What is Field Experience?
Field experiences involve activities completed outside of the college classroom which correlate to and supplement the content being taught in that course. Field experience includes (but is not limited to) observation in a classroom setting, tutoring student, reading to students, interviewing teachers or working with special needs children in a supervised setting. Field experience concludes with final Internship (student teaching) which is completed during the student’s final semester of their program of study.
Purpose of Field Experience
Field experiences are an integral part of the teacher education preparation program. They are designed to give students guided and controlled experiences with professionals in the elementary and secondary schools. They are also designed to expand and challenge personal and professional attitudes while providing personal and professional growth opportunities for prospective teachers. Observation and first-hand experience within P-12 settings provide prospective teachers with information and tools that complement classroom study and assist in the development of pedagogical skills, knowledge and dispositions necessary for effective teaching.
Student Teaching (Internship)
The University recognizes that your teaching internship experience is a full-time responsibility; therefore, other than internship courses, interns should not enroll in other university/college courses, including correspondence, web, distance learning, or courses at other universities or colleges. In addition, the University does not allow you to work full time while you are a student teacher. Part-time employment is subject to the approval of the AFEL Director and the Dean of the College of Education.
The Department of Teacher Education strongly recommends that students who plan to work part-time jobs during their internship cautiously consider the consequences that working other jobs may have on their teaching performance. The department suggests that interns who feel it a necessity to work should attempt no more than 20 hours of work per week and should have at last a 2.76 GPA. All interns must meet the same internship performance standards as stated in the Field Experience Level III (Student Teaching) Handbook. Working a part-time job could interfere with the intern’s maximum performance.
Laws & Policies
- Arkansas Law Regarding Child Abuse: According to Arkansas law, any person with cause to suspect child maltreatment, or who observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in child maltreatment must immediately notify the Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-482-5964). Maltreatment is defined as either abuse or neglect. Teachers are considered by law as mandated reporters.
- Policies Governing Field Experiences in the College of Education—Diversity: The SAU College of Education requires that all candidates have experiences with P-12 students of diverse populations including students with exceptionalities, English Language Learners, students from various ethnic backgrounds, and students from various socioeconomic groups. In order to provide a diverse experience for our students, candidates will be assigned to a variety of placement sites throughout their program of study. These experiences are documented and recorded by the candidate and the AFEL office. Toward the end of each semester, candidates will be provided a demographic form to complete and return to the AFEL office. Placements are made after a candidates’ past field experience placement has been reviewed. Placements are coordinated among the instructor/professor teaching the field experience course, the AFEL Director and administrators of public schools.
- PlacementsThere are many factors to consider when making field experience placements to include availability of qualified supervisory personnel, range of experience needed by the candidate, and recommendations from university faculty, district personnel officers, principals and other candidates. Placements are generally determined by the range of grade levels required in the candidate’s program and by the placement agreements with collaborating school districts. Therefore, candidates may not secure their own placements, nor may they be placed in a school in which their children attend or where family members are employed. Once placements are secured, there will be no changes made unless deemed necessary by the AFEL Director or cooperating school administration.