Student Teacher Practices Re-examined

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The Council hosted a meeting on March 28 that focused on improving the student teacher experience for school districts, colleges and student teachers. The meeting was attended by nearly 40 people. The participating colleges were Mount Saint Mary, Marist, Vassar, and SUNY@ New Paltz as well as superintendents, central office administrators and student teachers.

The meeting focused on the following six essential questions:
1. What is the value added of having student teachers in your district?
2. Would a common application and process for the placement of student teachers by
regional teacher preparation institutions be of interest for your district? If yes, what would this look like?
3. What are different models that could be used for student teachers in your classrooms?
4. How can teacher preparation institutions work more effectively with districts?
5. What advice do you have for teacher preparation institutions?
6. What are the strategies that address the growing anxiety caused by APPR in cooperating teachers?

There was unanimous agreement that the current student teacher model needs to be redesigned. Teacher preparation institutions need to be flexible and understanding of the current and evolving K-12 environment. In the future, teacher preparation needs to be a more clinically rich experience. In addition to a clinically rich experience, education majors need to understand and be able to apply data from student assessments to inform their instruction. Undergraduate students majoring in education need many more field experiences prior to commencing their student teaching.

Current successful student teacher placements were characterized as having strong pre-and inservice training for their cooperating teachers. Student teachers along with their cooperating teachers need to commit that they are teammates in a professional learning community. During the field and clinical experience student teachers with the assistance of their cooperating teacher will spend much of their time learning to understand both the science and art of pedagogy. There was strong support for the co-teaching model.

School administrators emphatically stated that student teachers will be the teacher of record at some point in their student teaching experience. As a result, student teachers need to know and understand the curriculum standards in their area.

At the conclusion of the meeting, all agreed that discussion and conversation was productive, meaningful, and needs to be continued. The Council offered to assist the colleges in placing student teachers for the 2012 fall semester.