Field and Clinical Experiences
Field Experiences as Part of Coursework
Our Childhood Special Education: Learning Disabilities program provides multiple opportunities to observe, try out, and teach in classroom settings. Nearly all courses include a field experience, with an accompanying school-based assignment directly related to the content of the course. These field experiences vary by course, requiring from 5 - 20 hours in schools.
Student Teaching or On-the-Job Practicum
The LD program’s practice-focused culminating fieldwork -- student teaching/on-the-job practicum -- requires a minimum of 40 full days. This experience is supervised at each student’s school site by HC faculty, who provide feedback to be incorporated into subsequent teaching. In addition, all students enrolled in teaching/practicum videotape their teaching, following up with a written self-analysis and an extensive reviewing of the tape, side-by-side with their HC supervisor.
Students enrolled in student teaching/practicum attend a regular seminar with other practicing teachers and interns. This seminar includes readings and practice assignments, as well as focused feedback from supervisors’ school observations. It also draws on selected video clips of the students’ teaching at their sites, providing opportunities to consider together the critical nuances of skilled instruction.
Clinical Teaching in the HC Learning Lab (HCLL)
The heart of Hunter’s Learning Disabilities Program, the HCLL, encompasses four courses (SPED 781, 782, 783, 784) that integrate methods with clinical teaching in an after-school program. Some years, the Lab is conducted entirely at Hunter’s 68th Street campus; some years it also makes a second home in NYC schools.
The HC Learning Lab is an instructional laboratory and clinic, preparing special educators, while also providing free, year-long intensive tutoring for students with learning disabilities. The graduate students who tutor the children are coached weekly by HC faculty, with feedback provided both individually and in small-group seminars, as well as via written commentary on journals and plans.
Over the years, we have added videotaping of sessions, with teachers' forming partnerships to view one another's tapes, observe "live" sessions, read one another's reports, and reflect together to improve their teaching. The Lab's four-course integrated methods/practicum is orchestrated to provide frequent feedback from multiple sources in the needed safety of a long-term real world experience of making a difference in children’s lives.
In sum, the HCLL is:
- Clinical teaching provided by graduate students to children with learning disabilities
- Intensely supervised, individuallyfocused, specially designed instruction
- Twice-weekly, afterschool, September-to-June, and free of charge
- Intensive preparation of special educators, involving multiple feedback loops
- Evidence-based methods integrated with hands-on teaching
- Support and guidance to parents
- Linkage with schools, hospitals, and assessment centers