The complexity of practicum in initial teacher education, in terms of the range of diverse social relations and differing school contexts, provides a challenge for teacher educators worldwide, aiming to guide and shape opportunities for student teachers learning to teach. This challenge is further compounded by societal problems linked to child poverty. Drawing from social capital theory, this paper explores the kinds of social relations that are currently associated with student teachers’ practicum experience in schools located in areas of social and economic deprivation or with significant proportions of pupils living in poverty. The paper brings to the surface types of social relations that are beneficial to mitigating the effects of poverty on educational outcomes. The case is made that practicum does not currently support the principles of social capital theory by enabling student teachers to develop an understanding of how to make connections, and develop the social relationships required to support positive educational outcomes for the children and young people in such contexts. Findings indicate that more effective ‘joint practice’ is required to better support student teachers’ professional learning.
- student teachers
- social capital