Learning to teach online: student teachers’ perceptions of an online English language teaching practicum at a Sri Lankan state university


  • C.D. Senaratne Department of English Language Teaching, University of Kelaniya
  • R. Hettimullage Department of English Language Teaching, University of Kelaniya


This study examines student-teacher perceptions  of an English language teaching practicum conducted online in 2020 and 2021 at a state university in Sri Lanka. This non-experimental case study investigates the changes in perceptions  of participants towards online learning, teaching, online interactions, and perceptions towards the online platform as a learning environment. Using a 5 point Likert Scale format (in the pre survey) and 4 point Likert Scale format (in the post survey), this study explored 64 student-teachers’ perceptions  towards a newly converted online practicum. The student-teachers took part in a pre and post  questionnaire at the beginning and end of the practicum. Detailed information about their online experiences was gathered through an open ended question given to all students. Questions focused on perceptions  about teaching, learning online, administration of course, development of needs analyses, lesson material, duration and completion of course. The results show that participants’ perceptions  at the beginning of the course improved significantly towards the latter part of the course when reaching completion in 2020 when the online practicum was newly introduced. Significantly, students who were following online lectures in the year 2021 have reacted positively to the online practicum. Detailed comments provide more insights into the learning, teaching strategies encountered in the online teaching practicum. The study indicates the factors that can make a difference to change the perceptions  of student-teachers in curriculum, assessment, teaching and learning strategies. It also offers an alternative mechanism to conduct teaching practicums during challenging times.

KEYWORDS: Online teaching, Teaching educator, Teaching practicum, English as a Second Language, Pandemic