Temple University provides all teacher candidates with a variety of field experiences, which conform to the state’s requirements for field experiences across four stages of teacher development. Early field experiences generally consist of observing classrooms or communities in order to become familiar with the contexts in which teaching and learning takes place. In most programs, students progress to one-on-one or small group instruction following observations. Students often go to schools in groups and work together in designated classrooms with a host teacher. An instructor/supervisor who might be your methods instructor and might be a current or former teacher or principal provides you with feedback and grades your performance.Finally, all teacher candidates spend a semester, generally their final semester, as student teachers, working closely with a mentor or cooperating teacher every day for 12 weeks and sharing responsibility for a whole classroom or, for secondary teachers, several classes of students. University coaches visit student teachers every few weeks to provide feedback and complete Teacher Observation Reports which evaluate your ability to enact the six Temple Teaching Standards.
All student teachers also participate in a weekly seminar on the Temple campus designed to provide a supportive teacher community. Seminar instructors assist student teachers in preparing teaching portfolios and assess your ability to implement the Temple Teaching Standards successfully on the Senior Performance Assessment, a requirement for graduating and receiving Temple’s endorsement for teacher certification.
The state requires every teacher candidate to meet competencies associated with each of the four stages of field experience and all of our programs meet that expectation. Your fieldwork is a critical part of your preparation and helps you understand and apply the theory and research you learn in your courses. In addition to observing and practicing instruction and pedagogical strategies within your certification area’s grade(s) and content(s) areas, you will have the opportunity in fieldwork to understand the needs of and support the academic achievement of diverse learners, including students with disabilities and students who are English Language Learners.
Following Temple’s Clinical Practice Guiding Principles for field experiences, we attempt to provide every student with a diverse sequence of field experiences in different types of schools in order to help our students understand the impact of resources on education and efforts to ensure equitable access to good education for all children. We also attempt to expose our students to a variety of approaches to teaching and learning.
We make every effort to select schools and classrooms that meet our expectations for high quality performance as well as mentor teachers who will serve as positive examples of teaching and learning consistent with Temple’s Teaching Standards.
Stages of Field Experience
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requires every teacher candidate to complete field experiences at four different levels of involvement (Stages 1-4) with youth and academic instruction in their certification area. Each stage references particular field competencies that must be met as a result of students completing field experiences in their teacher education program.
Students should reference their course syllabi for the specific field competencies to be met through fieldwork connected to their courses.
Stage 1 (Observation) & Stage 2 (Observation/ Exploration)
Early field experiences, often attached to education foundation courses, describe the first and second stages. These experiences, often consisting of no more than 10 hours in the field during a semester, generally involve observing young people, communities, or school settings and relating those observations to what you are learning in your courses.
These early field experiences are typically arranged by students themselves at their convenience and according to assignment deadlines set by their course instructors. They are not supervised by a Temple instructor.
Documentation of students’ early fieldwork varies by program, course, instructor, and assignment. Students should reference their course syllabi for detailed instructions.
Stage 3 (Practicum OR Methods)
PRE-STUDENT TEACHING FIELD EXPERIENCES
The practicum or methods course fieldwork is designed so you can apply teaching methods you are learning in your methods courses in authentic classrooms across Philadelphia.
Either the Office of Field Placement or your course instructor will arrange your placement, sometimes for a designated day and time communicated in the course description upon registration. If no note is included in the course description notifying students to block a particular day and time in their schedules for fieldwork, then your course instructor will inquire about your availability for fieldwork as he/she arranges your placement just prior to or immediately following the start of the semester.
Supervision of your work in the field varies by program and course. In some cases an experienced teacher or former principal will supervise your work in practicum. In other cases, your methods instructor will play that role. It is also possible for host or mentor teachers to serve in the role of supervisor of the Temple students completing fieldwork in their classrooms.
Documentation of students’ Stage 3 fieldwork varies by program, course, instructor, and assignment. Students should reference their course syllabi for specific information. Many programs have students utilize TK20, a web-based data management system, for communications, document-sharing, and assessment of Stage 3 fieldwork. Information about accessing and troubleshooting your use of TK20 is available on the College of Education’s website.
Stage 4 STUDENT TEACHING
Student teaching comprises the fourth and final stage of field experience. Undergraduates complete student teaching in their last semester of the program whereas graduate students may complete student teaching at one of a number of different points, depending on their program and course schedule.
It is in this fourth stage that teacher candidates experience whole- group teaching in a classroom setting and take on the daily responsibilities of classroom teaching, with the guidance of their cooperating teacher. Building rapport with and motivating students, grading student work, managing classroom behavior, and interacting with parents and other educational professionals are all part of this daily, 12-week experience.
In addition to their cooperating teacher, student teachers are supported in their growth by their university coaches, who observes a minimum of four lessons and provide feedback on the student teacher's practice and professionalism, all while encouraging the student teacher’s reflection on his/her progress.
Student teachers are provided with formal feedback on the four Teaching Observation Reports (TORs) and Mid-Semester and Final PDE-430 forms that the coaches complete as well as the Mid- Semester Summary and End-of-Semester Evaluation forms that the cooperating teachers complete.
Special Roles and Terms
Methods Instructor: The Temple faculty member who teaches you methods of instruction in your certification and content area(s)
Host Teacher: The teacher who hosts you for fieldwork in his/her classroom
Mentor Teacher: The teacher whose classroom and students you share during your practicum experience
University Practicum Coach: The former teacher or principal, hired by Temple, who serves as your practicum instructor, helping you to understand and enact the six Temple Teaching Standards, providing you with feedback on your practice and professionalism, and encouraging
your reflection on your progress.
Stage 4 STUDENT TEACHING
Cooperating Teacher: The teacher whose classroom and students you share during your student teaching experience
University Student Teaching Coach: the Temple supervisor, who might be a faculty member, a former teacher or a former principal, who visits you at your school, observes your classroom and your teaching, helps you set and reach your goals, completes your Teacher Observation Reports, and gives you your grade for student teaching
Seminar Instructor: the Temple faculty member who teaches your weekly student teaching seminar course designed to support you in student teaching. Your seminar instructor grades your teaching portfolio, gives you a score on your Senior/Final Performance Assessment and gives you a grade for the seminar course. You must receive a C- or above in the seminar (and pass your Final Performance Assessment) in order to successfully complete the teacher education program at Temple.
TRAVEL: GETTING TO AND FROM FIELD PLACEMENT SITES
We try to make sure that the schools we use for field placements are near public transportation, but it is common that students arrange carpools for traveling to/from their field experience site. We encourage students in early field experiences and practicum to travel as a group. Students are responsible for their own transportation expenses.
In general, it’s always a good idea to remain alert in new and unfamiliar neighborhoods:
- Stand tall, walk purposefully and make eye contact to show that you are calm and confident and know where you’re going;
- Stay on well lit and well populated streets;
- Avoid narrow streets that might have hidden walkways;
- Lock your vehicle, make sure windows are closed and keep valuables out of sight;
- Do not offer a ride or accept rides from people you do not know;
- Trust your instincts and leave a situation or area when you feel uncomfortable;
- Leave student management challenges, especially in high school, to the professionals on site.
- Follow the school’s protocol for signing in and out of the building and wearing the required identifier (i.e. visitor’s badge, TU student ID).
- Maintain a positive, professional disposition at all times. Dress professionally (i.e., no jeans, sweats or short skirts, leggings, halter tops or low-cut shirts, no Uggs or flip-flops, etc.). Temple students should be able to move around, sit on the floor with students, and potentially get messy, yet look professional.
- Turn off cell phones and place them out of sight during school visits. Furthermore, try to avoid distracting behaviors while in the classroom, such as talking to peers during lessons.
- Eat breakfast before entering the school building. Food and drinks (coffee, soda, breakfast foods, etc.) should not be brought into the classroom. Lunch should be eaten in the faculty lunchroom or other designated area.
- Address all faculty and administration personnel by title and last name until and unless you are invited to use their first names.
- Keep an open mind and be flexible. Attempt to look at the context of the learning from multiple perspectives.
- Adhere to the Code of Conduct of Professional Practice for Educators as outlined by the Professional Standards and Practices Commissions; To find out more visit here for more information.
Communications / Deadlines
It is very important that you check your Temple email daily, even over the summer and winter breaks, for potential communications from faculty and staff in the College of Education about your clearances, field placements, fieldwork schedule, etc. You are responsible for meeting all posted deadlines; failure to do so may delay your entry into the field and jeopardize your coursework and grade.
Anyone who works with students and schools in any capacity in any school district must obtain standard clearances, upload them to EdPortal, and have them reviewed and approved by the Office of Field Placement BEFORE ENTERING THE CLASSROOM. Temple requires all students enrolled in courses that include fieldwork obtain clearances, which all districts routinely require, every summer, to ensure that no problems arise during the semester which will prevent you from completing your assignments, passing your courses, and graduating on time. Failure to obtain your clearances in time to complete your fieldwork at the start of the semester will prevent you from beginning your fieldwork and may mean that you are not able to complete the field-based course. This policy applies to ALL students taking teacher education courses - including graduate students who are “on-the-job” teacher candidates and completing fieldwork in their own classrooms.
Detailed information about which clearances are needed, how to secure them, and how to upload them to EdPortal can be found on the College of Education’s Clearances webpage.