Course Syllabus, Winter 2012:
**I am most grateful to Melinda McBee Orzulak and Danielle Lillge for sharing their course design ideas and syllabi with me; many of their insights, along with those of many practicum instructors who have come before me, are reflected here.
**NOTE: This syllabus and the course calendar will change; good teachers remain ever responsive to the learning needs of their students, and so we will make adjustments in an effort to connect our practicum work with your field experiences, Educational Psychology and Human Development course, and English Methods course. Changes/updates will be discussed in advance via electronic or in-class discussion and will be posted to our CTools course site.
Practicum II is an opportunity to build upon the learning and experiences from Practicum, I, particularly to further understandings about the complexities of classroom teaching and your professional role as a developing reflective practitioner. Like Practicum I, Practicum II is comprised of two parts: a) your field placement, and b) class meetings and preparation. Both are designed to be sites that will encourage your ability to develop an independent philosophy of teaching and learning. In both sites, you will explore how teachers make particular decisions and how to understand the seemingly invisible, countless considerations behind each choice. Since there can be no one right way for addressing the complexities of classroom decision-making that is responsive to students’ particular learning needs, Practicum II provides a space for you to synthesize conversations in your other education courses and in your field placement this semester in order to develop effective ways to frame your long-term and short-term decisions about the many ways a classroom can be structured in order to plan, assess, communicate, and adjust your instruction.
So, how is Practicum II different from Practicum I? During Practicum II, you will be expected to extrend what you’ve learned during Practicum I (and the associated coursework in EDUC 392 and 402) as well as the types of initial teaching experiences you have had in Practicum 1 – working with small groups of students, helping to write and grade assessments and teaching a number of lessons, including a three day sequence of lessons. Interaction with students in one-on-one, small group, and large/whole group settings is crucial to your development of your confidence and the skills necessary to succeed on a daily lead-teaching basis, and thus, is expected. You will be expected to make a greater shift from student to teacher roles in conducting yourself as a professional who reflects on the learning in a classroom – for each individual student and for the whole group – in more critical ways.
Course Learning Goals:
This course will help you progress in the five professional domains identified by theUniversityofMichigan Teacher Education Program:
- Planning, assessing, and evaluating
- Knowing and representing subject matters
- Knowing and engaging students
- Building a classroom community
- Becoming a member of the profession
- Practicum Handbook
- Observation Field Notes Log
- Online Reflection Blog
- CTools access to our course site
Course Policies/Demonstrating Professional Responsibility:
In addition to those policies outline in your Practicum Handbook, for which you will be accountable, please be aware of the following policies and expectations:
- Respectful participation –
- In class we will together foster a learning environment whereby all are encouraged to voice their ideas, wonderings, and questions. You will be expected to take risks and engage critically with intersections between your coursework and the field. In turn, you are expected to respectfully support your classmates as they take risks. This includes turning off all electronic distractions as soon as you walk in the room and remaining attentive to the discussions at hand.
- In the field, you will be expected to proactively and professionally participate in the classroom life of the cooperating teacher (CT) with whom you are working. This means taking the initiative to explore and support the work of the CT in close communication with her or him. We will discuss these expectations more explicitly early in the course.
- Attendance/Absence – attendance in seminar and at your field placement is expected 100% of the time.
- Because learning does not entirely happen in isolation, our class meetings are critical as they help us to learn from one another, help support one another, and strengthen our own work. This type of interactive work is difficult to make up and impossible to recreate. Alas, life happens. You will be excused for at most two hours for all reasons (plan accordingly). As all professional educators do, if you need to miss a class, you are expected to inform your field instructor of your absence before the class meeting. Missing more than two hours will jeopardize your ability to pass the course.
- The same is true of your attendance at your field placement. You will follow the University of Michigan calendar. It is your responsibility to share this calendar with your CT at the beginning of the placement. There are four possible reasons for you to miss time in the field; 1) illness, 2) emergency, 3) religious holiday, or 4) University scheduled break. When illness or emergency causes your absence from school, notify your CT and field instructor before the start of the school day or, whenever possible, during the evening prior to the expected absence. Because you are required to fulfill hours as part of your certification process, you should arrange make up times with your CT for the above listed absences. To avoid confusion, you should ask your CT about your cooperating school’s policy regarding school closure and delay notification.
In sum, your punctual attendance reflects your effort to encourage others to view you as a professional – no matter where you are. You are making the move from one side of the desk (as a student) to the other (as an educator); these obligations come with your willingness to take on the role of professional educator.
As your field instructor, I will be working with you in various ways to support the course goals and your progress as a professional educator. In class, we’ll be organizing and leading activities and assignments that prompt you to think more closely about what you’re experiencing in the field in conjunction with your coursework. In the field, we will work to support the relationship between you, your CT, and the Teacher Education Program. We will visit you in the field periodically over the semester. These visits will include:
- The “Getting Started” Meeting offers us (you, your CT, and your field instructor) a chance to discuss your placement, including the domains of professional learning; the expectations the Teacher Education Program has for you during the semester; your background and the experiences you’re looking forward to in the placement; your CT’s background, expertise, and vision for your placement; and your attendance schedule. We will schedule this meeting sometime in the first week or two of your placement.
- Two Co-Observations in which both you and your field instructor will observe your CT teach and take focused notes. The notes will serve as an important starting point for a follow-up conversation about how to hone your observation skills in order to develop increasing understandings of good classroom practice. These will will take place sometime in the first six weeks of your placement and again later in the semester, and Follow-Up Conversations must be scheduled with your field instructor within a week after the observation experience.
- Monthly Group Rotation “Perspective Observations” allow you and your classmates to observe one teacher’s lesson together. In these observations, which you will find scheduled on the course calendar, you and your classmates will each take up a particular “lens” through which you will watch one of your four CT’s lessons. In practicum the following week, we will discuss the observation and what we saw from our various “perspectives.” Your reflective writing about your field experiences should reflect what you learn from these experiences in these weeks.
- The “Teaching Experience/3 Day Lesson Sequence” Visit offers a chance for your field instructor to see you teach a lesson you have designed and then debrief with you (and your CT if possible) afterwards about your decision-making and reflection about how the experience went. We will work with your CT to schedule your teaching experience earlier than later in the semester at a time that best capitalizes on your growing knowledge of teaching and that best supports the classroom instruction at your teaching site. Ideally, we’ll schedule this visit during the “Getting Started” meeting.
You will earn a pass/no pass grade for this course. This grade will reflect your ability to demonstrate successful completion of course requirements (in the field and class) and progress in each of the teaching domains in order to demonstrate your preparation to meet the demands of student teaching next semester. This course is a prerequisite for student teaching. Our assessment of your progress will take into account the strengths/weaknesses analysis of your CT, which is based on the Domains of Professional Learning (see your handbook). Failure to meet the six-hour weekly field experience, lack of attendance at class meetings, and inadequate quality or timely completion of assignments are each ground for a no pass grade.
Your final grade in this course will reflect the total of the following assignments:
- Field Log/Online Blog Reflections/Responses to Classmates – Each week you will be expected to focus on a particular area of your experience working with your CT in his or her classroom. You will take careful notes on your area of focus and use these to create once-weekly reflective blog posts in an online space of your choice. You may choose from the following blog platforms: WordPress, tumblr, blogger, edublogs (or another platform that your field instructor approves). We will discuss this more in class on the first day. The biggest thing to keep in mind as you design your blog and write in it is that this space is to be private to you, your classmates, and your field instructor, at least initially. Be sure to explore your platform’s privacy settings immediately after you create your blog! You are responsible for reading your classmates’ posts and posting one response per week to a classmate’s reflection. The goal here is threefold: 1) to allow you to critically reflect on the informal, unpolished notes you take during observations in a more formal setting for a real audience of your peers, 2) to allow you to experiment with and think about collaborative online writing spaces in preparation for your future teaching, and 3) to encourage you to critically reflect about the role of the Internet in the life of a teacher and to allow you begin developing a professional online persona as an educator.
- Lesson Plan Series – In cooperation with your CT, you will identify a learning objective/topic of instruction for you to plan a three-day lesson series, which you will teach to one class. The rationale for asking you to complete this lesson plan/teaching series is multi-layered, as we will discuss, but includes the following: providing you with an opportunity to teach in front of a class for an extended period of days; enabling you to make adjustments to your instruction based on the formative assessments you glean from day to day; offering you the chance to reflect on your own teaching strengths and areas for improvement before student teaching; and developing initial experiences with planning in preparation for your unit planning in Methods class. We will discuss more details about this requirement in Practicum.
- Mastery Demonstration – This culminating final presentation/practice teaching experience will afford you the chance to synthesize your learning and field experiences this semester in order to share them with other teacher candidates and professional educators. We will discuss more details about this requirement in Practicum class.
For disability – In accordance with University of Michigan policy, I am happy to provide accommodations for students with learning disabilities and will protect the confidentiality of students’ individual learning needs. Please email me by the second week of the term so I can schedule a confidential appointment to discuss approved accommodations. For religious observances – If a class session or due date conflicts with your religious holidays, please notify me of which dates will pose a conflict no later than the fourth week of class so I can make alternative arrangements. In accordance with U-M policy on religious/academic conflicts, your absence will not affect your grade in the course. For other special circumstances – If there are extenuating circumstances that impact your success, please contact me ASAP to schedule an appointment.