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Understanding Pre-Service Teachers' Practicum Experiences in the Context of COVID-19

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Social Impacts

The purpose of this project is to better understand how K-12 teacher candidates in Canada and the United States navigated student teaching experiences that took place online as a result of COVID-19 school closures. Prior to March 2020, it was well understood that K-12 teacher education programs in Canada and the United States were designed to support teacher candidates in building a knowledge base for teaching (e.g., Shulman, 1986). Traditionally, this knowledge base included content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and curricular knowledge. In the last 20 years, new policies and curriculum standards demanded teachers also develop a specific knowledge base for equitable literacy teaching, given rapidly changing demographics, new modes and technologies of communication, new accountability systems, and the impacts of globalization (e.g., Accurso & Gebhard, 2020). What has rarely been discussed is the fact that nearly all teacher education programs operate under the shared assumption that this is a knowledge base for in-person teaching. This aspect of teacher preparation became incredibly salient in March 2020, when schools across North America made emergency shifts to remote teaching in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Colleges of education, in conjunction with local schools and teacher certification authorities, developed creative solutions for teacher candidates to virtually complete the student teaching experiences required to earn a teaching credential. Little is known about how teacher candidates adapted their developing knowledge base to student teaching in a context not addressed in their teacher education program. This project seeks to better understand their experiences.