College of Menominee Nation
The Student Teaching Experience
Student teaching is a capstone experience in the College of Menominee Nation Education Program for the professional development of pre-service teachers. This student teaching experience immerses the teacher candidates in the early childhood program or elementary classroom with children ages 0-11 who have varied developmental and learning needs and strengths. This student teaching semester provides opportunities to practice effective strategies for teaching and learning, to identify personal strengths and weaknesses, and to develop a personal teaching style.
The purpose of student teaching is to provide extended classroom experiences working directly in teaching-learning situations under the guidance of cooperating teachers. Supervision by the cooperating teachers will emphasize assisting the student teacher’s own construction of the profession of teaching through application, inquiry and reflection on learning and teaching.
A College of Menominee Nation faculty supervisor assists with supervision of lessons and evaluation of the student teachers and supports the student teacher and cooperating teacher. The model of the CMN student teaching semester is one of daily decision-making about teaching and learning, learning through experience and reflection and continued professional growth.
The Framework of the Nine-Week Placement (see link below)
Phases of the Student Teaching Placement
The student teaching experience consists of three phases: orientation, participation, and independent teaching. The Framework for the nine-week placement outlines these phases in a week-to-week format but should only be used as a general guideline. Ultimately the cooperating teacher and student teacher work together in deciding when to move into a new phase.
During the orientation phase, the cooperating teacher acclimates the student to the school environment. The teacher helps the student feel at ease and accepted by the class, and encourages the student teacher to observe classroom management techniques and key teacher and student behaviors. During this period the cooperating teacher can explain the philosophy of the school department, and program. The student and teacher may also discuss and plan work responsibilities the student can anticipate during the experience. Cooperating teachers should help the student teacher become involved immediately in some classroom activities, even though these activities may be somewhat limited in responsibility.
The orientation phase prepares the student teacher for greater participation in class activities which allows movement towards the participation phase. During this stage the student teacher assists in routine classroom management activities and supervises the work of individual students and small group of learners. The student teacher may be asked to assume some actual teaching duties, e.g., small group instruction or presentation of a single lesson.
The degree of teaching responsibility assigned to the student teacher is based on the principle of gradual increased participation. The student’s work should progress from observation and assisting duties, to small group instruction and presentation of assigned topics to the entire class, to responsibility for instruction of the entire class as the lead or primary teacher. The student teacher and cooperating teacher should cooperatively develop a teaching schedule that best suits the abilities of the student teacher and the needs of the pupils.
It is important to continually re-examine the pace at which classroom responsibilities are assumed in relation to the student teacher’s demonstrated abilities. Classroom responsibilities should be assumed gradually enough to allow the student teacher time to adjust to added responsibilities, yet rapidly enough that the student faces continuing challenges.
Independent Teaching Phase
In this phase of the student teaching experience, the cooperating teacher assigns responsibility to the student teacher for regular teaching duties. The student teacher assumes responsibility for entire lessons and units of work as the lead or primary classroom teacher. The student teacher will work with the cooperating teacher to plan lessons that meet curriculum goals and pupils needs.
This is an important time for the cooperating teacher to give the student teacher feedback on planning skills and actual classroom performance. The cooperating teacher can assist the student teacher in locating appropriate materials for developing a lesson and aid the student teacher in self-evaluation by holding periodic conferences to discuss and monitor progress.
As student teachers complete their Independent Teaching Phase they gradually return to the Participation Phase. The cooperating teacher begins to take back control over various class periods; the student teacher again becomes the assistant for small group instruction or presentations of single lesson.
Role of the Cooperating Teacher
As the person who will work most closely with the student, the cooperating teacher plays a key role in the student teaching experience. This working relationship will be strongest when it is based on mutual respect and understanding and fostered by empathy, openness, and tact.
Student teaching may be viewed as a partnership in teaching. Student teachers have the opportunity to experience and evaluate various values and beliefs about the profession when they participate as partners and co-teachers with the cooperating teacher.
Student teaching also marks the beginning of a critical transition from student to professional for the student teacher. The cooperating teacher models professional behavior for the student and guides the teacher candidate toward a deeper understanding of school cultures.
Each student teacher brings to the experience a unique combination of teaching characteristics and skills. Therefore, the goal of the student teaching experience is to provide the student with maximum opportunity to perform to the degree that personal interest, abilities, and individuality will allow. Students who experience a high degree of involvement in teaching and other school-related activities report a successful student teaching experience.
Responsibilities of the Cooperating Teacher
Prepare for the Student Teacher's Arrival
Cooperating teachers should prepare pupils in advance for the arrival of the student teacher. It may be useful to begin to establish the concept of two teachers in the classroom and thus help pupils anticipate the student teacher's contributions. Plan to provide the student teacher with a desk or workspace.
Orient the Student to the Classroom and School
Very early in the experience cooperating teachers should discuss the following with the student:
expectations for the student teaching experience
a communication plan for regular discussion about the experience
the school's organizational structure, resources, and educational philosophy
the community the school serves and parental involvement in school affairs
school policies such as emergency procedures, harassment policies, and curriculum or Internet restrictions
personal philosophies of teaching and personal/professional backgrounds of the cooperating teacher and student teacher
curriculum content and materials
individual pupils, particularly those having special needs
he classroom schedule, daily routines, and procedures
decision-making and how the student teacher may be involved in this process
Provide Opportunities to Observe and Analyze
The cooperating teacher typically gives the student teacher a variety of classroom episodes to observe, analyze, and discuss. This on-the-spot observation of an experienced teacher handling a class in a variety of situations is invaluable to the student.
Help Students Reflect on Teaching Choices
Student teachers are being prepared for a career in teaching, not solely for work in a particular classroom or school. They must learn how to function effectively in the student teaching environment as well as be prepared to be effective in a variety of classroom and school situations. For this reason it is critical for the cooperating teacher to discuss with the student teacher why particular choices were made and others rejected about curriculum, classroom management, etc. In this way the student teacher will better understand the motives and rationales underlying particular choices. Understanding the "history" of the classroom and school will help student teachers make their own decisions in the future, when the school and classroom environment may be very different. Student teachers are being prepared for a career in teaching, not solely for work in a particular classroom or school. They must learn how to function effectively in the student teaching environment as well as be prepared to be effective in a variety of classroom and school situations. For this reason it is critical for the cooperating teacher to discuss with the student teacher why particular choices were made and others rejected about curriculum, classroom management, etc. In this way the student teacher will better understand the motives and rationales underlying particular choices. Understanding the "history" of the classroom and school will help student teachers make their own decisions in the future, when the school and classroom environment may be very different.
Evaluate the Student Teacher
Student teachers need regular communication and feedback from their cooperating teacher. Students feel reassured when they know there be regular opportunities for them to discuss their progress. For this reason is should be a high priority to establish methods and times for communicating early in the experience.
Cooperating teachers are asked to complete three formal evaluations: two lesson evaluations and one cumulative evaluation at the end of the nine-week placement. Cooperating teachers should refer to the Framework for the Nine-Week Placement as to when evaluations should be completed. In addition, the CMN faculty supervisor will consult with the cooperating teacher when determining the student teachers midterm and final grade.
Any areas of concern about the student teacher’s performance are reported to the CMN Faculty supervisor as soon as possible to facilitate discussions, suggestions, evaluation and continuous feedback.
Role of the CMN Faculty Supervisor
The College of Menominee Nation faculty supervisor is the representative of the education program who convenes the collaborative discussions with the cooperating teacher and the student teacher. In the course of each nine weeks of the student teaching experience, the teacher candidate is observed, supervised and evaluated by the College of Menominee Nation education faculty a minimum of three times. There are two written evaluations from each placement. A minimum of three visits to the each placement site is expected. Each visit will include classroom observation of a full class period and a post-conference. The responsibilities of the CMN faculty supervisor include:
Communication on a regular basis with the cooperating teacher and the student teacher regarding the student teacher’s progress.
Establish and maintain communication and positive relationships between the college and cooperating teachers.
Regularly schedule observations of student teachers and follow up conferences to improve instructional and self-evaluation skills.
Evaluation of the student teacher’s instructional methods, lesson plan and adaptations at the end of each classroom observation.
Conferences with the student teacher and cooperating teacher to serve as formative evaluation.
Conference with the student teacher and cooperating teacher about the final assessment form.
Assist with content-oriented problems and serve as a resource for both the cooperating teacher and student teacher.
In the case of a struggling student teacher, keep prompt and substantial documentation while providing clear expectations and opportunities for improvement.
Recommendation of a grade for the student teaching course.
Submission of a letter of recommendation for the student teacher’s portfolio and file.
Record progress on the electronic student teaching portfolio.