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Information for Student Teachers in the Placement

Overview of the Placement

The Practicum in Teaching for Further Education (also known as the placement) is a module of the Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching (Further Education Track). This module must be completed by all student teachers intending to meet the requirements of the Teaching Council for completion of recognised teacher accreditation programme in further education.

The aim of the Placement is to develop the student teacher’s skills and competence in practical teaching in an incremental manner using a range of experiential, practical and supported learning methods including activities involving observation, team teaching, provisional teaching. The placement forms an integral part of the course where student teachers are required to demonstrate that they have achieved the appropriate level of competence in the practice of teaching. This requires that the student teacher is enabled and supported to gradually assume the role, responsibilities values and practices associated with professional teaching in the further sector.

All student teachers must complete a minimum of 130 hours of teaching placement as set out below.

The placement is divided into three phases as follows:

  • The Observation Phase
  • The Team Teaching Phase
  • The Provisional Teaching Phase

Phases and the output of each phase are presented in the figure below.


The Observation Phase

The Observation Phase requires that the student teacher observes, and where feasible, provides support for the teaching of others in a structured further education setting. To complete this phase the student teacher must observe at least 30 hours of teaching or activities directly related to teaching. The observation may take place in any of the classes that occur in the college/centre/institution. The student teacher is expected to gain experience of the range of teaching activities, styles, assessment techniques etc. Attendance at staff meetings and subject meetings may count for observation hours. In addition, activities undertaken by the student teacher in relation to furthering the process of developing their professional identity as teachers such as attendance at professional networks, events, subject associations and similar activities may also be included as observation hours – however, these will need to be included in the Schedule of Activities, agreed in advance with the Placement Tutor and evidence of participation will be required.

  • The student teacher is required to maintain an on-line Weekly Journal throughout the entire placement. He/she must log his/her experience and brief reflections on this journal on a weekly basis. Extended reflections should be left for the End of Phase Reflective Report. The Placement Tutor and other members of the programme team have access to this journal and will monitor progress.
  • At the commencement of this phase the student teacher will upload a Schedule of Activities which sets out the timetable of intended actions and clearly demonstrates how the outcomes of this phase will be achieved. The Schedule of Activities must be agreed with the college/centre/institution.
  • The Placement Tutor will meet with the student teacher during the Observation Phase.
  • In order to progress to the next phase the student teacher must complete a Reflective Report.
  • Subject to satisfactory completion of this phase the student teacher may now move on to the Team Teaching Phase.

The Team Teaching Phase

The Team Teaching Phase involves the student teacher working in class together with the Mentoring Teacher and/or other teachers in the same subject area. To complete this phase the student teacher must complete at least 35 hours of team teaching. This phase is characterised by the transition from student teacher as a support to teaching to co-teaching with an experienced colleague. This is not a sudden transition and may take place gradually over time.

  • At the commencement of this phase the student teacher will upload a Schedule of Activities which sets out the timetable of intended actions and learning outcomes of these actions.  The Schedule of Activities must be agreed with the college/centre/institution.
  • During this phase the student teacher must continue to maintain the on-line Weekly Journal and use this to document team teaching experience and brief reflections on those experiences. Extended reflections should be left for the Reflective Report.
  • During the Team Teaching Phase the Placement Tutor will make a site visit to the host college/centre. The arrangements for this visit will be notified in advance to the student teacher.
  • The Placement Tutor will meet with student teacher and the Mentoring Teacher to discuss progress.
  • In order to complete this phase the student teacher must complete a Reflective Report on his or her experiences.
  • The student teacher is required to develop a Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategy for the remainder of the placement in anticipation of proceeding to the Provisional Teaching Phase.
  • In order for the student teacher to proceed to the Provisional Teaching Phase, both the Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategy and the Schedule of Activities must be approved by the Placement Tutor and the principal (or suitable designate) of the host college/centre.

The Provisional Teaching Phase

During the Provisional Teaching Phase the student teacher is expected to practice more and more as a self-directed teacher and to take responsibility for class management and student learning. This phase is characterised by the transition from team teaching to individual teaching – this should not be a sudden transition and the student teacher must remain under the auspices of the Mentoring Teacher throughout the phase.

  • The student teacher is expected to complete at least 65 hours teaching during this phase.
  • The student teacher shall provide a Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategy for each topic. Topics may be covered over a number of class periods.  The LTA Strategies shall be posted on-line using the template provided. The student teacher is also expected to make the LTA Strategy and teaching materials available when required by the placement tutor.
  • The student teacher must maintain the on-line Weekly Journal.
  • The Placement Tutor will undertake two site visits and will observe the student teacher in class. A second marker may be present during the final site visit.
  • To complete this phase the student teacher must write a Final Reflective Report.

For detailed guidelines and requirements of preparation and undertaking the placement, please refer to the Placement Booklet.

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