|dc.description.abstract||New Zealand’s population is becoming increasingly diverse, particularly with new arrivals from the Asian continent. With this, comes the increased need for early childhood education professionals to respond authentically to children and their families from minority ethnicities. One way to do so is to employ a wide range of culturally and ethnically diverse early childhood professionals to help respond to this diversity. However, a significant body of research has suggested that Asian-born early childhood student teachers may have difficulty during initial teacher education (ITE) in Aotearoa New Zealand, especially during the practicum component. Working within an educational context completely at odds with their own personal experience appears to place additional stress upon an already potentially-stressful situation. As a result, student teachers may struggle to meet required ITE learning outcomes for practicum.
This research investigates what makes for a successful practicum experience for both Asian-born student teachers and their supervising associate teachers. Using symbolic interactionist theoretical underpinnings, it explores the experiences of three Asian-born early childhood education student teachers and their associate teachers during one of the final practicums of the students’ teaching qualification. Interviews with each of the six participants were conducted prior to, and after, the practicum to determine their changing views of success. In addition, video-stimulated discussions occurred during the practicum to gain a deeper sense of what each participant viewed as successful practice.
The findings indicate that themes of mutual respect, professional identity development, student confidence, alignment of understanding around appropriate pedagogical practice, supervision in response to student need, English language competency, and sufficient time, are all seen to contribute to success in practicum. As a result of these findings, a conceptual model of success is proposed. It shows success involves more than simply passing the externally-imposed learning outcomes of the ITE institution. Instead, success is conceptualised as occurring along two continuum; formative and summative, and internally-experienced and externally-demonstrated. With this broader understanding of success in mind, a model of a successful intercultural practicum is proposed which incorporates the key success themes. Subsequent implications for the length of practicum, support structures in place for Asian-born students and associate teachers, practicum assessment processes, and the focus of initial teacher education are discussed.||