TEACHER trainees from the 27 Teacher Education Institutes go for their teaching practicum to primary schools in areas around their campus.
The stint starts from the fifth semester or from the second half of their second year in campus.
Each teaching practicum takes between six and eight weeks of their academic semester.
The practicum is a very important component for teacher trainees as it gives them their first experience of teaching in class.
Generally the trainees are given eight to ten lessons per week or an average of about an hour each school day.
While it may seem that the trainees are free because they only teach just one hour a day, they are required to write elaborate and detailed lesson plans for their daily lessons.
Together with the exhaustive lesson plan, the teacher trainees have to prepare suitable teaching materials such as worksheets and teaching aids to complement the lesson.
After each lesson, they are expected to submit a report identifying the strengths and weakness of the lesson.
They are also required to offer suggestions on how best they can improve the lesson.
Every week the teacher trainees must submit a case study of a pupil who has behavioural or discipline problems.
Examples are of children sleeping in the classroom, or those being perpetually late to school or being absent regularly.
The teacher trainee needs to investigate and even come up with ways to resolve the matter at hand.
All this is recorded in a journal, and checked by the trainee’s lecturer.
The trainees will have to prepare their lesson plan and be on guard every day, as their lecturers have the right to come into the class unannounced.
In school, they are assigned to teacher mentors who are expected to guide them.
Trainees are also expected to take on special projects.
Some schools expect the teacher trainees to help and organise the school’s sports day, prize-giving day or inter-school co-curricular competitions.
Much of their time after school is then spent training their charges or being involved in other activities.
They sometimes work on weekends to complete their tasks.
There are days when the trainees are burdened with additional duties by the school and have to stand in for teachers who are absent for the day.
The trainees are also expected to conduct extra lessons for weaker pupils and those in examination classes.
But is right for schools to burden them with so many tasks?
Hopefully school heads and senior teachers focus on developing the trainees’ pedagogical skills in the classroom.
Most trainees these days are innovative in the way they teach and integrate technology into lessons.
Being young, they have a way in connecting with young people. School authorities must draw the line and allow the trainees to work within their scope and responsibilities. Samuel Yesuiah Seremban The STAR Home News Education Sunday, 7 August 2016