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Practicum Manual

FOREWORD

This manual introduces the conceptual framework, policies, and procedures governing the practicum components of the Shepherd University Teacher Education Program.  It is a comprehensive guide to all field experiences associated with courses in all specializations. It lists responsibilities of teachers, supervisors, and teacher candidates.

It is designed to provide teacher candidates, public school personnel and university employees with information needed to examine coherence across overall practicum experiences or to closely examine the policies, procedures, and expectations for a particular practicum. Questions about practicum components should be sent to the Director of Teacher Education.

PHILOSOPHY AND THEME OF EDUCATOR PREPARATION AT SHEPHERD UNIVERSITY

TEACHER AS REFLECTIVE PROBLEM SOLVER (TARPS), the conceptual framework providing both the philosophical and practical compass for the Teacher Education Program at Shepherd University, embodies our belief that the complexity of teaching and learning precludes a formulaic approach.

Education should empower all students to make informed choices, actively participate in the shaping of one’s own life and the shaping of the social, cultural, political, and economic structures of a democratic society. Teachers facilitate this empowerment.  Our purpose in providing practicum experiences is to facilitate the development of teacher candidates who demonstrate the willingness and capacity for a pedagogy that truly empowers all students in our diverse classrooms.

To be reflective, teacher candidates need to deeply understand and be able to articulate their own definitions of teaching as well as reflect on their own learning needs. In order to effectively respond to the range of concerns found in the classroom, a teacher needs to be concurrently reflective across three fields of consideration: Action, Interpretation, and Critical Reflection.

The teacher examines her/his Action and is concerned with the effective application of pedagogical knowledge and strategies to achieve stated educational goals for every student.  This action is subject to Interpretation.  Here the teacher explicates and justifies the assumptions and predispositions that underlie her/his teaching/learning activity.  During the process of Critical Reflection, the teacher assesses the adequacy of the educational goals toward which the educational experience leads and incorporates moral and ethical criteria in assessing the objective outcomes of teaching/learning activities.

In the interplay between coursework and practicum experiences, practicum experiences provide teacher candidates with opportunities to approach teaching by identifying problems, framing them in meaningful contexts, considering alternative solutions, choosing and implementing courses of action, and reflectively analyzing evidence collected to improve outcomes in the ongoing cycle of teaching and learning.

Programmatically, this is accomplished by the interplay between coursework and practicum experiences. Most of the courses in our Professional Education sequence are characterized by a cyclic pattern of attendance in campus-based course/experiences and performance in a field-based site.  This campus-practicum-campus-practicum pattern ensures that each episode of action is followed by a systematic opportunity to reflect on practical experience and the theoretical frameworks that guide practical activity.  Practicums are not just opportunities for application, but are occasions for critical reflection on the connection between practice and theory/research.

THE ROLE OF PRACTICUMS IN TARPS

During the first years at Shepherd, candidates take foundational Professional Studies courses that provide them with experiences examining the roles and responsibilities of teachers (EDUC 150/MUSC 100), working with diverse learners in a tutoring-type setting (EDUC 200), and establishing foundational knowledge critical to future pedagogy depending on specialization area (EDUC 333, 360, 361, ARED 180 and PHED 401).

Teacher candidates then embark upon a sequence of courses linked to practicums that focus on the Action-Reflection-Action Cycle. All teacher candidates take EDUC 320 Social and Psychological Conditions of Learning. The Early Education, Elementary, and Secondary experiences then diverge to accommodate specific programmatic needs while maintaining the integrity of the Action Reflection-Action Cycle. While engaged in these practicum-linked courses, they also take program specific courses that focus on increasing specialty area knowledge as it relates to teaching, curriculum development, technology and meeting the needs of diverse learners.

The concluding practicum experience is a fourteen-week full-time student teaching experience. Depending on specialty area and potential added areas of endorsement, student teaching may take place in a single classroom or be broken into two 7-week experiences.

LEVELS DEFINITIONS

  1. Awareness – the condition of being cognizant without necessarily acting upon the knowledge; an “awareness” directed by others; information about.
  2. Initiative – the condition of acting upon one’s cognizance or awareness in order to create one’s own knowledge.
  3. Development – the condition of purposeful application of one’s knowledge in order to create practical and useful outcomes.
  4. Integration – the condition of unselfconscious practice; action based on synthesized knowledge; habits of mind.

As teacher candidates advance from awareness to integration, university supervisors provide increasingly intensive supervision to support changes in expectations regarding quality and complexity of performance. These increasingly complex levels of knowledge, performance, and dispositions are also supported by the Action-Reflection-Action Cycle built into courses.

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR PRACTICUM PLACEMENT

As per state policy, teacher candidates must experience placements in schools with various diversity characteristics for exceptionalities (E), minorities (M), or both (EM). To this end, school system data is used to determine the system-wide average percentages of Exceptional and Minority students. Individual schools with averages higher than the system-wide average percentages for exceptionalities and/or minorities are coded accordingly. A record of placements is maintained by the Department of Education for each teacher candidate with attention to individual school coding. This process ensures that teacher candidates meet experiential requirements for state certification by having at least two distinct experiences in schools coded E, M or EM.

The University Placement Coordinator is responsible for contacting counties to set up practicum placements that are conducive to meeting the requirements for each course while accommodating the needs of participating schools and teachers.

Because each practicum-based course has unique requirements, during the process of identifying appropriate placements, administrators and prospective cooperating teachers will be provided with details regarding the number of hours, expectations for both teacher candidate and facilitating teacher, contact information for the designated university supervisor and necessary literature and forms.

In no case should a teacher candidate contact a school directly to set up his or her own placement. Upon receipt of field placement information, the candidate is responsible for identifying any conflicts of interest with that school (ie. has been employed by, attended, or has a family member working at or attending the school) and reporting such conflicts of interest to the field placement coordinator.

All teacher candidates must adhere to county requirements for a current negative TB test and follow both school system and university policies as to professional dress and behavior while in the school (See Shepherd University Code of Conduct for Teacher Candidates in the Field).

Designated university supervisors are responsible for overseeing the teacher candidate’s fieldwork, observing and evaluating the candidate’s performance, and collaborating with the facilitating teacher to ensure a positive experience for all. Inquiries that cannot be addressed by the designated university supervisor should be directed to the Director of Teacher Education.

PARTICIPATING SCHOOL SYSTEMS

Maryland

Frederick County

Washington County

Anne Arundel County (Art Only)

Pennsylvania

Antrim-Greencastle

Virginia

Clarke County

Frederick County

Loudoun County

Winchester City

West Virginia

Berkeley County

Grant County

Hampshire County

Jefferson County

Morgan County

TERMINOLOGY

TEACHER CANDIDATE: A Teacher Candidate is a Shepherd University Student who is in training to become a teacher. During initial experiences the teacher candidate is expected to have adequate time as defined by program requirements to observe educational activity in a classroom and dialogue with the facilitating teacher and other professionals in the school building. In later experiences, the teacher candidate will have varying responsibilities for planning, teaching, assessing, and reflecting on student learning. During student teaching, the teacher candidate assumes all duties and teaching responsibilities of the facilitating teacher. When in a practicum setting, the teacher candidate should uphold all professional standards for dress and behavior expected of certified teachers.

REFLECTIVE PAIRS: Two teacher candidates may be placed in the same classroom at the same time to promote reflection and collaboration.

FACILITATING TEACHER: The Facilitating Teacher is a classroom teacher in a public school to whom a candidate is assigned and who meets state policy requirements for mentoring a teacher candidate in their classroom, and has been approved for this responsibility by the school principal and the university Director of Teacher Education. Facilitating Teachers work may with teacher candidates in all phases of their field-based experiences and student teaching. Because the facilitating teacher represents a primary influence on quality candidate training, he/she must be selected because he/she possesses special competencies and an interest in guiding the growth of prospective teachers.

UNIVERSITY SUPERVISOR: The University Supervisor is the person designated by Shepherd University to be responsible for field supervision of the teacher candidate and for coordinating the relationship of the university, the student, and the facilitating teacher. This person is responsible to the University Director of Teacher Education. The supervisor’s concern is that the candidates make appropriate progress toward making “habits of mind” of the elements of Shepherd’s teacher education program. General responsibilities of the university supervisor include:

PRE JUNCTURE I WITHDRAWAL PROCEDURES

The following procedures pertain to withdrawals from a field placement by teacher candidates who have declared education as a major or minor, but who have not been formally admitted to the teacher education program through the juncture process.

Voluntary Withdrawal

The teacher candidate has the right to terminate her/his field placement. Teacher Candidate responsibilities:

Involuntary Withdrawal

Teacher candidates may be removed from practicum placement under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Formal request by public school administrator or facilitating teacher to terminate placement.

ACTION:

2. Teacher candidate does not demonstrate an acceptable level of competence or behavior as          evidenced by:

ACTION:

POST JUNCTURE I WITHDRAWAL PROCEDURES

The following procedures pertain to withdrawals from a field placement by students who have been formally admitted to the teacher education through the juncture process but are not yet student teachers.

Voluntary Withdrawal

The teacher candidate has the right to terminate her/his field placement. Teacher Candidate responsibilities:

Involuntary Withdrawal

Teacher candidates may be removed from practicum placement under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Formal request by public school administrator or facilitating teacher to terminate placement.

ACTION:

2. Teacher candidate does not demonstrate an acceptable level of competence or behavior as      evidenced by:

ACTION:

PRE-STUDENT TEACHING EDUCATION COURSES WITH PRACTICUM COMPONENTS

EDUC 150

EDUC 200

EDUC 320

EDUC 315/EDUC 315L

EDUC 334/EDUC 334L

EDUC 335/EDUC 335L

EDUC 351/EDUC 352

EDUC 353/EDUC 354

EDUC 370

EDUC 443

COURSES WITH PRACTICUM COMPONENTS TAUGHT BY OTHER DEPARTMENTS FOR EDUCATION MAJORS

MUSC 100

MUSC 322

MUSC 325

MUSC 326

PHED 215

PHED 301

PHED 401

PHED 431

ARED 180

ARED 325

ARED 345

EDUC 427

STUDENT TEACHING (POST JUNCTURE 2)

THE STUDENT TEACHING SEMESTER

BEGINNING TEACHERS: PROGRAM GOALS AND CANDIDATE OUTCOMES

PROGRESS OF STUDENT TEACHING

STUDENT TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS

STUDENT TEACHING SUPERVISORS

CLASSROOM ORDER AND ORGANIZATION

EVALUATION OF STUDENT TEACHING

TEACHER MISCONDUCT

CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES

CAREER DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

STUDENT TEACHER ABSENCE POLICY

PRACTICUM WITHDRAWAL PROCEDURES

PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW FOR ASSISTING A STUDENT TEACHER HAVING SERIOUS PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY FACILITATING TEACHERS

FULL MANUAL: PRACTICUM MANUAL 17