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Fieldwork and Student Teaching

 

Students in the undergraduate Early Childhood Education program will have four significant semester-long clinical experiences.  These will take place in an array of early learning settings, ranging from Community Based Early Childhood Centers (CBECCs) and Head Start programs, to public pre-K and elementary school classrooms.  Our aim is to continue our partnerships with schools and community based organizations in East Harlem, which will not only benefit students in our program, but also build reciprocal relationships with community members in order to share expertise and build mutual understandings of how to best meet the needs of people living in this area.  The ultimate goal of this clinically-rich program is to provide an opportunity for Hunter students to engage in meaningful research and advocacy with organizations and programs working with early childhood professionals across disciplines (e.g. health care, family services, child care, and education), the families of students, and the children our candidates will eventually serve.

Hunter College’s rich tradition in teacher education is based on a commitment to preparing effective educators for the rewarding challenges of an urban public school system. Teacher candidates in this clinically-rich program can expect to work closely with faculty whose goal it is to provide them with a variety of mentored field and student teaching experiences in diverse settings. Early Childhood students complete three semesters as fieldwork interns prior to student teaching in their final semester.

 

The Field Internship

The three semesters that Early Childhood students spend as field interns are designed to give them a developing awareness of how to work in a variety of early childhood settings. Thus, the teacher candidate’s responsibility should grow from the first to the last course, and teacher candidates will receive specific feedback in each subject area from their seminar instructors, cooperating teachers, and supervisors. Field interns will find that they will acquire and refine teaching skills through a progressive approach that begins with work with individual students and small groups, and culminates with the leading of entire classes. Over the course of these experiences, field interns will gain and apply knowledge of effective teaching techniques and various curricular materials. Additionally, teacher candidates will develop a sense of responsibility appropriate to the teaching profession, and an awareness of and sensitivity to the cultural diversity of students.

Early Childhood students complete each semester of field internship in conjunction with two required methods and content courses. Field interns are assigned by the Office of Clinical Experiences (OCE) to placement for each semester-long experience, which requires that they be in the field one day per week from 8 am to 3 pm.

 

Coursework with Field Experience Requirements

 

FIELDWORK 1:

Students in fieldwork 1 are in an Early Childhood setting for the first time and will be seeking to develop observation skills, acquire practical knowledge of the design, and management of instruction and the the learning community to work effectively with individuals and small groups of children. The field intern’s objective is to transition from pure observation to working with small groups of children.

This fieldwork experience is paired with two courses that will guide classroom observations and pedagogical development:

  • Language and Literacy for Children of Diverse Backgrounds, Birth through PreK     
  • Creative Arts and Play-based Learning 

 

FIELDWORK 2:

Students in fieldwork 2 are in an Early Childhood setting for the second time and will continue to work with individuals and small groups, but also expand their experience by starting to work with a whole group or class. 

This fieldwork experience is paired with two courses that will guide classroom observations and teaching experiences:

  • Language and Literacy for Children of Diverse Backgrounds, K-2nd Grade
  • Inclusionary Practices and Teaching Children of Diverse Backgrounds

 

FIELDWORK 3:

Students in fieldwork 3 have had two semesters of prior fieldwork experience in an Early Childhood setting and will continue to work with individuals, small groups, and the group/class as a whole. During this experience field interns are expected to refine their teaching skills in preparation for the additional expectations and responsibilities of student teaching.

This fieldwork experience is paired with two courses that will guide classroom observations and teaching experiences:

  • Early Childhood Science and Inquiry-based Learning 
  • Mathematics in Early Childhood, Birth through 2nd Grade 

 

Student Teaching

As a culminating experience, students will complete one semester of student teaching in early childhood settings, which include preK, kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms.  Through this experience students will have support from faculty, their seminar instructors, cooperating teachers, and field supervisors.  Students will attend seminar to discuss topics that range from classroom management to supporting children with diverse learning needs.  During student teaching, students will complete the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA).  

Student teachers are required to be in the field Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.  Student teachers are placed by the Office of Clinical Experiences for this semester-long experience.

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