Alberta's Student Teacher Practicum: A Legal Analysis of the Statutory and Regulatory Framework, 13(1)
AbstractIn 2005, a total of approximately 2, 915 student teachers were placed for practicum[i] purposes in Alberta’s schools by the five Alberta universities which offer teacher preparation programs leading to the Bachelor of Education degree: the University of Alberta,[ii] the University of Calgary,[iii] the University of Lethbridge,[iv] King’s University College,[v] and Concordia University College of Alberta.[vi] That number of placements was not unusual and indeed may increase if other institutions are accredit by the Alberta Government for the provision of teacher preparation.[vii] The legal framework for the student teacher practicum is based upon Alberta’s statutes and regulations as well as agreements between the Government of Alberta and the above mentioned institutions. Moreover, the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA)[viii] has entered into an agreement with the universities regarding matters related to cooperating teachers,[ix] and seconded teachers.[x] However, an examination of the legislation and various documents disclose some areas of concern. This paper is based upon Alberta’s legislation and documents which are relevant to student teachers’ practicum and addresses the above mentioned concerns by, a) describing the practicum framework, b) analyzing the implications of that framework, and c) recommending legislative amendments, agreements between the parties, and lastly, the creation of school districts’ policies. This paper does not address questions surrounding the legal rights and responsibilities of student teachers - which would include a further examination of both federal and provincial legislation and in particular, institutional policies and procedures. Those areas are currently being researched by the author.