Strengthening Partnerships and Boosting Conceptual Connections in Preservice Field Experience

Dec. 25, 2009

Source: Teaching Education, Volume 20, Issue 4 (December 2009), pages 329 – 342.

This article discusses research on a Partner Classroom pilot program that was implemented over a two-year period to provide high quality, targeted field experiences in a senior-level elementary literacy methods course. The aim was to shift the focus from passive watching and engagement in routine classroom tasks to emphasize guided observations, debriefing with classroom teachers, and interacting with students.

The authors documented Partner Classroom experiences as they were organized and carried out for two sections of a literacy methods course across two different semesters. 41 students participated in the experiences.

The authors investigated the following research question: What did teacher candidates notice and value, and how did they make sense of one Partner Classroom visit each semester?

Findings indicate candidates valued seeing a “real” teacher in action to help course concepts and theories come alive. The opportunity to compare and contrast their regular classroom placement with an observation in a different school setting was also salient. Candidates also valued the opportunity to discuss their observations with teachers and principals.

The authors conclude with a discussion of next steps for strengthening partnerships for enhanced teacher candidate learning, and implications for future research.

Updated: Jan. 31, 2010