Journal of Student Engagement: Education Matters


Welcome to issue six of the Journal of Student Engagement: Education matters. In the journal’s short existence our undergraduate authors have had their articles downloaded approx. 80,000 times. When the journal started, such a figure in such a short time was beyond our wildest expectations. It is a credit to all of the undergraduate authors that, through their dedication to their disciplines and education, the journal has reached such a wide audience. Teaching, however, requires a different set of skills to writing an article. For each of our contributors, their formative teaching skills came not from writing essays but from practical experiences in the classroom. In this regard professional experiences (also known as practicum, prac. or PEX) play a fundamental role for teacher trainees. They allow students to assess their teaching skills, to reflect on their experiences and to adapt and improve in a real-world situation. For some students, it provides an opportunity to realise that teaching is not for them; for the majority, though, practical experience in the classroom is an affirmation not just of the career they have chosen but also of themselves and the value they bring to the classroom. The combination of quality professional classroom experiences and an opportunity to partake in such experiences in the early stages of pre-service teaching degrees is fundamental to the development of teaching competence. It is in the context of professional experience that the genesis for the ideas of each of this issue’s contributors lie.