Student Teacher on Practicum

Guidelines for Effective Field Experience

Effective field experience requires observation of and reflection on teaching practices, students, learning environment, and the community.  Successful practica require cooperation between and among the teaching profession, the schools, and faculty in the Education Program. Open communication between everyone is the key to this cooperation.  As part of your emerging professional responsibility, you must take an active role in communicating openly with all partner groups.

General Guidelines

Student-teachers should:

  • openly communicate with sponsor teachers and seminar leaders
  • demonstrate a commitment to teaching through enthusiasm, reflectivity, punctuality, and collegiality
  • be flexible and adaptable to school, classroom, and pupil demand
  • follow the BCTF Code of Ethics, school regulations and other relevant legislated requirements
  • strive to achieve the BC Teachers' Council (BCTC) Professional Standards for BC Educators
  • show an awareness and sensitivity to individual student needs
  • be familiar with Ministry publications designed to support and guide teaching in BC
  • show initiative in planning and preparation
  • respond constructively to feedback and suggestions
  • ask questions and seek assistance when needed
  •  show a commitment to helping individual students learn
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their work in the classroom and school

Professional Behaviour

Student-teachers are required to maintain a standard of professional competence and behaviour in the field experience setting, including:

  • preparing defensible plans and maintaining documentation of all their work in the school, including lesson plans, unit plans, reflections on teaching, notes on discussions with observers, analysis of what worked and what needs to be changed
  • arriving at least a half an hour before school starts and be prepared to stay a half hour after school ends
  • dressing in a professional manner
  • participating actively in the classroom environment, under the supervision of the sponsor teacher
  • participating actively in the life of the school, under the supervision of the sponsor teacher and school principal
  • accepting responsibility for seeking answers to clarify any matter related to the field experience
  • ensuring that the sponsor teacher, the school office, and the seminar leader have adequate notice of any absences.  This is extremely important as the sponsor teacher depend on student-teachers, the school office must know who is present in the school, and the seminar leader must know the whereabouts of student-teachers during scheduled course times
  • informing the seminar leader/supervisor of the reasons for your unavoidable absence or lateness (the reasons must be legitimate)
  • being responsible for arranging mutually workable times and means to meet face-to-face and virtually (if possible) on a regular basis with the sponsor teacher
  • recognizing that student-teachers have access to privileged information which must be kept confidential
  • remembering at all times that student-teachers are guests of the school and the sponsor teacher. It is a privilege to be invited to participate in the life of the classroom and school and to have an opportunity to learn by helping students learn
  • seeking assistance when required, especially when experiencing difficulties - speak to your seminar leader and, if necessary, the field experience coordinator

Suggested Learning Opportunities While in Field Experience

During weekly visits and the teaching practica, student-teachers have many opportunities to learn and develop a more holistic view of school life. The following list provides some examples:

  • learn to operate technology available in the school and its community
  • make contact with the full range of personnel on the school staff.  If possible and appropriate, attend staff meetings, sponsor teacher committee meetings
  • accompany sponsor teacher/other teacher on recess or noon hour supervision duties
  • print/write chalkboard exercises for the following day
  • assist in setting up displays or bulletin boards
  • facilitate small group/whole group sharing time
  • make an anecdotal record of observations of student work at centres or in small groups using specific criteria developed by the sponsor teacher and/or student/teacher/students
  • tell/read a story to individual, small group or whole class of students
  • take part in collaborative planning (long term/short term) with sponsor teacher
  • record and implement classroom management strategies, procedures and systems
  • assist sponsor teacher in classroom/school routines and procedures
  • if appropriate, participate in parent/teacher conferences
  • become involved with intramural sports and/or extra-curricular activities (e.g., drama, chess, dance clubs)
  • arrange to swap classes with other student-teachers, acting as their Teacher On Call (TOC)

Focus for Classroom Observation

When observing other teachers or when reflecting on your own practice, focus on the following aspects:

  • classroom management strategies
  • physical layout of the classroom
  • strategies for introducing learning activities
  • pacing of instructions
  • strategies for verbal interactions
  • lesson closures
  • transitions, routines, and materials distribution
  • integration of school subjects into themes
  • strategies for gathering data for judgments about student growth and achievements
  • individual and group behaviour for a period of time (focusing on cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development)
  • greeting and goodbyes with students
  • the effects of interpersonal communication within the learning environment
  • the use of literature in the classroom
  • cooperative learning
  • timetable development
  • extracurricular activities
  • assessment of the school community
  • parent involvement and strategies for accountability to parents
  • administration and school policy
  • teacher/student/parent/colleague communication
  • individual differences in learning styles
  • strategies for inclusion of all learners regardless of educational needs, gender, and cultural differences
  • strategies for pre-assessment of learning needs
  • approaches to systematic development and sequencing of learning activities
  • student assessment activities
  • the documentation of lesson plans, observation notes, and personal reflections regarding all activities
  • learning centres, library/resource centre
  • opportunities for students to share and celebrate what they have learned (e.g., Science Fairs, Art Shows, Displays, etc.)