Support and Challenges during Teaching Practicum: A Survey of B. Ed (Hons) Prospective Teachers of Public Universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Teaching practicum is an essential and mandatory component of any teacher education program, which is also manifested from the weightage given to it in the B.Ed. (Hons) scheme of studies. This paper explores perceptions of prospective teachers about support and challenges during teaching practicum in public universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The study also sought to explore the concerns of prospective teachers of the school environment and staff, mentoring and cooperative teachers’ support, and classroom management during teaching practicum placement. Following a quantitative approach, data were collected through purposive sampling technique, using an adapted form of the Extended Practicum Learning Environment Inventory (EPELI). The study included participants from three public sector universities, namely the University of Peshawar, Islamia College University Peshawar, and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar. The findings show that prospective teachers received support from their mentors, peers, and school administration. The results also show that that prospective teachers faced various challenges during teaching practicum, which included mentor support, teaching anxiety, coping with mischievous students, lack of support from para-teaching staff at schools, and lack of involvement in school administrative matters. For improving the quality of teaching practicum at schools, proper school – college partnerships must be maintained, structures of school-based professional support are properly and professionally developed and maintained, and a deeper awareness of learner-cantered pedagogy is enacted.