EDUC 242 and EDUC 342: Pre-Student Teaching Clinical Experiences I & II
Pre-student teaching field experiences, which are required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for secondary English teaching certification, are a part of the program of studies in English education at IUP. Such early experiences in schools enable the prospective teacher to connect the theories studied in on-campus courses with classroom contexts.
Pre-student teaching consists of two placements involving observation and participation in English education classrooms under the supervision and mentorship of a cooperating teacher. Early in the semester, students enrolled in EDUC 242 and 342 are asked to attend an initial meeting with faculty assigned to those courses, followed by six additional meetings as the field study progresses. Faculty members assist students in determining appropriate requests for placements in schools and submit the necessary paperwork to the College of Education. All placements for pre-student teaching are made by officials in the College of Education.
Some students complete, during the semester, the required 35 hours of observation and participation for one of these requirements in schools that are within a twenty-mile radius of IUP. The school districts most frequently used for pre-student teaching placements are Indiana, Marion Center, Homer Center, Purchase Line, and United. Other students arrange a schedule which permits one free day a week so that they can travel to the city of Pittsburgh for five full days of supervised field experience. Still other students wait until the end of the semester or semester break and complete their 35 hours in schools near their home towns during November, December, January, March, or May. And others take advantage of the Philadelphia Urban Experience, an intensive two-week stay in the inner city in May where pre-student teachers observe, team teach, and discuss issues specifically related to diverse and multicultural populations. All students are required to create artifacts for their professional portfolios.
Students keep an observation log while observing in the school. After each day’s observation, they select interesting aspects of what they have noted and reflect on those observations, making connections to the literacy learning theory they are studying in their courses. Students discuss their experiences with supervisors and others enrolled in pre-student teaching a minimum of two or three times during the semester and a maximum of every day in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh experiences. At the end of pre-student teaching, each student is asked to write a discovery paper on some aspect of classroom interaction focused upon in the observation and reflection. Finally, each student presents the observation log/reflective journal and the final paper to the course instructor/supervisor and makes an appointment to discuss the experience, the paper, and the appropriate grade.
Just as pre-student teaching offers some students a chance to affirm their commitment to becoming secondary English teachers, it helps others realize that teaching may not be their best career choice. Students questioning their decision to major in English education are encouraged to talk with any member of the English education faculty.
Students must take EDUC 242, 342, and 441 in an exact sequence for a total of 70 hours of pre-student teaching and fifteen weeks of student teaching (also see the Eight Semester Sequence in Design).
We encourage all candidates to conduct at least one of the three required school-site experiences in an urban setting such as Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, one in a suburban setting, and one in a rural setting, if possible; we also encourage that candidates observe both in junior and senior highs
The fifteen-week student teaching experience is 12 credits at the undergraduate level and is the culminating experience for Pennsylvania state certification and graduation with a Bachelor of Science in English degree at IUP. This experience complies with the Pennsylvania state, INTASC, and NCATE standards for teacher certification.
Students enrolled in this course (EDUC 441) should have completed the secondary English methods course (EDUC 452) the previous semester, have filed an application for student teaching, and have been accepted for placement in a school site with a cooperating teacher. Students doing this clinical experience must have current Act 34 (criminal record check) and Act 151 (child abuse) clearances.
The Student Teaching Handbook is the packet of information that will guide candidates through the student teaching experience; it contains all of the forms that student teachers, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors will be completing for observations and evaluations as well as the basic requirements and competencies for the semester of student teaching and for certification in English education. The College of Education requires that students purchase and read the handbook carefully so as not to miss any important information that could prevent them from certification or graduation in a timely manner, particularly the grading scale that will be used for assessment at mid-semester and at the end of student teaching. All supervisors require the exact same expectations so that we are consistent with all of the student teachers we supervise in the English education program.
To be more specific, we require that each student teacher complete a portfolio of all interactions and teaching each semester. The university supervisor will collect candidates’ portfolios (they generally use a three-ring binder for hard copy and also do an electronic portfolio which can be saved to a CD) and use them for mid-term and final evaluation. In the portfolio students keep clearances, absentee forms, a copy of each evaluation form for the observations the co-op and supervisor make, a copy of the lesson plan (and/or unit plan) they did for that observation, and their written reflections about the lesson after they taught it, their observations of other teachers, and their reactions to the professional articles/books they are reading.
We also require that student teachers keep a journal and write in it at least once a week about experiences from that week—what was learned, what went well, what they still have questions about, what came up at meetings they had—anything that they think would be pertinent to their growth and development as a secondary English teacher. This journal should be part of the student teacher portfolio. Another worthwhile thing candidates often do during student teaching is make a videotape teaching a class.
The university supervisor is required to conduct formal observations of the student teacher a minimum of three times during the fifteen weeks and also conducts formal mid-semester and final evaluations with the co-op and student teacher. At each supervisory appointment, the student teacher will receive comments from the supervisor and cooperating teacher on personal appearance, general rapport with the class, organization and management, poise and confidence, communication skills, and use of instructional materials in addition to the general comments and suggestions the supervisor writes according to what the student teacher would ask the supervisor to observe.
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