IB/M Guidelines For Clinic Experiences

Clinic experiences – working in classrooms and schools with children and in collaboration with skilled certified teachers – is a central activity in the IB/M program. Over the course of the IB/M program, students complete the equivalent of six semesters, an average of 1200 hours, of clinic-based experiences. The experiences become increasingly complex and demanding as students make their way through the program.

Clinic experiences are designed to complement the university course work IB/M students are taking concurrently with their clinic placement. Each semester students are also enrolled in a small seminar with other students who are at the same phase in the IB/M program and who are working in the same school district during their clinic placements. In these seminars, students are expected to talk and write about what they are doing in and learning from their clinic placements, how their learning in clinic is related to their learning in their university courses, and how their understandings of students, teachers, schools, and teaching is changing as a function of their varied learning experiences. The goal of the Clinic/Seminar/Core structure that runs throughout the IB/M program is to provide the students with the information, the experience, and the opportunity needed to engage in substantive analysis of and reflection upon the enormous and complex task of educating the youth of this country.

Common Expectations for All Clinic Experiences

The success of the IB/M program is highly dependent upon the success of the clinic experiences in which students participate each semester. The success of the clinic experience is largely a collaborative effort, one that involves the coordination of the IB/M student, the clinic teacher, and the university supervisor/seminar leader. These three individuals make up the clinic team. While each member of the team may have different responsibilities to carry out, the successful clinic experience is truly the outcome of these three individuals supporting each other and working together.

While clinic experiences across the IB/M program vary greatly in terms of the focus and expectations placed upon the students, there are many expectations that are common to all clinic placements. Therefore, this section of the handbook will address those expectations for the clinic experience, the IB/M students, the clinic leaders/teachers, and the seminar leaders/university supervisors that cut across all clinic experiences and assignments.

All clinic experiences should:

  • be active learning experiences with IB/M students spending a minimal amount of time sitting in the back of a room observing what others are doing;
  • challenge the IB/M students to think for themselves and perform independently in a manner consistent with their level of experience and preparation;
  • help teachers or clinic leaders accomplish tasks or meet goals that they could not have accomplished without the participation of IB/M students.

All students in a clinical experience should understand that they are in a school at the invitation of the school. Every student has a responsibility to maintain a high level of professional conduct.

All IB/M students should:

  • contact the clinic teacher/leader prior to the beginning of the clinic assignment to discuss their schedule and the expectations of the clinic teacher/leader;
  • attend regularly, be punctual to, and participate fully in the clinic assignment;
  • report necessary changes in the clinic schedule or unavoidable absences to the clinic leader/teacher in advance;
  • make up all missed clinic days (discuss details with the clinic leader/teacher);
  • be aware of and comply with the school’s standards of appropriate teacher dress, language, and style;
  • adhere to all school rules, policies, and practices;
  • follow the school’s guidelines concerning the length of the teachers’ day and the school calendar;
  • learn the roles and responsibilities of the clinic leader/teacher;
  • attend school functions whenever appropriate and possible (i.e., faculty meetings, parent conferences, PPT meetings, in-service staff development programs, curriculum workshops, home visits, athletic events, school plays, etc.);
  • attend and participate fully in all of their university courses and seminars;
  • keep a professional portfolio of their work, including their reflective journal and other writings, materials prepared for clinic placements, and assignments completed for university courses.

All clinic teachers should:

  • accept overall responsibility for structuring and scheduling the IB/M student’s time and work in the school;
  • provide the IB/M student with a range of experiences based upon what the student has already done, what is proposed by university faculty, and the needs of the classroom or program to which the student has been assigned;
  • be a resource to the IB/M student, providing advice about how to function successfully within the school setting;
  • communicate and collaborate with UConn faculty (i.e., PDC coordinator and IB/M student’s seminar leader), as well as with school or district personnel closely associated with the PDC effort (i.e., members of PDC steering committee and district facilitator of placements), to ensure that placements are appropriate and productive for all concerned;
  • communicate honestly and regularly with IB/M students about expectations for, assessments of, and insights related to their work in the school;
  • provide IB/M students with a formal critique of their performance midway into the semester and at the semester’s end, the final evaluation is written up and submitted to the IB/M student’s seminar leader for inclusion in a semester grade.
  • Sample evaluation forms can be found on the Neag School of Education website. All evaluations should be completed on the form provided. The clinic leader should sign the form, share the evaluation with the student, ask the student to sign the form, and have the student deliver the form to his or her seminar leader. If there are concerns that warrant a discussion with the seminar leader, the clinic teacher should feel free to contact him or her at the University.

All seminar leaders/university supervisors should:

  • plan and suggest clinic assignments in cooperation with the clinic teachers and instructors of the core courses students are taking at the university that semester;
  • visit and confer with each student and clinic teacher at the school site at least twice during the semester (with the exception of student teaching which requires a minimum of six formal observations of the student teacher teaching), providing oral and/or written feedback to the student concerning her/his work in clinic and seminar;
  • clarify any questions or concerns of the clinic teachers concerning the IB/M program generally and the clinic experience specifically;
  • encourage students to use their discussions and writings to analyze and reflect upon the relationships they see between their university course work and their experiences in clinic;
  • assign a seminar/clinic grade to each student that reflects the evaluations of that student made by both the seminar leader and the clinic teacher;
  • facilitate, when possible, the participation of clinic teachers in the seminars;
  • attend UConn staff development meetings for seminar leaders.