The Pivot: Implementing Best Effective Teaching Practices for Pre-Service Educators – Transitioning From Virtual to Hybrid Clinical Experiences

The Pivot: Implementing Best Effective Teaching Practices for Pre-Service Educators – Transitioning From Virtual to Hybrid Clinical Experiences

Rebecca J. Blankenship (Florida A&M University, USA) and Shannon A. Davis (Leon County Schools, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5332-2.ch007
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The field clinical experience is an essential component for the early professional development of pre-service teacher candidates. Teacher candidates need the opportunity to interact with teachers and students in multiple instructional settings and modalities. Research in teacher candidate pedagogic development indicates that clinical experiences in the field promote self-efficacy, especially when applying educational theory to actual classroom practice in the early years of teaching. The purpose of this chapter is to report the efficacy of transition between face-to-face, virtual, and hybrid clinical experiences and how these transitions inform best clinical practice conceptualized using a proprietary instructional model (IDEAL) as well as the TPACK framework.
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The field clinical experience is an essential component for the early professional development of preservice teacher candidates (PTCs). It is through these authentic experiences that teacher candidates get a glimpse of the daily activities in a live classroom setting. Prior to the shuttering of brick-and-mortar schools during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, teacher candidates had the opportunity to interact with classroom teachers and students in traditional face-to-face environments. These interactions were specifically designed to lay the experiential groundwork of best teaching practices that PTCs would later use to inform their internships and first year(s) of teaching. Research in PTC pedagogic development indicate that clinical experiences in the field, especially those that are conducted face-to-face, promote self-efficacy especially when applying educational theory to actual classroom practice in the early years of teaching (Abraham, et al., 2021). Further, educational research is also clear that while clinical experiences can be supplemented with other resources such as case-based scenarios, seminars, simulations, webinars, and the like, there is no experiential comparison to working in a face-to-face classroom with actual students (Mali & Lim, 2021). Therefore, it was a significant challenge once face-to-face field clinical experiences were halted in the spring of 2020 to transition to alternative placements that would not only satisfy program requirements, but also create enriched experiences that continued to provide relevant and salient professional development. Accordingly, a virtual field clinical model was adopted in fall 2020 and was conceptualized as a stopgap measure to not only prevent loss of hours but also mitigate loss of opportunities to practice.

In collaboration with the university’s community partnership school, face-to-face field clinical experiences were reimagined using virtual modalities. The specific modalities included creating virtual tutorials for a specialized population of elementary-aged students using an instructional model considered best practice for teaching content-related vocabulary (Frayer, 1969). In conceptualizing the transition from face-to-face to virtual clinical environments, clinical faculty in the college of education collaborated with community partnership school administration and teachers to develop a new virtual clinical experience to address the following: 1. Mitigate a disruption in PTCs’ required clinical experience; 2. Enhance PTCs’ technology competencies in the virtual transition; and 3. Provide tutorial support services to specialized student populations attending the community partnership school. The specialized population centered on students whose first language is other than English representing diverse ethnicities and educational backgrounds (English Language Learners or ELLs). Accordingly, PTCs were assigned an individual student to create video tutorials which were personalized according to the student’s English language acquisition and cognitive development levels. The tutorials were recorded to the cloud with a shareable link via Zoom which were vetted by university faculty and school administration prior to their release to the student ELL. As a result of the tutorials, PTCs reported out in their journal reflections how the switch to the virtual tutorials not only strengthened their instructional practice but also their best practice knowledge in creating lessons for specialized populations such as the ELLs at the community partnership school. Of note, as schools have now reopened to face-to-face interactions, the virtual tutorial model has shifted to a hybrid modality allowing for the continuation of the virtual tutorials to support technology practice as well as personalized real-time interactions in the actual classroom setting.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Hybrid Learning: A teaching modality characterized by a combination of face-to-face and virtual learning venues.

Preservice Teacher Candidates: Students enrolled in a teacher preparation program that have met certain requisites for formal program admission.

TPACK: Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge is a framework designed to explain the intersections between teaching content knowledge using technology.

IDEAL Instructional Framework: A proprietary higher-order conceptual teaching model focused on the intersection of identifying and implementing effective student learning outcomes actualized through theory-based instructional design principles.

SAMR: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Revision is a framework designed to explain different degrees of technology integration in teaching and learning.

Field Clinical Experiences: Guided and hands-on practical application of best teaching and learning theories and practices actualized through key assignments practiced in a real-world, clinical setting.

Phenomenological Study: A qualitative research design method in which the lived experiences of individuals or groups of individuals are explored around a particular phenomenon.

English Language Learners: Individuals for whom English is not the first language acquired.

Qualitative Research: A non-numerical research design method that relies on data collection focused on concepts, opinions, or experiences.

SIOP Model: Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol is a pedagogic technique designed to facilitate an English Language Learner’s comprehensible accessibility to subject-related content.

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