Early Teaching Experiences
Few would disagree that clinical experience is critical for teacher development. Teaching is, after all, a demanding clinical practice, requiring teachers to orchestrate complex classroom interactions designed to help children learn. While clinical practice rests on a body of professional knowledge, ultimately teachers need to be able to put this knowledge to use in practice. Clinical experiences during professional education provide opportunities for teachers to develop and hone their craft.
Laura Pomerance, and
Even as the profession pushes for more and earlier field work opportunities, student teaching is the final clinical experience. During the typical semester-long experience, student teaching candidates must synthesize everything they have learned about planning instruction: collecting or developing instructional materials, teaching lessons, guiding small group activities, and establishing and maintaining order--not to mention meetings with faculty and parents and, in some districts still, taking on lunchroom and playground duties.
The PhysTEC program at the U of M is based on the experiences of other PhysTEC institutions and adapted to the needs and strengths at the U of M. Members of the PhysTEC team at the U of M have a long history of commitment to improving education. At the heart of the U of M PhysTEC program is the use of Learning Assistants (LAs), a successful component of other PhysTEC sites. The ten LAs that worked in Physics 1101 in the spring 2008 semester brought a pioneering, adventurous, "make it work" attitude to their job. This was demonstrated by the way that they interacted with the students, by the feedback that they gave at the weekly LA seminar, by the way that the LA program (and consequently PhysTEC) evolved in response to the feedback given by the LAs, and by the overwhelmingly positive formal assessments of their value in the lecture.
Lane Seeley and
Hunter G. Close
This workshop explored the structures and goals of a Learning Assistants program for physics. The goals of this program at Seattle Pacific University are explored, including the potential for recruiting future physics teachers.
Valerie K. Otero
This presentation describes the Learning Assistants program at the University of Colorado. The LA program has been used both to improve undergraduate courses by increasing student engagement and to increase the numbers of potential new science teachers. It is a collaboration of several different STEM departments and Education.
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