Practicum - A space for leadership and mentoring

  • Debbie Woolston Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Tracy Dayman Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
Keywords: Practicum, leadership, mentoring, early childhood, associate teachers


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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Author Biography

Debbie Woolston, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand

Debbie Woolston is a lecturer with the Whangarei Regional Education Centre of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand and has been with the organisation for  seven years. She completed her Master of Education at Waikato University in 2017, wherein she looked at the role of associate teachers in early childhood education. Her research interests tend toward better understanding and improving the practicum experience in initial teacher education.


How to Cite
Woolston, D., & Dayman, T. (2022). Practicum - A space for leadership and mentoring. Teachers’ Work, 19(1), 29-45.