Types of Field Experiences and Student Teaching

Types of Field Experiences and Student Teaching


Field Experience

All candidates are expected to complete the field requirements identified by their chosen program of study commencing in the freshman year and extending throughout their teacher education program.

As candidates proceed through their specific educator preparation program, they experience increasingly more sophisticated instructional tasks including supporting individual students, teaching small groups of students, tutoring students, assessing student progress, co-teaching, large group instruction, and other classroom/school functions. All teacher certification programs must provide four levels of sequenced field work.

Each level provides opportunities for students to address targeted competencies established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Each candidate must participate in field experiences prior to student teaching that provide for the demonstration of competencies identified in Chapter 49.2. These requirements vary depending upon the certification requirements within each teacher certification program.

Four stages of field experience are required for all certificate areas. A description of each stage includes:

Stage 1: Observation

The candidate is an observer in a variety of education and education-related settings including community-based child care, Head Start, early intervention, and school districts. Observations occur in a range of school and early learning settings (e.g., urban, suburban, rural; high and low-performing schools) so the candidate has a varied experience and learn as much as possible about professional education careers. All experiences are linked to the certificate area’s education competencies, coursework, grade levels and content areas.

Stage 2: Exploration

This is an experience in which the candidate works under a teacher’s supervision during individual tutorials and/or with a small or large group of students. Activities may include instruction related to reading, math, and other subject matter experiences, tutoring children, small group conversations, outdoor play, and monitoring classroom routines and procedures.

Note: Stages 1 and 2 are combined at Bloomsburg University to address common competencies within the structure of the Early Field Experience (EFE) process. The EFE allows students to explore teaching careers prior to candidacy and exposes them to varied student populations across educational environments. Information on the EFE can be accessed within each department’s teacher admission packet. In addition to this experience, the select courses at Bloomsburg University may provide integrated early field experiences within the design of coursework each semester.

Stage 3: Pre-student Teaching

In this stage, the candidate works directly with students in schools and early learning settings. This field experience provides candidates with increasingly more sophisticated field and clinical tasks, including working with individual students, teaching groups of students, tutoring students, co-teaching, and assessing student progress.

Additionally, candidates participate in a range of other functions necessary for competent fulfillment of professional responsibilities in the educational setting. The candidate begins to demonstrate knowledge and skills in planning, assessment and reflection. The candidate works with standards-aligned materials they have prepared and created for classroom instruction. Field experiences take place under the supervision of a higher education faculty member and teacher certified. The required competencies are addressed through the use of coursework with embedded field experiences or in concert with the many stand-alone practicum experiences at Bloomsburg University.

Stage 4: Student Teaching

Student teaching is defined as a set of organized and carefully planned classroom teaching experiences required of all candidates in a preparation program. It is a semester-long capstone experience within a candidate’s chosen program of study. Student teachers are assigned to one or more classrooms and are closely supervised and mentored by a certified Cooperating Teacher in partnership with the University Supervisor.

During the student teaching experience, the candidate demonstrates an increasing responsibility in teaching to assume the role of the educator in the certificate area. Regular feedback is provided to the candidate on his or her classroom teaching and professional performance. All candidates are expected to successfully demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary for effective performance. Complete information on this experience is available in the Student Teaching Handbook.