The Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education (AFTSE) strongly believes that working with P-12 students, teachers, and principals provides a diverse and concentrated professional experience that enhances the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for effective teaching and leading in the 21st century. Field and clinical experiences provide the most authentic context in which to implement the theoretical knowledge base and practical applications of pedagogy learned in coursework. Most specifically, field and clinical experiences provide a venue for active reflection, incorporating the AFTSE's theme, Educator as Reflective Learner. The AFTSE views field and clinical experiences as having six primary goals: 1) to allow candidates to explore the professions of teacher and building leader to make informed decisions about either as a professional career; 2) to require candidates actively to research and analyze the curriculum, content, and instructional strategies used in P-12 schools to determine appropriate learning experiences for all students; 3) to observe and display the professional dispositions and ethical behavior required of highly effective educators; 4) to encourage candidates to develop and refine teaching and leading practices through continuous reflection as they relate to P-12 students from a variety of cultural and ability backgrounds; 5) to provide formative and summative assessment data relating to candidates' progression in their development as professional educators as they become proficient in the Kentucky Teacher Standards; and 6) to provide an avenue for collaboration between the unit, P-12 teachers and leaders, school districts and the community in the preparation of highly effective teachers and building leaders (Exhibit 3.3.a.1).
Field experience is viewed within a developmental context, beginning early in a candidate's program, focusing on curricula, teacher and leader roles and responsibilities, and the developmental nature of learning. Subsequent experiences focus on instructional design and strategies, assessment, and classroom/building management, particularly as these pedagogical and managerial skills relate to diverse learners and their specific needs. As experiences progress, candidates plan and implement instruction, assess student learning, evaluate learning outcomes, and plan interventions to address learner and school needs. Candidates are evaluated throughout field and clinical experiences by AFTSE faculty, cooperating teachers, university supervisors, and building leaders.
3.3.a.1 Conceptual Framework of Practicum Experiences