Implementation of Paired Placement and Co-Planning/Co-Teaching Field Experience Models Across Multiple Contexts

Implementation of Paired Placement and Co-Planning/Co-Teaching Field Experience Models Across Multiple Contexts

Marilyn Elaine Strutchens (Auburn University, USA), Ruthmae Sears (University of South Florida, USA), Jennifer Whitfield (Texas A&M University, USA), Stephanie Biagetti (California State University – Sacramento, USA), Patti Brosnan (The Ohio State University, USA), Jennifer Oloff-Lewis (California State University – Chico, USA), Pier Angeli Junor Clarke (Georgia State University, USA), Jamalee (Jami) Stone (SDBOR, USA), David R. Erickson (University of Montana, USA), Christopher Parrish (University of South Alabama, USA), Basil M. Conway IV (CSU, USA) and Ruby L. Ellis (Auburn University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6249-8.ch002


A consortium of 24 universities and their school partners engaged in a networked improvement community design to develop clinical experience models designed to build candidates' facility with the effective mathematics teaching practices and other equitable teaching strategies to promote secondary school students' success in achieving college- and career-ready standards. The authors discuss mechanisms to aid in the implementation of two alternative models: 1) the paired placement model, in which two prospective teachers are paired with a single mentor teacher, allowing the mentor teacher to provide purposeful coaching and mentoring and the two pre-service teachers to offer each other feedback, mentoring, and support; and 2) co-planning and co-teaching, which has been found to help teacher candidates gain greater pedagogical content knowledge and knowledge of students through collaboration and communication between teacher candidates and mentor teachers who plan, implement, and assess instruction together.
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For nearly nine decades, student teaching and field experiences of teacher candidates have remained significantly unchanged (Guyton & McIntyre, 1990; King, 2006; Darling-Hammond, 2010). Historically, criticisms of teacher education have included the qualifications of teacher educators, the qualifications of teacher candidates, the structure of the institutions providing teacher education, the inconsistency of the curriculum in teacher education programs, and the gap between theory and practice (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Lanier & Little, 1986; Levine, 2006). However, since the early 2000s, there has been a global increase in research of reformed practices in teacher education programs and teacher candidate development (King, 2006; Capraro, Capraro, & Helfeldt, 2010; Tschida, Smith, & Forgarty, 2015; Lang, Neal, Karvouni, & Chandler, 2015). At the center of this reform has been an effort to connect theory to practice through well-designed field experiences (Darling-Hammond, 2010). According to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) (2008), “field experiences and clinical practice are integral program components for the initial and advance preparation of teacher candidates” (p. 32). These experiences should allow teacher candidates to apply their acquired knowledge, skills, and dispositions in multiple settings relevant to their program of study (NCATE, 2008). Well designed and properly sequenced field experiences help teacher candidates to successfully develop the competencies necessary to begin careers as teachers (NCATE, 2008). Additionally, to align teacher candidates’ pedagogical knowledge and teaching practices, collaboration among the teacher candidate, university instructor, and the mentor teacher must take place (NCATE, 2008, Putnam & Borko, 2000). The view of knowledge as socially-constructed clearly implies that an important part of learning to teach is becoming enculturated into the teaching community (Putnam & Borko, 2000). It is clear that learning from practice is key to developing well-prepared teacher candidates (Duncan-Howell, 2010). To ensure field experiences provide teacher candidates with the opportunities to learn through practice, several aspects of the field experience must be considered.

First, the assigned field experiences and teacher candidates’ education courses must be closely aligned and connected. In many cases, a disconnect exists between the university teacher-education courses and teacher candidates’ assigned field experiences (Zeichner, 2010; Darling-Hammond, 2010). It is not uncommon for a mentor teacher to have little or no knowledge about the course, or objectives for the course, in which the assigned teacher candidate is currently enrolled. Similarly, the instructor of the university courses often has little knowledge of the teaching practices of the mentor teacher for which his or her teacher candidates have been assigned (Zeichner, 2010). This disconnect may often result from field placement assignments being outsourced to a central administrative office, with little or no consideration given from university faculty, mentor teacher, or school administration (Zeichner, 2010). The disconnect may be further compounded as many tenure track faculty are not assigned to student supervision within field placements, thus, placing further separation between the teacher candidates’ courses and field placements (Ziechner, 2010).

Second, teacher candidates must be placed with quality and qualified mentor teachers (The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education [NCATE], 2010; Darling-Hammond, 2010). Darling-Hammond (2010) stated,

It is impossible to teach recruits how to teach powerfully by asking them to imagine what they have never seen or to suggest they ‘do the opposite’ of what they have observed in the classroom (p. 42).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Paired Placement: Is a clinical experience approach in which two teacher candidates are placed with one mentor teacher, and the candidates have the opportunity to learn from each other as well as receive support from their mentor teacher.

Student Teaching: Is the phase of teacher candidates’ programs when the candidates spend 10 to 15 weeks in a school setting to learn about teaching at the grade level or course level they desire to teach upon completion of their program.

Research Action Cluster: A subgroup of a network improvement community focused on developing an understanding of a particular problem of practice through improvement science.

Secondary Mathematics Teacher Candidates: Are undergraduate or post-baccalaureate students preparing to teach in grades 6-12.

Network Improvement Community: Is a group of people with a common aim and who uses improvement science to solve a problem of practice.

Mentor Teacher: Is a person who supports the growth and development of a teacher candidate during a clinical experience in the schools.

Mathematics Teaching Practices: Teaching strategies espoused by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics to support students’ development of the standards for mathematical practice.

Co-Planning and Co-Teaching: Is an approach to clinical experiences where the teacher candidate and the mentor teacher co-share the responsibilities related to teaching and learning in a classroom.

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