Raising the curtain: Investigating the practicum experiences of pre-service drama teachers
Social Science Press
School of Education
The practicum is internationally recognised as a valuable component of teacher education. It is an opportunity for pre-service teachers to develop teaching skills in authentic ways and pursue professional inquiry into practice. While extensive research has been conducted into the practicum generally, little research focuses on the practicum experience for pre-service drama teachers. This article, investigates the preparation of drama teachers for the profession with a particular focus on the practicum component of pre-service education. Drawing on the experiences of 19 pre-service drama teachers from a Western Australian university, focus-groups were conducted in order to scope the key components of the enablers and constraints embedded in their practicum. Four key themes were identified: stress, self-efficacy, mentoring practices, and teaching craft. In addition, the dimensions of each theme in relation to the adequate preparation of drama teachers were further revealed. Particular to the research was the role played by the extra curricula demands associated with drama as a learning area, and the mismatch between participant's experience of drama and the culture shock many experienced in contemporary times. The research further emphasised the highs and lows of practicum, illuminating conditions most conducive to a quality practicum where pre-service drama teachers are able to develop pedagogy and the self-efficacy necessary to be an effective drama teacher, and importantly, one who remains in the profession.