effectiveness of the current EFL practicum in selected Vietnamese universities, (ii) identify issues of concern about the practicum from the viewpoints of these stakeholders, and (iii) make recommendations for enhancing the practicum’s effectiveness.

The research methodology consists of case studies of three universities in Ho Chi Minh City. Data were collected using a mixed methods approach, including semi-structured interviews with 18 EFL teacher educators together with pre-practicum interviews and follow-up interviews with 12 EFL trainee teachers; 24 classroom observations of trainee teachers’ teaching; analysis of relevant documents related to the teaching practicum and a survey distributed to 141 final-year EFL trainee teachers from the three institutions. Thematic analysis was employed for interpreting qualitative data while descriptive statistics and one-way Analysis of Variance was used to analyze and compare the trainee teachers’ responses to the questionnaire.

The findings revealed that the trainee teachers did not begin the practicum with an unrealistic vision of the teaching profession. In the lead-up, most of them had envisioned many difficulties regarding classroom management, methodology selection, relationships with the practicum mentors and the assessment of their teaching performance. Data showed that the practicum was beneficial in preparing the trainee teachers for classroom practices in terms of improving their pedagogical content knowledge, contextual knowledge, instructional skills, communication skills and desirable teacher dispositions. However, a small majority of the trainee teachers had difficulties in controlling the classes, managing their teaching time and catering for students’ varied learning needs.

The overall effectiveness of the teaching practicum was perceived to be limited by issues related to the allocation of the host schools, support for trainee teachers and practicum mentors, the matching of school mentors and trainee teachers, and the assessment process. Furthermore, the data revealed that despite the similar practicum objectives stipulated by the three institutions, the content of EFL teacher training program, the frequency and the duration of practicum components affected the learning-to-teach process of the trainee teachers. The more practical the teaching experience was given to the trainee teachers, the better their teaching became with fewer instructional difficulties. While most relevant studies focus on the effects of the practicum in shaping the cognitive, behavioural, emotional and professional development of pre-service English language teachers, this thesis contributes to the EFL teacher education literature by providing empirical evidence for the transition of trainee teachers from university learning to school teaching as well as the relationship between the knowledge base of second language teacher education, pedagogical and emotional support and the role of reflection in relation to beginning teachers’ professional development.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global, Urban and Social Sciences
Subjects LOTE, ESL and TESOL Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Maori)
Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
Higher Education
Keyword(s) EFL pre-service teacher education
English language learning and teaching
teaching practicum
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Created: Tue, 10 Apr 2018, 10:13:24 EST by Keely Chapman
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