Practicum - A space for leadership and mentoring
Associate teachers (AT) play a crucial role in supporting beginning teachers but there is little research that identifies the practicum as an opportunity for advancing ATs’ leadership capability. While research identifies mentoring as central to the way ATs support beginning teachers entering the profession, there is little explicit discussion of the leadership skills ATs engage in and model to student teachers during a practicum experience. Nor is there explicit acknowledgement of the AT role as a pathway to leadership for early childhood educators.
In this article we draw from a case study located in a provincial New Zealand town and a review of literature to demonstrate that practicum is largely overlooked as a space for early childhood teachers to develop and advance their leadership skills. We argue that mentoring and supervision of student teachers during practicum provides a rich opportunity for associate teachers to increase their own professional knowledge and expertise as leaders within early childhood.
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