While ‘belonging’ has a long and established place in the psycho-social literature on human functioning, it is a much less prominent construct in Initial Teacher Education. The present article seeks to address this gap by exploring student teachers’ experiences of belonging during teaching practice. Seventeen participants contributed to the study, with a range of qualitative methods being used including focus group and semi-structured individual interviews, as well as online discussion forum data. Analysis revealed three interrelating dimensions, at whole-school, interpersonal and personal levels, with their interaction being central to student teachers’ achievement of belonging. The implications for those involved in supporting student teachers’ professional development while on school placement are subsequently considered.
- initial teacher education
- pre-service teaching experience
- student teaching