Understanding Pre-Service Teachers’ Legal Literacy and Experiences with Legal Issues in Practicum Placements: An Exploratory Study


There is a dearth of research that examines legal literacy among pre-service teachers in Canada. Pre-service teachers’ legal literacy refers to the knowledge level that teacher candidates in teacher education programs have with respect to educational law and policy and how it affects their preparation for entering the teaching profession. This article presents findings from an exploratory mixed-methods study that examined teacher candidates’ (n=1731) reflections that detailed observations of and experiences with legal issues while on practicum placements in a teacher education program in one southeastern Ontario university during three academic years. We identify teacher candidates’ most frequently cited aspects of school law and policy; analyze teacher candidates’ awareness of school laws and policies pertaining to those aspects; and, explore their perceived preparedness to deal with legal issues occurring in their practicum placements. We conclude with the discussion of findings and research implications for teacher education programs.

Author Biography

Benjamin Kutsyuruba, Queen's University
Associate Professor, Associate Director of Social Program Evaluation Group (SPEG), Faculty of Education