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Site-Based Immersion Field Experience + Reflective Practice Creates a New Vision for Teacher Education Candidates
Unformatted Document Text:  Site-Based Immersion Field Experience + Reflective Practice Creates a New Vision for Teacher Education Candidates Section I: Content Statement of the issue: This presentation will compare and contrast a full day immersion field experience in the total educational community vs. teacher education candidates working with one specific school–based educator for several class periods throughout a given semester. This model provides teacher education candidates with a more comprehensive knowledge of what future teachers need to be able to do and the immersion model creates a pathway for the future direction of teacher education programs. A second focus will be to discuss a more comprehensive role for university academic faculty advisors to not only guide the pre-service teacher in planning a degree program, but also to mentor teacher education candidates to assume responsibility for their professional growth through the initiation of individual personal and professional goals. This shift in the academic advisor’s role empowers teacher education candidates to continually assess their individual strengths and areas for personal and professional growth to become successful beginning teachers. It also helps pre-service teachers develop a more realistic vision of the demands for the teaching profession. This continual reflection process including community service learning projects culminates in the presentation of a professional development portfolio reviewed by the cooperating teacher, the university supervisor and the appropriate faculty advisor. Literature Review: The introductory site-based model functions within a cooperative learning context which provides pre-service teachers with more comprehensive knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to meet the day-to-day demands of the professional role of classroom teachers as members of the total educational community. Henry, Beasley and Brighton (2002, p. 263) suggested: “If a student teacher is to become a responsible teacher, she must be able to evaluate herself accurately . . . and . . . should begin to develop and refine this ability during student teaching.” Believing that teacher education candidates need to begin internalizing this process with the initial and subsequent field experiences, this model advocates an ongoing process to guide teacher education candidates to reflect on their educational experiences as well as what they have learned about themselves. Colleges and Universities have long followed a model of “Stuffing students with knowledge.” The dominance of teacher talk risks a decrease in active student engagement with content. The lack of active participation contributes to possible failure of the brain to develop the necessary connections for learning. (Stevens, 2002). A typical comment by student teachers is that they learned more than they had throughout their program. As teacher educators evaluate their programs, current knowledge concerning brain research must serve as a guide for restructuring teacher education programs. The model to be presented includes the following critical findings regarding brain research and student learning: The brain exhibits “plasticity” and develops in response to both its genetic make-up and the environment. (Caine, Caine, and Crowell, 1999). Plasticity describes the brain’s ability to change and grow as it

Authors: Bachmann, Marlene. and Wittekiend, Philip.
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Site-Based Immersion Field Experience + Reflective Practice Creates a New Vision for
Teacher Education Candidates
Section I: Content
Statement of the issue: This presentation will compare and contrast a full day immersion field
experience in the total educational community vs. teacher education candidates working with one
specific school–based educator for several class periods throughout a given semester. This
model provides teacher education candidates with a more comprehensive knowledge of what
future teachers need to be able to do and the immersion model creates a pathway for the future
direction of teacher education programs.
A second focus will be to discuss a more comprehensive role for university academic faculty
advisors to not only guide the pre-service teacher in planning a degree program, but also to
mentor teacher education candidates to assume responsibility for their professional growth
through the initiation of individual personal and professional goals. This shift in the academic
advisor’s role empowers teacher education candidates to continually assess their individual
strengths and areas for personal and professional growth to become successful beginning
teachers. It also helps pre-service teachers develop a more realistic vision of the demands for the
teaching profession. This continual reflection process including community service learning
projects culminates in the presentation of a professional development portfolio reviewed by the
cooperating teacher, the university supervisor and the appropriate faculty advisor.
Literature Review: The introductory site-based model functions within a cooperative learning
context which provides pre-service teachers with more comprehensive knowledge, skills and
dispositions needed to meet the day-to-day demands of the professional role of classroom
teachers as members of the total educational community. Henry, Beasley and Brighton (2002, p.
263) suggested:
“If a student teacher is to become a responsible teacher, she must be able to evaluate herself
accurately . . . and . . . should begin to develop and refine this ability during student teaching.”
Believing that teacher education candidates need to begin internalizing this process with the
initial and subsequent field experiences, this model advocates an ongoing process to guide
teacher education candidates to reflect on their educational experiences as well as what they have
learned about themselves.
Colleges and Universities have long followed a model of “Stuffing students with knowledge.”
The dominance of teacher talk risks a decrease in active student engagement with content. The
lack of active participation contributes to possible failure of the brain to develop the necessary
connections for learning. (Stevens, 2002). A typical comment by student teachers is that they
learned more than they had throughout their program. As teacher educators evaluate their
programs, current knowledge concerning brain research must serve as a guide for restructuring
teacher education programs. The model to be presented includes the following critical findings
regarding brain research and student learning:
The brain exhibits “plasticity” and develops in response to both its genetic make-up and the environment.
(Caine, Caine, and Crowell, 1999). Plasticity describes the brain’s ability to change and grow as it


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