Year-Long Course Provides Realistic Experience for Future Teachers

By Hendrix, Kathleen | Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, January 2007 | Go to article overview

Year-Long Course Provides Realistic Experience for Future Teachers


Hendrix, Kathleen, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences


Selah High School

SELAH * WA

Family and consumer sciences teachers have the unique ability and challenge to teach students how to apply core academics. Careers in Education students at Selah High School in Washington learn and apply teaching skills through academic course work and authentic student developed teaching experiences. The year-long course follows Washington State Teachers Recruiting Future Teachers curriculum. Students create a portfolio of exemplary academic work to demonstrate their knowledge and skills as learners, leaders, and community members. The curriculum requires a community service project using the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) planning process. To make the project relevant with the application of core academics at a higher level of thinking, the FCCLA project component of the course has been expanded.

A planning process is used to conceptualize an idea and develop an authentic teaching experience. Each year the project changes based on the concerns of current students. FCCLA national programs are used to expand leadership potential and provide research information. For example, during the 2006-07 school year, students identified financial education as a major issue to the future success of their peers. The FCCLA national program, Financial Fitness, became the starting point for research and development of the project. Over the past 6 years, students have constructed and implemented relevant curriculum in Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety, STOP the Violence, Student Body, Families First, and Financial Fitness FCCLA national programs.

The relevancy of the course core curriculum is increased by integrating the FCCLA planning process into a meaningful teaching experience. Students apply best practices concepts while developing the lesson. Learning is immediate and relevant.

Students develop and implement a major teaching experience before difficult concepts are taught in the curriculum, such as how to complete a lesson plan or constructivism theory. Careers in Education students are able to understand the components of a lesson plan after learning and applying the planning process to a real life teaching experience. When the concept of constructivism is introduced, it is developed using their concrete experiences rather than as an abstract idea.

Students integrate core academics at two levels, including their work while learning best practices through the course curriculum and applying best practices in the teaching experience. Using the 2006-07 financial education teaching project as an example, students identified their concern (step one in the FCCLA planning process) in early September. Research was conducted to find national statistics pertaining to financial literacy of high school students. To have their own data, students decided to administer the national Jump Start financial quiz (www.jumpstart.org) to 100 seniors. If results showed students did not need financial education, another concern would be identified. Students compiled the results and found Selah students were nearly as likely as students nationally to fail the quiz. …

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