Teacher Candidates’ Perception of Their First Week School Placement: Comparison Between Online and Face-To-Face Practicum Learnings and Challenges

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Perspektivy nauki i obrazovania – Perspectives of Science and Education

Publication Date



Introduction. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the pre-service teachers’ education system because the need for social distancing forced pedagogies to shift the mode of practicum from face-to-face to online spaces. It was noticed that studies highlighting the differences in the pre-service teachers’ perceptions about the online and face-to-face modes of practicum are rare in the UAE context. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate the differences between learning outcomes and challenges of pre-service teachers, who have enrolled in face-to-face practicum and those who did online practicum. Study participants and methods. After obtaining the written informed consent, a sample of 20 pre-service teachers (10 from online and 10 face-to-face practicum) from the UAE was selected. The data was collected from the participants in the form of qualitative answers in essay format, after the first week of the practicum. The data analysis was performed using the thematic analysis method. Results. The findings show that face-to-face practicum is superior to online practicum in terms of observation and practice-based learnings for skills like classroom management, student-engagement and teaching customization and differentiation. This superiority was mainly due to the lack of proper tools in online classroom management and to achieve person-to-person interactions. The curriculum plan was also more suited to face-to-face teaching. The non-cooperation of the mentors is the common challenge faced by pre-service teachers from both face-to-face and online groups. This study highlights the need for developing proper tools to enhance the online practicum and to improve the personal interactions. Need for improving the mentors’ involvement in practicum is also underscored. Practical significance. This study explored the differences in efficacy between the online and face-to-face practicum and the challenges faced by the pre-service teachers during the first week of their practicum in the UAE context. The results of this study highlight the areas of concern in both online and face-to-face mode, which can be used by the policy makers in the UAE to improve the teacher education programs.







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online teaching, school placement, teacher education, internship, pre-service teachers, classroom management, perceptions

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


Open Access Type

Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series