U of A teacher candidates are continually engaged in field experiences throughout their programs of study. Teacher candidates progress from Observation placements to Practicum placements, and eventually complete Full-Time Internships.
What is a field experience?
Any assignments, hours, etc., you will be asked to complete as part of specific courses in your program. Field experiences take place in public school classrooms or non-profit organizations. Your program is an intentional balance between learning on campus and practicing in local school sites.
Why do we require field experiences?
We believe that high-quality clinical practice (field experiences and internships) is central to your preparation to be a teacher.
Where will I complete field experiences?
You will gain experience across the grade level span of your teaching license. Visit our Licensure page to view the grades you will be licensed to teach after completing your program. We also utilize 16 districts across Northwest Arkansas for various experiences in our programs. You can explore the schools we partner with by visiting this interactive map.
What types of field experiences are offered in my program?
Below are general expectations/responsibilities for students/teacher candidates and mentors in each type of placement:
Students observe in local classrooms and are introduced to topics that help initiate the transition from “student” to “professional educator.” Classroom interactions are limited and should be directed by the mentor teacher. Students are not required to teach any lessons as part of these courses but may need to interview a teacher, administrator, counselor, etc. Students spend approximately 12-18 hours in a classroom in a given semester.
Mentors for observation experiences will model effective teaching practices/professionalism and allow students to complete observations in their classroom as long as they do not interrupt the learning environment. They might need to verify a visit sign-in/out sheet for students and/or be asked to be interviewed by a student.
Teacher Candidates continue in their transition to becoming professional educators and assume more responsibilities in their field experiences. They help facilitate one-on-one tutoring, small group instruction (as directed by the mentor teacher), and are required to teach lessons in cooperation with the mentor teacher’s curriculum. Students spend anywhere from 25 to 60 hours in classrooms depending on the semester.
Mentors for practicum experiences will model effective teaching practices/professionalism and allow teacher candidates to teach any required lessons (planned in cooperation with the mentor and in coordination with coursework). They will communicate with designated UA faculty/staff to provide constructive written feedback when requested and may need to complete formative and/or summative assessments.
Teacher Candidates complete full-time internships the last semester or last full-year of their programs. They are expected to gradually assume full-time teaching responsibilities in the classroom. They are also encouraged to participate in school/district professional development, attend professional conferences, and engage in extracurricular activities (help sponsor school groups, attend athletic events, etc.). Teacher Candidates typically spend everyday in their full-time internship placement.
Mentors for full-time internship experiences will model effective teaching practices/professionalism and relinquish share/control of the classroom when appropriate. They will communicate regularly with designated U of A faculty/staff, allow teacher candidates to teach lessons/units and provide authentic, constructive feedback to the students when needed/requested. Mentors will complete ongoing formative and summative evaluations on the students and will participate in Mentor Teacher Training (offered annually).
Which courses in my program have a field experience component?
How am I placed for field experiences and internships?
The Director of Field Placement works with school partners and University faculty to design field experiences and internships focused on developing teacher candidates' ability to positively impact P-12 student learning.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Do I find my own school sites for field experiences or internships?
No, you will be provided a placement for each experience. Many factors are involved when you are placed for field experiences and internships. Placements are ALWAYS intentional!
When will I receive my field experience placement?
Field Experience placements are typically sent out about 2 weeks after the Drop/Add date in a given semester. Internship placements are usually received near the end of the semester before you begin full-time internship.
Can I work throughout the semester and still complete my field experiences?
Yes! Please just make sure you factor in how many hours (travel to and from you school site, time at school site completing assignments, etc.) will be required of you each semester of your program. Working during your full-time internship is not recommended.
Any additional questions can be sent to the Director of Field Placement JL Jennings.