School-Based Teacher Educators Take On New Roles In Professional Development Schools. Richard E. Ishler University of South Carolina

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1 School-Based Teacher Educators Take On New Roles In Professional Development Schools Richard E. Ishler University of South Carolina Ann L. Ishler Columbia College We are grateful for the loyal support of our subscribers and members that make this website possible. National FORUM Journals is one of the few professional journals that provide free access to published articles. Your contribution of any amount will ensure continued free access to the published articles of our family of journals. Donations may be sent to: National FORUM Journals, 4000 Lock Lane Suite 9/KL, Lake Charles, LA 70605

2 Abstract This article describes the new roles that classroom teachers assume as clinical adjuncts in Professional Development Schools. Clinical adjuncts are given major responsibilities as teacher educators and work extensively with all levels of preservice teachers including student teachers and interns. These roles are described in the article. In addition, clinical adjunct faculty need special training in order to carry out the functions of teacher educators. The training that they need is also described. As Professional Development Schools are created across the country as the laboratory for the preparation of future teachers, it is critical that classroom teachers assume more responsibility and that they are adequately prepared and recognized. Introduction Teacher education programs cannot survive and flourish by providing preservice teachers with theory on the college campus and practice in a brief student teaching experience in the public schools. This artificial dichotomy must be eliminated and in its place transplanted a mix of theory and practice throughout the teacher education program. Clinical and field-based experiences must be extensive and continuous, culminating with student teaching and a full year internship in a Professional Development School (PDS). Classroom teachers in PDSs must assume new roles as school-based teacher educators because they play an important part in shaping the future teaching behaviors of preservice teachers. Research clearly indicates that one learns to teach by modeling or patterning the teaching methodologies of others. More specifically, cooperating teachers greatly influence the teaching behaviors of their student teachers during the relatively short student teaching experience, thus performing the role of teacher educators. However, classroom teachers need to identify and understand clearly this aspect of their professional obligation and they must be prepared to carry it out effectively. Role of the Classroom Teacher as a Teacher Educator A teacher educator is defined as one who is engaged in the preparation of teachers. For purposes of this discussion, the classroom teacher as a teacher educator is described as one who is a full-time employee of a school system and who functions as a clinical adjunct in a PDS. Briefly stated, the specific duties and responsibilities of the clinical adjunct in the training of preservice teachers are as follows: 1. To supervise practicum and methods students. 2. To supervise and evaluate student teachers. 3. To instruct college students in planning, selecting, organizing, and presenting classroom work. 4. To instruct college students in recording, requisitioning supplies and materials, scheduling activities, and other routine duties. 5. To conduct weekly evaluation conferences with individual student teachers, periodically evaluate methods students, and hold informal conferences with practicum students.

3 6. To help student teachers develop and maintain, both physically and mentally, a healthful and workable environment in the classroom. As indicated above, in a PDS the clinical adjunct teacher educator assumes the responsibility for the guidance and supervision of students throughout the training period. However, the students work with several people within the school and function in many of the same activities as the professional staff of the school. Also, the university faculty members work closely with the clinical adjunct in the fulfillment of responsibilities. The role of the clinical adjunct as a teacher educator begins with preservice students who are, as a result of early placement in the classroom, trying to determine if they wish to become teachers. Under supervision of the teachers in the PDS, the students are exposed to classroom routine and actual participation with children. The clinical adjunct assumes major responsibility for determining the most effective utilization of the students within the team, and assigns them to work with other teachers. He/she also provides a variety of experiences which include the making of instructional materials, tutoring, reading a story to a group of children, assisting a teacher in supervising project work, learning to operate school equipment, and interacting with children in general. Through informal interaction with the college students, the clinical adjunct can constantly reassure them concerning their performances as beginners and point out the positive aspects of the profession. The college students, in turn, by observing and sharing in experiences with children begin to understand what being a teacher really entails. In addition to classroom procedures, the clinical adjunct also orients the college students to school policies and general characteristics of the community. He/she encourages them to attend a team meeting and to make observations at other school organizational meetings when permission is granted for their presence. It should be noted at this point that the clinical adjunct works very closely with the university personnel who are responsible for teaching the professional aspects of the training program and who spend a major portion of their time in the PDS. The responsibility of the clinical adjunct to the student teacher includes continual guidance in lesson planning and implementation. He/she encourages the student teacher s selecting, organizing, and presenting classroom work in a variety of ways and trains the student teacher to work with children individually, in small groups, and in large group situations. Along with teaching techniques, the clinical adjunct as teacher educator instructs the student teacher in the administering and interpreting of tests, the diagnosing of problem learning areas, the prescribing of remedies, and the use of these prescriptions to meet individual needs of the children. Stress is placed on the importance of keeping routine daily records and the use of these cumulative records. The clinical adjunct also teaches the student teacher to make out grade reports and provides him/her with an opportunity to participate in parent-teacher conferences. In weekly conferences, the clinical adjunct checks the student teacher s lesson plans and discusses with him/her such things as classroom management, discipline, methods, and evaluation. He/she encourages the student to teach the total child by developing insight and understanding of the mental, emotional, social, and physical development of boys and girls. Before the student teacher s final evaluation, the clinical adjunct confers with other teachers of his/her team. Then the final evaluation is made by the clinical adjunct and university supervisor. Basically, the clinical adjunct in performing the role of a teacher educator inducts the preservice teacher into the act of teaching. He/she takes care to ensure that the trainee receives experiences in all phases of teaching and gets as involved in the education scene as the student s skills and competencies dictate. Obviously, the clinical adjunct who is with the preservice teacher day-in-and-day-out is in an excellent position to guide and influence the learning experiences of the person about to become a teacher.

4 Therefore, with this responsibility placed on the teacher, the clinical adjunct needs training in how to perform the roles of teacher educator. Training Required Increasingly, classroom teachers will perform their roles as teacher educators in Professional Development Schools. A PDS is envisioned to be a laboratory selected according to a specific set of criteria. Each PDS serves as the laboratory for all of the field experiences for approximately one hundred preservice teachers. A team of several university faculty members is assigned to each PDS to work with the preservice teachers and to train the classroom teachers or to perform their roles as teacher educators. The members of the university faculty team should be selected because they have the skill and the ability to train teachers. They should be effective teachers, articulate about what they do and why they do it. The university faculty team can provide much of the training that the preservice teachers need, but since the classroom teacher has an ongoing relationship with the preservice teachers, it is the classroom teacher who must assume much of the responsibility for their training in the PDS. However, he/she complements the university faculty team and other teachers who will be working with the preservice teachers. He/she becomes the keystone in the teacher education function by focusing upon the application of formal educational study to the public school classroom and facilitating the preservice teacher s understanding of the relationship between theory and practice. The teacher educator designs and coordinates situations for the preservice teacher to practice what he/she has learned at an abstract level and provides on- going feedback and direction to the campus supervisor. The classroom teacher, then, is a model teacher and a supervisor, complementing, supplementing, and supporting the preservice teacher s university work and university supervision. In order to fulfill these functions, postservice training for the teacher educator is vital to ensure they are equipped with certain basic tools. Some of the specific skills and qualities that the classroom teacher educator needs in order to successfully integrate teacher education and teaching are as follows: He/she must be able to establish the proper climate for productive interaction with preservice teachers. This may involve the ability to demonstrate teaching concepts themselves and almost certainly means that the teacher educator possesses skill in group process techniques. The classroom teacher as teacher educator must have the ability to state goals explicitly and to analyze the implications and ramifications to those goals. Well defined clarification techniques can facilitate the honest interchange that is required for the classroom teacher to function effectively as a teacher educator. The classroom teacher should have skill in working with teams. This includes conducting team meetings in such a manner as to utilize the total resources available in the team, including the expertise of the preservice teachers who are members of the team. The teacher educator should have competence in writing and analyzing objectives for learners. He/she should have skill not only in developing objectives and performance criteria, but also in analyzing those objectives in light of the school setting. It is the responsibility of the teacher educator to ensure that the preservice teachers know and understand techniques of writing objectives for the children whom they are teaching. One of the most important skills that a teacher educator must have is the ability to assess systematically and study the act of teaching. This means that he/she should be familiar with a variety of systematic observation instruments and should use them to improve the teaching of the preservice teachers. Videotapes should be used in conjunction with these instruments so that isolated dimensions of teaching behavior can be analyzed. Another basic tool that classroom teachers need to order to perform their roles as teacher educators is inquiry skills. Supervision requires gathering data and providing feedback to the preservice

5 teachers about their behavior. It further necessitates raising questions about the data as well as providing information that will help the trainee answer questions and solve problems. Inquiry requires openness, and the teacher educator must exemplify the inquiring disposition. Teacher educators should have skill in the systematic study of learning activities of the children in their classroom. They need to be able to guide and direct preservice teachers in the exploration of learning styles of individual children. Experimentation should be encouraged so that the. preservice teachers learn first-hand that children are different in terms of learning modes. Creative teaching strategies need to be utilized to create the most effective climate for learning and to provide the preservice teacher with examples of adaptations to individual needs. The teacher educator must have insight into his/her own effectiveness as a teacher, understanding his/her weaknesses and continually working toward self-improvement and curriculum betterment through constant evaluation. Therefore, he/she must be efficient in the use of evaluation techniques. Such skills as the above can be learned in both formal and informal training programs, essential to equip adequately the classroom teacher with the proficiencies needed to perform the role of teacher educator. Much of the training necessary to prepare classroom teachers as teacher educators and to perform as clinical adjunct faculty can be delivered on-site at the PDS. In conclusion, it should be emphasized that the teacher educator role can produce some genuine benefits for teacher education in the future: 1. It provides an avenue for classroom teachers to advance and gain recognition without leaving their classrooms. This role represents a basic change in school staffing patterns, but is one that is supported by both the NEA and AFT. 2. University/school partnerships are fostered. In the past, university and school administrators have dragged their feet in building meaningful cooperative relationships for teacher education. Neither institution can continue to "fly on one wing." The universities need the master teacher and his/her classroom laboratory and the schools need the expertise represented on university campuses. The time has come in teacher education for parity of responsibility and accountability. 3. Substantial resources, financial and personnel, are allocated to the laboratory component of teacher education. The PDS concept places the resources where the preservice teacher, the university, and the schools get the best return on their investment. In the process, preservice teachers receive better training, the talents of master teachers are recognized, and the children in the classrooms receive a better educational program.

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