The practice of feedback in practicum periods in VET – case of Swedish-speaking Finland
This paper is based on a broader research project that aims to analyze the structure of feedback that VET teacher education students at Åbo Akademi University receive during their two periods of practicum during their teacher education program. The leading research-questions are: a) How do the students receive feedback in relation to their different tasks and experiences? b) How do they experience the feedback they receive in the light of what they express as their needs? And c) how could we structure and optimise feedback so that the students receive as effective and as focussed feedback as possible? In this paper I will focus on questions b) and c). In the VET teacher education programme for the Swedish-speaking part of Finland, the students study 60 ECTS for their teacher qualification diploma. The program is structured for part-time study over a period of three years. During the last year, the students take part in two periods of practicum, which together make up 10 ECTS. The tasks, abilities and assessments that are required during a practicum period are manifold, thus the ways in which the students receive and would need to receive feedback are diverse, too. As a first step, the research project described the structure of the assessments that students are currently required to undertake, and the ways in which it is planned to give and receive feedback (research question a). This overview was compared with the students’ experience of feedback from their first practicum period and an analysis of their expressed needs for the second period (question b). The data that has been analysed consists of a questionnaire completed by 12 students between the first and second practicum period. The material has been analysed using the theory of practice architectures (Kemmis et al. 2014) to explore what enables and constrains the development of VET teacher pedagogy in the specific educational setting in Swedish-speaking Finland (question c). Expected findings are that students have difficulty knowing what kind of feedback they should expect from whom due to indistinct information about the different assignments during their practicum period; that they would both prefer and require more feedback than the teacher educators are able to offer due to the resources at the university; and that they will experience difficulties in receiving adequate feedback due to geographical challenges in the Swedish-speaking part of Finland.
Kemmis, S., Wilkinson, J., Edwards-Groves, C., Grootenboer, P., Hardy, I., & Bristol, L. (2014). Changing practices, changing education. New York: Springer.