Academic journal article Education

Peer Collaboration in an Early Field Teaching Experience: A Replicable Procedure for Pre-Service Teacher Trainers

Academic journal article Education

Peer Collaboration in an Early Field Teaching Experience: A Replicable Procedure for Pre-Service Teacher Trainers

Article excerpt

Peer Collaboration in an Early Field Experience

The notion that teachers in America learn to teach by teaching is not new. Records dating as far back as 1839 written by the principal of America's first normal school, Cyrus Pierce, indicate that he taught his students to become teachers by "... requiting {them} to teach each other in my presence ... (and) by means of the Model School where ... the normal pupils had an opportunity, both to prove and improve their skill in teaching and managing schools" (Borrowman, 1956, p. 71). Cruickshank and Armaline (2009), state that this commitment to practice teaching "... has continued unabated ..." since the early writings of Pierce and in 1948 was further supported when the American Association of Teachers Colleges' Flowers Report "... recommended that the number, length, and variety of field experiences be extended ..." (p. 34). Cruickshank and Armaline (2009) further cite the writings of 1960's Harvard President, Conant (1963):

   It seems clear that the
   future ... teacher has much to learn
   that can be learned only in the
   ... classroom.... I would argue that
   all education courses ... be accompanied
   by "laboratory experiences"
   providing for the observation and
   teaching of children. (p. 161)

Traditionally, the bulk of a pre-service teacher's practice teaching takes place during student teaching (often at the culmination of the pre-service teacher's academic career) or in some cases during Professional Development School (PDS) (Darling-Hammond, 1989), which can occur anywhere from the beginning of a pre-service teacher's academic career until toward the end, just prior to student teaching. Many teacher preparation programs do not have PDS opportunities, thus the bulk of practice teaching takes place for students in these programs during the culminating experience known as student teaching, perhaps with a few sporadic field experience interspersed among different education courses prior to student teaching. In any case, most teacher educators, and practicing and pre-service teachers agree that university courses are unable to duplicate real-life experiences of teachers in K-12 settings (Arnett & Freeburg, 2008). Pre-service teachers themselves often insist that field experiences are the most valuable component of their teacher education experience (Arnett & Freeburg, 2008; Silberman, 1971).

It is during the critical student teaching encounter that many pre-service teachers first experience the realities of the profession as they face classroom management issues, planning for multiple subjects/classes, applying instructional strategies appropriately, dealing with students with special needs, learning to time manage, and other challenges of teaching. Thus, many teachers in preparation experience a form of "reality shock" (Hoy & Woolfolk, 1990) during student teaching and either decide to continue to pursue teaching as their chosen profession, drop out entirely, or graduate but opt not to teach (Arnett & Freeburg, 2008). Those that opt out before teaching do so after spending years of time, money and effort to pursue a degree in a career area that they determine, too late, is not fight for them (Gold & Bachelor, 1988). Additionally, attrition rates of teachers are very high for the first few years in the field (Luekens, Lyter, & Fox, 2004). In fact, according to the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (2003) approximately 1000 teachers quit teaching each day in an average school year and one third of beginning teachers leave the field within the first three years. In addition, 50% of teachers leave the field by their fifth year of teaching (Johnson, 2004). This constant loss of teachers is never offset by new teachers entering the profession and has been likened to a hole in a bucket (Ingersoll, 2003). These two statistics strongly imply the need for early and realistic exposure to the demands of teaching. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.