First-Year Clinical Experience

IB/M First-Year Clinical Experience (Juniors)

First year students are placed with clinic teachers in one of our more than 50 PDC schools. Fall and spring semester placements are in different schools with an eye toward giving each student both an urban and suburban school experience and in a classroom where they can observe the delivery of education services to students with special needs. Secondary education students are given opportunities to explore learning communities at the middle school and high school levels.

The clinic assignment in the junior year is typically 4 to 6 hours each week spent in the school. Students should coordinate their schedules with their clinic teacher as soon as they have been instructed to contact the teacher. Clinic placements generally begin during the second or third week of the semester.

Roles and Responsibilities of the First-Year Clinic Team

The clinic team is made up of the student, the clinic teacher, the seminar leader, and the student’s advisor. The general guidelines for clinic placements appear in a later section of the handbook. Please review them. The following information describes unique expectations of each clinic team member that apply to first-year clinic experiences.

IB/M students are responsible for fully engaging in learning opportunities within their assigned school and for working with the clinic teacher to identify and access a variety of learning opportunities.

Clinic teachers, professionals who are state certified and have at least three years of successful teaching experience, should keep their expectations of IB/M students in line with the students’ levels of development and experience. While IB/M students can and often do teach whole group lessons during first year clinic experiences, a focus on lesson development and implementation has not yet been central in their university course work. Unlike other teacher preparation programs, students in the IB/M program do not take all or most of the university course work prior to their placement in the schools. Instead, upon entering the IB/M program, students are placed immediately into schools, with the belief that the most relevant learning will occur when students can experience the theory and practice of teaching concurrently. Fall clinic teachers, therefore, work with IB/M students who have been taking courses in the IB/M program for only two weeks. Therefore, expectations for first year clinic students should be aligned with their current level of development.

  • While students can and should be expected to do significant work in the schools during their clinic placements, for the most part the work should be consistent with the focus of their university course work taken at the time of the clinic placement.
    • Fall semester themes include student learning, student motivation, multicultural education, equity and social justice, and differentiation of instruction.
    • Spring semester themes include exceptionalities, teaching students with special needs, school context, community and cultural concerns.
    • Clinic teachers are critical in helping IB/M students access experiences within their classrooms and schools that will enhance their understanding of growing content knowledge.
  • Appropriate experiences for the first year focus the IB/M student on individual and small groups of learners, help IB/M students learn more about how the school and district are structured and administered, and highlight the role of the community and state in the functioning of the school and district. Refer to the Guide to Clinic Experiences section of the handbook for many specific suggestions for school-based experiences.
  • Each clinic experience is unique and can never be expected to cover all of the issues that students encounter in their university course work. Those clinic experiences, however, that are designed to address one or more of the themes of this initial phase of the program provide an excellent beginning for our prospective teachers.

Seminar leaders should be aware that they are the IB/M students’ first personal contact with an instructor in the program. Because the core courses are very large during the first year and students typically do not have contact with their advisors in an instructional role, the seminar leader is the person to whom IB/M students are most likely to turn when they have questions.

  • Seminar leaders at this phase of the program have a special responsibility to help their students understand both the philosophy and the structure of the program.
  • Seminar leaders need to help their students make a successful transition not only into the clinic placement specifically, but also into the IB/M program generally.
  • Seminar leaders in the first year set the expectations for clinic placement engagement, participation, and learning that students will carry with them throughout the program.

First-Year Seminars

The clinic Seminars, EGEN 3100 in the fall semester and the methods/clinic course in the spring semester, are designed to help first year students make connections between what they are learning in their courses and what they are learning in their clinic setting. Seminar leaders design a series of activities that help students deepen their understandings about applications of learning theory, learning technology, differentiation of instruction, and special education in real classrooms. In the fall, students enroll in the EGEN 3100 seminar sections that correspond with the PDC in which they complete their clinic assignment and participate in the seminar with students who are also placed in the same PDC. For example, all students placed in Glastonbury Public Schools participate in the same section of EGEN 3100, allowing for reflection on and analysis efforts across the district at all grade levels.

While specific clinic assignments for these students will vary depending upon their seminar leader, some assignments that students have been expected to complete at this phase of the program include:

  • Collect baseline data on a student’s classroom behavior;
  • Adapt a generic lesson plan for individual learners;
  • Review the school’s policy statement on special education procedures and guidelines for parents;
  • Create a school profile;
  • Observe a Planning and Placement Team meeting;
  • Teach a small group using an adapted lesson plan;
  • Shadow a student or administrator for a day to get a feel for what a day in that person’s life at school entails.