A WebCT Discussion Forum during a TESL Practicum: Pre-service Teachers’ Perceptions of Learning

Susan Parks

Abstract


Within teacher education programs, the use of discussion forums offers potential for creating learning communities whereby participants can negotiate meaning and engage in knowledge construction (Lock, 2006; Murphy, 2000). To this end, the present article draws on the findings of a larger research project which focused on a discussion forum activity carried out with pre-service English second language (ESL) teachers during a practicum in Francophone schools in the province of Quebec. The specific question addressed in this article is: How do pre-service teachers view the discussion forum activity in relation to the practicum experience? Data were gathered using a survey questionnaire adapted from Arnold and Ducate (2006) and semi-structured interviews.  Of particular note with respect to the results is that students who participated in the discussion forum perceived the exchanges as useful in terms of their professional development as teachers. As few studies have focused on the use of discussion forums in conjunction with a practicum, areas for future research have been identified.

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Print ISSN: 1481-868X
Online ISSN: 1920-1818