3a. Collaboration between Unit and School Partners
3a.1. Who are the unit’s partners in the design, delivery, and evaluation of the unit’s field and clinical experience?
The unit, in cooperation with its partner school districts and the unit’s Advisory Board Committee; designs, delivers and evaluates field experiences and clinical practices to help the teacher candidate develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions identified in the unit’s conceptual framework and in state and professional standards.
The field experiences are designed to allow the teacher candidate to apply the theory learned in division coursework to the classroom setting, providing them the opportunity to practice and improve as they progress through their teacher education programs.
The unit partners with 41 schools from 12 school districts in Southwest Georgia to place teacher candidates in field and clinical experiences. The Partner Schools’ Demographic table provides details regarding the wide diversity of student populations in our partner schools that ensures that the teacher candidate has broad and diverse field and clinical experiences. Of the 41 partner schools, 80% are identified as Title I schools. The economically disadvantaged student population averages 65% in the partner schools. The African American population averages 42%, white 49%, Hispanic 7%, and Asian 1%. The population of students with disabilities ranges from 6% - 37%, averaging 12%. The schools provide services for students through the Early Intervention Program, the ESOL program, and gifted programs. Several of the unit’s partner schools provide services for a significant number of migrant students. These diverse populations make for rich field and clinical placement opportunities for the unit’s teacher candidates.
3a.2. In what ways have the unit’s partners contributed to the design of the unit’s field and clinical experiences, as well as plans for their delivery and evaluation?
The unit works collaboratively with its Advisory Committee and participants in its clinical teacher program to design, deliver, and evaluate the unit’s field and clinical experiences.
The unit works with the Advisory Committee and the Field Experience Committee to design and monitor the clinical teacher program. Feedback and suggestions from all partners regarding program design are discussed at monthly faculty meetings in order to make changes that reflect and benefit the unit and partner schools.
The unit is fortunate to have retired teachers and administrators, as well as a district administrator as university supervisors for the clinical program. Their expertise and intimate knowledge of partner schools bring intangible strengths to the unit. They have long established relationships with their respective school districts and, consequently, provide excellent insight and perspective to the unit. The unit’s PK-12 partners in the schools make suggestions for improvements based on their experiences in the schools with the unit’s teacher candidates and university supervisors.
Through the unit’s clinical teacher program, mentor teachers and administrators from partner schools meet twice yearly for training. Feedback from the Field Experience/Student Teaching Mid-term/Final Summative Evaluations and surveys from mentor teachers, principals, recent graduates, and teacher candidates are discussed in order to make continuous improvements for field and clinical experiences. University field and clinical supervisors communicate with partner school principals and mentor teachers through frequent school visits, conferencing during pre-planning days and when observing teacher candidates throughout the experience.
Mentor teachers from our PK-12 partner schools
attend the TU Clinical Training Program to become knowledgeable of program
requirements and receive training on the unit’s evaluation instruments. All
evaluation instruments have qualitative rubrics that allow for fairness and
reliability among mentor teachers and university supervisors. The unit uses training videos of classroom
teachers in order to train mentor teachers and university supervisors to use systematic observation instruments and the summative evaluation. Clinical faculty from the unit and PK-12 classrooms independently score the video’s teacher using the summative evaluations and discuss their scoring with the training group. After group discussions, the participants watch a second training video and score the teacher in order to move toward 80% reliability using the observation and evaluation instruments.
In the unit’s partner school classrooms, the mentor teacher and university supervisor complete a minimum of four observations of the teacher candidate using the unit’s systematic observation instruments and formative evaluation. The summative evaluation instrument is completed at mid-term and at the end of the experience. The mentor teachers and university supervisors confer to complete the Final Summative Evaluation. Mentor teachers and teacher candidates complete surveys at the end of the field and clinical experiences to provide the unit with feedback to help the Division make program improvements. All evaluation instruments are aligned with the unit’s conceptual framework and Georgia Professional and Content Standards. Feedback from the surveys and trends identified by the data from the summative evaluations is discussed with program stakeholders in order to address, consider, and make changes indicated by analysis of the data.
3a.3. What are the proposed roles of the unit and its school partners in determining how and where candidates will be placed for field experiences, student teaching, and internships?
Field experience and clinical experience placements are determined by the unit and partner school districts’ personnel, following a planned sequence of division coursework and the field experiences associated with each of the courses. Beginning in Professional Core I, a defined course sequence for Early Childhood Education and Middle Grades Education/Secondary Education provides the candidate with the grade levels required. The field experience sequence defines the types of placement experiences (grade level, exceptionality, SES) required by the Georgia PSC Professional Standards. Along with the field experience classes, selected courses have field components to ensure that the teacher candidate has the required placement experiences. These include EDU316 Methods & Strategies, EDU 320 Exploring Diversity, EDU468 Exceptional Learners, and EDU 340 Assessment strategies to Improve PK-12 Learning. The fields and methods courses provide the teacher candidate with experience planning for and teaching small groups, as well as whole class instruction. Student teaching provides the teacher candidate the opportunity for full immersion into the teaching profession for 15 weeks during Professional Core IV.
The unit faculty works with the Field Experience Coordinator and the Field Experience Committee to determine the types of placement recommendations. At the beginning of each semester, the following takes place:
- On the first day of any class that has a
field experience, the professor hands out the TU Field
Experience Placement Form.
- The teacher candidate and the professor complete the form.
- The professor may request a specific school and teacher and add that information to the form.
- If no request is made, the Field Experience Coordinator, in collaboration with program faculty and district school partners, will select a school and teacher.
- The professor collects the T.U. Field Experience Placement Forms during the first class period.
- Collected forms and a course syllabus (digital) are given to the Field Experience Coordinator.
- The Field Experience Coordinator provides a list for the district’s school personnel.
- The Field Experience Coordinator secures approval of placement requests from appropriate school personnel.
- The district will make adjustments to the lists if necessary and send the approved lists back to the Field Experience Office.
- Final adjustments, if needed, are made. A copy of the professor’s roster is emailed back to the professor and to the School District’s School Board personnel. After the professor receives this “clearance” email, teacher candidates are cleared for their field experience.
3a.4. Describe how the unit and its school partners plan to share expertise and resources to support candidates’ learning in field experiences and clinical practice.
The unit communicates and collaborates with its partner schools’ personnel through frequent school visits, phone calls and emails to keep abreast of school and mentor teachers’ needs and concerns.
Mentor teachers participate in clinical teacher program workshops twice a year to become familiar with and discuss the use of the unit’s observation instruments, discuss program requirements, and provide feedback on the field and clinical experiences. Clinical teachers and university supervisors use training videos for scoring the Field Experience/Student Teaching Summative Evaluation for the purpose of reliability and fairness. After independent scoring, participants discuss their results, then watch the training video and score the teacher’s performance a second time to assure validity and reliability.
The unit provides a copy of the Field Experience Handbook or the Student Teaching Handbook detailing specific policies and requirements of the program to provide mentor teachers and teacher candidates at all levels with the appropriate guidance, directions, forms, and instruments that are needed during classroom experiences. These handbooks are provided for mentor teachers, principals, and district administrators so that all persons involved in the field and clinical experiences are aware of the unit’s policies, expectations, and the responsibilities of each party involved.
The mentor teacher provides guidance and the opportunity for the teacher candidate to put into practice with PK-12 students the theory, methods, and strategies they have acquired in education courses. Effective classroom, instructional, and management strategies are modeled by the mentor teacher and assistance is given in the implementation of these strategies. The mentor teacher provides constructive criticism for the teacher candidate and helps them reflect on their performance in the classroom. The university supervisor and mentor teacher confer regarding observations, performance, and dispositions of the teacher candidate.
The mentor teacher completes informal, formative evaluations based on classroom observations of the teacher candidate. Summative evaluations are completed at mid-term and at the end of the experience. All evaluation instruments provide qualitative rubrics to assist the evaluators in completing fair, consistent, and unbiased evaluations. The university supervisor confers with the mentor teacher to complete the summative evaluation and submits it to Live Text to be analyzed for trends and ongoing program improvements as indicated by the data.