The findings of this study identified practicum areas that meet the educational demands of candidates while highlighting practicum areas that need improvement. The study contributes to the knowledge base of the field by drawing upon feedback from university supervisors, school mentors and program candidates to evaluate and improve the practicum experience in the educational leadership program. Program candidates are in the best position to discuss their recent experiences of exposure to the real world. Supervisors and mentors can witness from their first hand experience how effective practicum activities work. Responses from supervisors, mentors and candidates regarding leadership practicum experiences are valuable to program developers in their future program redesign effort. Practicum experiences expose candidates to real-world school leadership experiences. Unfortunately, because of all kinds of conditional limitations, such practicum experiences can only be offered in conjunction with candidates' regular work in school. However, leadership practicum experiences can be well planned with a high collaboration of supervisors, mentors and candidates who have an invested interest in school improvement. In this study, what we learn from the differences of perceptions among supervisors, mentors and candidates is a caution to all stakeholders that we need to do a better job to prepare the next generation of school leaders. Supervisors, mentors and candidates need to form a coalition to explore other options, especially out-of-the-box strategies, to deliver a highly effective practicum program for potential educational leaders.
Journal of College Teaching and Learning