This article is based on a study in which I have been involved for the last four years, investigating the learning of final-year primary student teachers and their school-based teacher educators during the practicum. My investigation has confirmed findings from other research indicating that student teachers’ learning in the practicum is a complex process (Feiman-Nemser, 1985; Britzman, 1986; Goodman, 1986; Zeichner, 1986; Calderhead, 1991; Groundwater-Smith, 1993). Student teacher self-esteem was found to play a central role in the complexity of the learning process. Two particular findings in relation to student teacher self-esteem are discussed in this article. Firstly, student teacher self-esteem was not static. It fluctuated throughout the practicum, depending on the nature of each individual, his/her energy level, how well he/she was managing the professional demands of “being a student teacher” and the personal pressures on him/her (including his/her own expectations) and the amount of support he/she received. Secondly, student teacher self-esteem had an impact on many aspects of the practicum experience for the student teachers. It not only affected the student teachers’ teaching, but how they interpreted the practicum, their ability to cope, their ability to interact effectively with adults and children and finally, in what they learnt from the practicum.
Student teacher self-esteem in the practicum.
Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 21(2).