Practicum courses in particular are designed to encourage practicum students to reflect on and to participate in teaching-related activities under the supportive guidance of both a MATESOL seminar-based practicum course instructor and a language classroom-based cooperating teacher (Crookes, 2003).
However, MATESOL practicum course structures tend to differ from those featured in colleges of education.
The particular structures and contexts of the practicum course in MATESOL programs have motivated some earlier research.
In another study, Johnson (2003) explored the effects of working as a cooperating teacher with an NNES graduate student completing a MATESOL degree.
However, to the best of our knowledge, no available literature reports on cooperating teachers' perspectives and beliefs about their roles in the MATESOL practicum.
How do cooperating teachers experience the MATESOL practicum course?
What are cooperating teachers' roles and responsibilities during the MATESOL practicum course?
In the following section we discuss the context of the study, provide detailed descriptions of the format of the MATESOL teaching practicum, and introduce the focal cooperating teacher informants who participated in a series of research interviews.
The study took place in a MATESOL program housed in a department of applied linguistics and ESL in a large research university in the southeast region of the US.
The first individual-interview cooperating teacher, Rachel, had previously earned a MATESOL degree from the same department in which the study took place.
As a required graduate course leading to the MATESOL degree, practicum students and the practicum course instructor meet for two and a half hours weekly in the practicum seminar.
One of the clearest findings from the data is that cooperating teachers would like to be more fully informed about the MATESOL program's and practicum course instructors' expectations for the role of a cooperating teacher.