The practicum enables student teachers to acquire beginning teaching competencies and is a core componentof the Initial Teacher Preparation programme in NIE. The purpose of the practicum is to help prepare studentteachers for the realities of student teaching by providing them with a clear understanding of the contexts forschooling.The practicum plays a major role in bridging “theory and practice” but beyond that, it offers the context forstudent teachers to develop their personal teaching competence (Smith and Lev-Ari, 2005, 291) and to acquireand develop the knowledge of teaching and professional content knowledge of teachers (Shulman, 1987). It isthrough the practicum experience that student teachers develop important professional knowledge such asknowledge of people, knowledge of themselves, self-control and inter-personal sensitivity - all of which areimportant traits that would see them though their professional lives (Eraut, 1988, cited in Yan & He, 2009). Inaddition, practicum teaches soft skills such as independent problem-solving, working collegially with fellow staffteachers 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 andadvice. They will have opportunities to become involved with, and actively participate in all aspects of theschool’s activities. Through these experiences they will learn to link theory and practice, and to acquire theunderstanding and skills necessary for teaching effectively in a range of classroom situations.ReferencesRamsden, P. (1992) Learning to Teach in Higher Education. London: Routledge.Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge as teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard EducationalReview, 57, 1–22.Smith, K., & Lev-Ari, L. (2005). The place of the practicum in pre-service teacher education: The voice of thestudents. 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 EFLstudent teachers perceptions. Journal of Education for Teaching, 36, 1, 57-73.