Field Experience

The teacher education program represents a performance-based model in which field experiences are associated with the attendant coursework. There are two types of field assignments: embedded and assigned. Courses with a theoretical base have an embedded field work component. Other courses include assignments that require the application of theory to practice.

Placement Pre-Screening and Criteria

Candidates will engage with students in a variety of learning environments that have been pre-screened by course instructors. Criteria for the selection of sites include diversity of student population, inclusiveness of setting, accreditation by the state, implementation of best-practice strategies and thematic instruction, qualifications and the willingness of program administrators and teachers to mentor candidates and work with course instructors.

As candidates progress in their respective programs of study, the qualifications of site personnel (teachers and/or program administrators) become more rigorous. Site personnel must have a master’s degree in education and be certified in the area the candidate is pursuing. At the highest levels of the programs of study, personnel must be designated as mentors of the Louisiana Teachers Assistance and Assessment Program (LaTAAP).

Monitoring Progress

In many instances, college instructors are not present as candidates engage in their field experiences, though they monitor their progress by responding to written assignments and reflections, viewing video-tapes, facilitating course-based discussions, and corresponding regularly with teachers and other school personnel at the site.

The first field experiences usually involve general principles related to diversity, development, and learning. Candidates observe classrooms and programs that represent a wide range of age levels and settings, reflect upon their experiences, and refine or - in many cases - redefine their interests in teaching.

As candidates progress to the next level of their program, field experiences focus primarily on observing best practice, planning for and delivering instruction to individuals, assessing results of that instruction, and reflecting on their effectiveness. Candidates' experiences increasingly involve learning settings that are more specific to their area of certification, and assignments are designed to support candidate’s development of skills related to differentiation of instruction and meeting the needs of diverse learners.

Requirements for Student Teaching (Capstone)

In the final semester(s) prior to the clinical teaching experience (student teaching/capstone), field experiences are designed to provide candidates with experience planning, teaching, and assessing small groups of students. Candidates also shadow teach, assisting teachers as they lead whole group activities and supervise learners during school routines and classroom transitions.

Candidates are required to have at least 180 hours of field experiences before they are allowed to enter the clinical experience. During this final semester of the initial teacher preparation program, student teachers are required to engage in 500 hours of field experiences, at least 200 of which involve comprehensive classroom instruction.

E-Portfolio System: Live Text

Throughout the program, candidates record site and grade level placements of field experiences. The medium of choice for these records is an e-portfolio system known as Live Text, to which candidates are required to subscribe. Candidates' field experience records may be reviewed by program faculty to ensure that they are developing a balanced set of field experiences that includes significant work with all age levels and in a variety of program settings.

Candidates are responsible for recording, and keeping track of, their field experiences. In some instances, such as those related to secondary certification, the coursework alone does not provide enough assignments for the candidate to achieve the 180 hours that must be fulfilled before entering the clinical experience. In such instances, the candidates themselves must seek out field experience opportunities. All candidates are expected to keep a record of all of their experiences so that, at varying levels of the program, they are prepared to produce these records when a professor or program coordinator requests them. Live Text includes a "Field Experience Portfolio" that has been designed to assist candidates with their record-keeping.