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Title: An evaluative study of the school based practicum course in a pre-service English language teacher preparation programme at a College of Education, Oman
Author: Al Qasmi, F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 9206
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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The study explores opportunities and challenges encountered by pre-service English language teachers and their college supervisors in a school based practicum course of a pre-service English language teacher preparation programme at a College of Education in Oman. It also aims at understanding the cooperating teachers' perceptions of practicum to arrive at solutions for possible problems while helping to make recommendations for further improvements in the course. The conceptual framework of the study is based on the sociocultural theory that views teaching practice as a social activity. The study adopts Fetters, Curry, and Creswell's (2013) case study framework. The opportunities and challenges that pre-service English teachers encountered during practicum as well as their agenda for change were explored through a sequential exploratory mixed method design. Four focus groups were employed with 26 pre-service English teachers and the findings were used to develop a semi-structured questionnaire that was distributed to 52 pre-service English teachers. In analysing the sequential exploratory design, I adopted Creswell and Clark's (2011) method level integration procedure- integration through building. The opportunities and challenges that college supervisors encountered during practicum were qualitatively researched, while the cooperating teachers' perceptions of the practicum course were handled quantitatively. The findings indicate that despite the fact that all study participants value the importance of practicum, some of them were clearly dissatisfied with the current practicum course. The thematic analysis of the focus groups and the one to one interviews highlights some common challenges confronted by both pre-service teachers and college supervisors. For instance, the huge perceived gap between the theoretical and practical components of the programme, communication barriers between the practicum triad and ineffective practicum assessment methods were brought out in the analysis. Additionally, the findings of the cooperating teachers' semi-structured questionnaire reveal that most cooperating teachers request more preparation, support and power from the College in order to better guide the pre-service English teachers during their teaching practice in the cooperating schools. The present study is more exhaustive than the existing practicum studies as it covers the challenges confronted by every member in the practicum triad- pre-service teachers, college supervisors and cooperating teachers, and accordingly offers an agenda to improve the quality of practicum. The study proposes the integration of the practicum community of practice model into the school based practicum course. Based on this recommendation and the findings of the study, I propose the practicum community of practice mobile application (PCOP app) that is hoped to enhance the implementation of the practicum community of practice model and provide interconnected channels of communication between the practicum members.
Supervisor: Meier, G. ; Wilson, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available