• Developing teaching competence through practice

    The practicum enables student teachers to acquire beginning teaching competencies and is a core component of the Initial Teacher Preparation programme in NIE. The purpose of the practicum is to help prepare student teachers for the realities of student teaching by providing them with a clear understanding of the contexts for schooling.

    The practicum plays a major role in bridging “theory and practice” but beyond that, it offers the context for student teachers to develop their personal teaching competence (Smith and Lev-Ari, 2005, 291) and to acquire and develop the knowledge of teaching and professional content knowledge of teachers (Shulman, 1987). It is through the practicum experience that student teachers develop important professional knowledge such as knowledge of people, knowledge of themselves, self-control and inter-personal sensitivity - all of which are important traits that would see them though their professional lives (Eraut, 1988, cited in Yan & He, 2009). In addition, practicum teaches soft skills such as independent problem-solving, working collegially with fellow staff teachers and developing professional values and attitudes (Ramsden, 1992).

    During practicum, student teachers are mentored and guided by their School Coordinating Mentors (SCMs), Cooperating Teachers (CTs) and NIE Supervisors (NIES) through systematic observations, assistance and advice. They will have opportunities to become involved with, and actively participate in all aspects of the school’s activities. Through these experiences they will learn to link theory and practice, and to acquire the understanding and skills necessary for teaching effectively in a range of classroom situations.


    Ramsden, P. (1992) Learning to Teach in Higher Education. London: Routledge.

    Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge as teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1–22.

    Smith, K., & Lev-Ari, L. (2005). The place of the practicum in pre-service teacher education: The voice of the students. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 33, 3, 289–302.

    Yan, C., & He, C. (2010) Transforming the existing model of teaching practicum: A study of Chinese EFL student teachers' perceptions. Journal of Education for Teaching36, 1, 57-73.

    Associate Dean, Practicum &
    School Partnerships


    Associate Professor
    Ivy Tan Geok Chin


    Assistant Dean, Practicum


    Dr Jessie Png Lay Hoon


    Assistant Dean, Professional
    Practice & Inquiry


    Dr Chua Bee Leng


    Assistant Dean, International &
    School Partnerships


    Dr Alexius Chia Ti Yong

  • Like many of the world’s high-performing teacher education providers, NIE adopts a university-based teacher education model characterised by classroom-based courses and a school based-practicum. The practicum offers a glimpse of the concordant partnership that NIE shares with MOE and schools, with all stakeholders working together to help student teachers make effective transitions from campus learning to classroom teaching.

    The robust partnership between NIE, MOE and schools is a key driver of NIE’s internationally recognised teacher education programmes. To strengthen the tripartite relationship along the whole continuum and reinforce the theory-practice nexus, NIE adopted an Enhanced Partnership Model.

    enhanced-partnership-modelThe Enhanced Partnership Model provides the necessary collaborative framework of shared values and goals in the interest of teacher learning and education research, while recognizing the need for mutual respect for each partner’s roles, beliefs, perspectives, experiences, expertise and knowledge. The NIE – Schools partnership is particularly significant in strengthening the theory-practice nexus. The theory-practice gap has been acknowledged as the main shortcoming of teacher education the world over, whether institutions or national agencies subscribe to the university-based or school-based models. Under the Enhanced Partnership Model, schools take on a bigger, more active role in practicum, school attachments and other in-situ collaborative platforms that facilitate professional development and bridge the gap between campus-based learning and ‘real classroom settings’.

    Together with MOE, the strong tripartite relationship promotes solidarity of intentions and efforts to provide teachers with the best support in equipping them for their work in 21st century classrooms.

    Adapted from “TE21: A Teacher Education Model for the 21st Century”

  • Generally, Practicum takes the form of a shorter period of attachment to schools for school experience and teaching assistantship, and another of a longer duration for block teaching. The duration of each of these components varies from programme to programme, and at different stages of the initial teacher preparation. For every practicum, arrangements are made with the schools (with input from the Ministry of Education) to provide opportunities for the student teachers to teach their subjects of specialisation to intact classes.

  • Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL)
    • As an employer, MOE takes the issue of attendance very seriously.  NIE student teachers being employees of the Ministry are required to report to school everyday (except Saturday and Sunday) during the period of the practicum unless they have been granted official leave or are on medical leave.  For any unauthorised absence, MOE would need to take action on salary deduction promptly so as not be subject to audit query
    • Leave taken by student teachers must be applied through the Office of Academic Administration and Services (OAAS) of NIE, not the school. Applications must be made on the prescribed Medical Certificate form obtainable from the NIE Portal.
    • All health-related  absences  must  be  supported  by  medical  certificates. Originals should be shown to the school and a photocopy of which must be submitted without delay and without demand upon returning to the school. The original MCs should be pasted onto the Medical Certificate form and be submitted to the Student Services Centre of NIE within 2 weeks from the date of  the MC.
    • For school personnel:
      If a student teacher is absent and has not called within 2 days to give the school a valid reason for absence (i.e., either has been granted leave by NIE or is on medical leave of which the original MC should be promptly showed to the school for verification purpose and followed up with copies of the official documents for the school), please keep Practicum Office/NIE informed by completing the AWOL form and faxing it to 6896 9110.  As a follow-up, a letter of warning will be issued to the student teacher straightaway.

    • The letter of warning advises student teachers that they have to submit a written explanation to the Associate Dean of Practicum & School Partnerships. They must also extend a copy of the explanation letter to the school principal and MOE for their follow-up action, if any.
    • Student teachers should be aware of the Institute's stand on leave and absence as details are provided in our General Information Handbook.  New student teachers have been advised to access the NIE website for the handbook. They have also been reminded of the matter at their practicum briefing.

    Leave Application or Medical Leave

    Refer to 'FAQ' section.

    Practicum Failure or Incompletion

    Refer to 'FAQ' section.

    Note: MOE determines the posting of a student teacher when he/she starts off a new semester with only the final year practicum left to do (i.e. no other coursework in that semester).

    Practicum Posting Arrangement

    Generally, practicum postings are arranged as shown below:

    Type of Practicum
    Posted by

    Dip Art/Music Ed, Dip HE ED, Dip(CL) Ed(1-yr progs)

    Teaching Practice


    Dip Ed, Dip PE (2-yr progs)

    Teaching Practice 1
    Teaching Practice 2

    Same school





    BA/BSc (Ed)

    School Experience

    Same school


    Teaching Assistantship

    Teaching Practice 1

    In one school but a different school from SE/TA

    Teaching Practice 2

    PGDE (PE)

    Teaching Practice 1


    Teaching Practice 2


    PGDE (Pri), PGDE (Sec) & PGDE (JC)

    Teaching Practice


    Posting Request

    For postings by NIE:

    If a student teacher wishes to be posted to a specific school, they should submit their requests through their desired school to the Practicum Unit of NIE. Requests must be done before the initial posting (i.e. SE/TP1 for Dip Art/Music Ed,Dip Ed and Dip PE, TP for Dip Ed (CL) & Dip HE Ed (1-yr programmes), SE/TP1 for BA/BSc(Ed), TP1 for PGDE(PE)). The deadline for requests is usually around March and it shall be announced on the NIE Portal.

    Requesting for a change of school after the first practicum

    There is normally no change in school because student teachers are expected to return to their previous practicum schools to continue with their next practicum. However if a student teacher has shifted very far away (e.g.: from east to west) and would like to request for a change in practicum posting, they should fill in a Request for Change of School Form and submit it to the Practicum Unit of NIE. Do note that any change in a student teacher's residential address made in the NIE Portal does NOT trigger an automatic change of practicum posting. To update address and other personal particulars with MOE, please refer to the 'FAQ' section.

    For postings by MOE:

    Look out for announcements on NIE Portal for MOE Placement Briefings. Staff from MOE's HR Solutions & Capabilities Division, would come to NIE to brief student teachers on how they do postings and how student teachers can contact them for posting matters. The briefings are usually held in Oct/Nov for those doing February practicums and Apr/May for those doing June practicums. MOE staff would also talk about final posting (school student teachers go to after graduating from NIE), so make it a point to attend their briefings.  For final posting related matters, please channel your queries to

  • Journal Paper

    Goh, K. C., Wong, A. F. L., Choy, D., & Tan, J. P. I. (2009). Confidence levels after practicum experiences of student teachers in Singapore: An exploratory study. KEDI Journal of Educational Policy, 6 (2), 121-140. (For personal use)

    Wong, A. F. L., & Goh, K. C. (2002). Practicum in teacher training: A preliminary and qualitative assessment of the improved NIE-School Partnership model in Singapore. Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 30(2), 197-206.

    Book Chapter

    Wong, F. L. A., & Goh, K. C. (2009). Practicum and partnership in initial teacher preparation: the Singapore experience. In C. P. Lim, K. Cock, G. Lock, & C. Brook (Eds.), Innovative practices in pre-service teacher education: An Asia-Pacific perspective (pp. 105-117). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

    Conference Paper

    Liu, W. C., & Wang, C. K. J. (2010, December). Student Teachers' Motivation and Experience during Practicum. Paper presented at Asia Conference of Education, Osaka.

    Research Projects

    Title of project


    Principal Investigator & Members


    Field Experience in Teacher Education: Insights on motivational processes and Theory-Practice nexus


    LIU Woon Chia (TE, PS)

    Oct 10 – Oct 12

    A Longitudinal Study of Teacher Values and Competencies in the Initial Years of Teaching


    GOH Kim Chuan (OAQM/ HSSE)
    WONG Foong Lin Angela (LST)
    CHONG Nguik Yin Sylvia (OAQM/VPA)CHOY Doris (LST)
    LIM Kam Ming (TE, PS)
    LEE Ong Kim (PLS)
    LIU Woon Chia (TE, PS)
    LOW Ee Ling (TE, ELL)

    2008 - 2012

  • Read about our FAQ here.

  • Practicum Office

    National Institute of Education
    1 Nanyang Walk
    Singapore 637616

    Tel: +65 6790 3308 / 3311 / 3229 
    Fax: +65 6896 9110