Undergraduate Field Experiences and Student Teaching
Opportunities for active involvement with students and teachers promote an awareness of the impact of the contexts and elements of school settings on teachers’ roles, teaching strategies, aspects of child and adolescent growth and opportunities to learn.
Cumberland University undergraduate candidates for teacher licensure will complete roughly 150 hours of observation and field experience activity with P-12 students in a diversity of school and classroom settings. Student teachers will spend 15 weeks working in classrooms in close collaboration with highly qualified, cooperating teachers to complete their own development into competent, caring, qualified professional educators.
Based on accepted standards of best practice, and input from our candidates and local education agencies, field experiences are structured to expose candidates to all facets of the classroom experience. Through active involvement at this level in schools, candidates will participate more widely in the total school program and become involved in a greater variety of concrete experiences prior to the student teaching experience. Candidates will have a more intimate knowledge of instructional approaches, teaching materials, curriculum development and instructional programs currently in use in the participating systems. Candidates will also be able to look for the application of course material to real world educational contexts.
Rather than channeling all field experiences through a single practicum course structure, the SoE distributes them across a set of courses. Doing so allows faculty to target field experience activities in order to reinforce evolving course content and adapt them to the varying contexts at different schools. Each candidate is expected to complete the number of hours of field experience as set forth in class syllabi.
Our field experience program is designed to benefit from a tight partnership between our cooperating schools and our faculty and our licensure candidates. Each course that requires field experiences are paired with an elementary and a secondary school. Candidates typically complete 10 hours of observation and field work designed by their faculty and in conjunction with their cooperating teacher and school.
Candidates are evaluated by cooperating teachers and must complete Field Experience Activity reports for each course that requires field experiences. Please visit the TEP Handbook page to see those forms.
|Course #||Course Title||
Partner Elementary school
||Partner Secondary school|
|ED||201||Education as a Profession||Cumberland Elementary||Lebanon HS|
|301||Strategies in Teaching||Coles Ferry||Wilson Central|
|304||Strategies for Reading||Southside||Walter J Baird MS|
|305||Diagnosis & Remediation of Reading Difficulties||Southside El||Lebanon HS|
|330||Exceptional & Culturally Diverse Students||Sam Houston El||Prospect/LHS|
|424||Health & PE||LSSD/CU Pre-K||Wilson Central HS|
|432||Classroom Management||Student teaching placement school|
|433||Methods in Education||Student teaching placement school|
|SPE*||340||Language Development||Byars Dowdy Elementary||Walter J Baird MS|
|345||Effective Collaboration||Coles Ferry||Watertown HS|
|346||Practical Applications of Special Ed||Castle Heights Upper El||Mount Juliet HS|
|350||Assessment of Exceptional Students||West Elementary||Mount Juliet MS|
|360||Characteristics and needs of except students||Castle Heights Upper El||Walter J Baird MS|
|361||Moderate and Severe Needs||Castle Heights Upper El||Walter J Baird MS|
|440||Techniques & Strategies, mild & moderate||West Elementary||Mount Juliet MS|
|441||Techniques & Strategies, moderate & severe||West Elementary||Mount Juliet MS|
|444||Applied Behavioral Analysis||West Elementary||Mount Juliet MS|
|HPER||220||PE Activities||LSSD/CU Pre-K|
|343||Adaptive PE||Special Olympics|
Candidates will follow a progression of activities in the classroom, from being an observer to being an assistant to being an instructional assistant (one-on-one, small group instruction, centers, etc.), including perhaps teaching a limited number of lessons.
These three main types of activity specifically are:
1. Participate in guided observations of classroom phenomena. Course instructors will give students assignments related to the observation activities, detailing what to look for, and what to focus on in notes and reflections. Students should discuss course content in their reflections or notes. ED 432, Classroom Management, will involve observational field experiences only.
2. Assist with classroom activities, especially related to course content. The course instructor may provide specific criteria for the types of activities to engage in. However, in this role, candidates are available for any task that a teacher may be required to do during school day. But candidates are expected to discuss the course with their cooperating teachers and together negotiate experiences that deal with content as much as is reasonably possible.
3. Candidates will be allowed to teach lessons toward the end of the semester, if they have earned the privilege. Teaching is not in any way guaranteed, and the decision will come from CU personnel. Candidates will have two options for instruction: a) teach the Cooperating Teacher’s lesson plan; b) teach their own lesson plan based on content the CT gives them. Optimally, candidates will deliver at least two lessons toward the end of their placement.
In the performance of these three main activities, candidates may:
- Prepare materials for instruction under the direction of the teacher
- Deliver materials to or for the teacher to other locations within the school.
- Participate in Bus and carpool line
- Assist with set up and clean up activities
- Assist with physical needs of students
- Tutor individual students
- Guide small groups or centers
- Help administer TCAP or other standardized assessments
- Assist in lessons introduced by the teacher
- Assist classroom teacher with instructional activities
- Prepare and present mini-lessons under the direction of the teacher
- Participate in any other related activities that will assist the teacher with the instructional program and give the student practical experience.
Candidates may NOT:
- Share personal information about students with anyone but their cooperating teacher.
- Be left alone with students
- Be considered as or used as a substitute teacher
- Be involved in instructional activities without the approval of the cooperating teacher and course instructor
- Deliver a lesson of their own design without the prior collaboration with, and consent of, their cooperating teacher.
The professional student teaching semester has been designed to play an important integrating function in the Teacher Education Program at Cumberland University. It is through this culminating experience that our candidates apply skills, theoretical concepts and lessons developed in University coursework and field experiences to practical classroom situations. This practical application experience must be carefully structured so that not only is there a gradual development of the skills involved in classroom teaching, but also a clear understanding is provided to students as to how theoretical concepts are being applied.
Student teacher candidates are exposed to the full range of responsibility teachers manage, an experience that enables them to understand and consequently adapt successfully to the complex role of teaching.
Cooperating teachers accept an important mission in helping prepare qualified students for the teaching profession.
During the student teaching experience Cumberland University supervisors assist and evaluate student teacher candidates during their two placements. The purposes for which student teacher evaluation will be used are as follows:
- Accountability: to assure effectiveness in the classroom and within the school.
- Professional Growth: to provide a focus for professional growth in an area(s) which has the greatest capacity for facilitating improved student performance.
- Cohesive School Structure: to increase and focus the dialogue within schools with the goal(s) of improved service to students.
Cumberland University follows and is in compliance with all requirements for Student Teaching mandated by the State of Tennessee's requirements for Enhanced Student Teaching. All student teachers will have two student teaching experiences during the Professional Semester:
- Elementary majors will be placed in two different grades – K-3 and 4-6;
- Secondary majors will be placed under the supervision of two different teachers – one in the middle grade and the other in a high school setting;
- Students preparing for a K-12 license will be placed in two different levels: Music K-6 & 7-12 and P.E. K-4 & 5-12. These experiences may take place at one school or at multiple schools;
- Special education majors will have two placements: one in a general education classroom and the other in a special education setting. Grade level varies with interest of student and availability.
Candidates should be aware of the following policies:
- The Professional Semester is a full-time experience. By State mandate candidates may not take any other class except student teaching seminar during this period. It is the School of Education and Public Service's position that candidates are not to hold another job during this period.
- Students shall not be assigned to a school where they have been a student, where they have worked or where family members attend or work.
- Student teachers may not serve as substitute teachers during the semester in which they are student teaching.
- Punctual, daily attendance is expected and essential and candidates are expected to conduct themselves in a highly professional manner.
- Student teachers will be present at all school-related functions in which their cooperating teachers are expected to attend, regardless of the time of day at which the functions occur.
- Student teachers must not assume responsibilities for activities in or out of the classroom not specifically covered by laws of the state.
- Student teaching placements will follow the school district calendar. Any exceptions must be cleared by the Coordinator of Field Experiences in advance.
Seminars will be held in classrooms on campus, or in a class or conference room at a local cooperating school. Students who are student teaching in classrooms remote from the Cumberland University campus may be able to join seminars through web-based conferencing software.
Student teacher candidates will be supervised and assessed during the Professional Semester by Cumberland University faculty from four of our five Schools, and/or adjunct faculty specially hired by the School of Education who have multiple years of experience in classrooms and/or are highly qualified in specific, relevant content area knowledge and pedagogy. Most of the School of Education faculty, including the dean, have shared in the supervision of our student teachers.
Cumberland University is proud of the level of commitment shared by the faculty of our School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, School of Business & Technology and School of Music & the Arts who are involved as secondary supervisors in the assessment of student teacher candidates during the Professional Semester.