‘It’s the Worst, but Real Experience Is Invaluable’: Pre-service Teacher Perspectives of the Costs and Benefits of Professional Experience
Professional experience, or practicum placements, is an important component in the education of pre-service teachers and preparing them for their own classrooms after graduation. However, while the pedagogical and personal development benefits of participation are well documented, the personal costs of participation have been less comprehensively explored. This chapter identifies the perceived costs and benefits of participation in practicum from the perspective of undergraduate and postgraduate pre-service teachers attending an Australia university. The research study reported in this chapter reveals that the practicum experience is, on the whole, associated with positive feelings and the opportunity to gain practical ‘real-world’ experience and professional development. However, the financial hardship that can be created or magnified as a consequence of participation in practicum can negatively impact the practicum experience and the well-being of a pre-service teacher. The chapter concludes by reflecting on approaches that universities and accrediting bodies may consider to manage the financial and other impacts of practicum participation on pre-service teachers without decreasing their educational and experiential value.
KeywordsInitial teacher education Practicum Placement Financial stress Professional experience Field experience
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