Teaching Practicums Abroad: Increasing the Professionalization of Preservice Foreign Language Teachers

Teaching Practicums Abroad: Increasing the Professionalization of Preservice Foreign Language Teachers

Karin Vogt (Heidelberg University of Education, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9279-2.ch071

Abstract

European student teachers have the opportunity to complete a work placement at a partner school in a target language country. The focus of this study was on 35 undergraduate preservice teachers who completed a teaching practicum placement in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland between 2010-2014. Data from five years of reflective reports were content analysed and complemented with focus group discussions after the students' stay abroad. This chapter briefly outlines the structure of the teaching practicums, delineates data collection and analysis methods, and discusses the results in order to gauge the potential of such experiences for students' intercultural learning and overall professional development. Results indicated an interconnection of categories with the ‘professionalization' of preservice teachers featuring most prominently.
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Background

Collentine (2009, p. 218) defined study abroad as the ‘context [which] takes place in countries where the L2 enjoys an important sociological and functional status, entailing a combination of planned curriculum and host family’. While this definition of a study abroad context is rather limited to university undergraduate students pursuing a more or less rigorous degree program, I would like to argue for a broader definition of the term that encompasses different formats of instruction in the framework of a curriculum and also other forms of housing arrangements. A working definition for this chapter would be for study abroad to be part of a university degree program that enhances professionalisation and global citizenship through increased opportunities for intercultural and experiential learning, among others.

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