Date of this Version
Schaffer, C. & Welsh, K. (2014). Transforming field experiences to create authentic teaching opportunities. The Nebraska Educator 1 (2014), pp. 116-134.
For teacher candidates and the programs that prepare them, student teaching is a visible experience. For candidates, it culminates their investment of time and money and represents the completion of a significant, albeit early, career goal: becoming a certified, licensed teacher. For the university, the performance of their student teachers reflects program quality. When all goes as planned, both the candidates and program relish their successes. When all does not go as planned, where does the responsibility lie? Is it always an issue of individual candidate performance? At what point should the program assume some level of ownership? This article outlines one secondary education program's on-going journey to resolve these questions. After examination of the issue, the program identified the need to improve its pre-student teaching field experiences. Using the framework of instructional coaching, the program is redesigning its field experience addressing critical issues of supervision, duration, and connections to course content.