Guide to Student Teaching Supervision

Guide to Student Teaching Supervision

Table of Contents

(The entire guide is available in MS Word)

Philosophy of Teaching Program
Goals of the Student Teaching Program
Student Teaching Policies
Evaluation Procedures
The Report Process
Criteria for the Selection of Supervising Teachers
Responsibilities of the Supervising Teacher
Responsibilities of the Student Teacher
Responsibilities of the Principal
Responsibilities of the School Coordinator
Responsibilities of the University Supervisor
Responsibilities of the Director
Suggestions for Student Teacher Orientation
Proposed Sequencing for Student Teaching
Strategy List
Suggested Observation Techniques for Supervising Teachers
Conceptual Framework for Teacher Education
Criteria for an Assessment of Pedagogy


This guide is to provide information for supervising teachers concerning policies related to Northern Michigan University's student teaching program. Northern Michigan University strives for a high quality teacher preparation program based upon the premise of clearly defined purposes and knowledge of the roles of all persons concerned. This guide strives to further this knowledge, to foster a better understanding of the operation of Northern's student teaching program, to clarify the duties and responsibilities of those who participate in the program, to serve as a guide for providing the best possible experiences during student teaching, and to encourage a closer partnership between the University and the cooperating schools and teachers. A clearer understanding of the policies will assist in these cooperative efforts. 

Philosophy of Teaching Program

Student teaching is the most important experience in teacher education.

The Student Teaching Program at Northern Michigan University provides an opportunity to develop and evaluate the students' competence in an actual school setting. Student teaching is intended to bridge theory and practice. The relationship among university supervisor, supervising teacher, and student teacher influences the quality of the student teaching experience. The student teachers need competent and concerned supervisors to help them assume the full range of duties of a teacher. The supervising teacher is a vital influence in a student teacher's professional growth and development.

Goals Of The Student Teaching Program

The major goal of the Student Teaching Program is to provide student teachers a challenging, relevant and rewarding experience, which will allow them to acquire professional competence. This includes the ability to:

  • Understand the role and operation of the school
  • Respect and work effectively with students of varying backgrounds and cultures
  • Assume the various responsibilities of the classroom teacher
  • Plan instruction and learning experiences which recognize the individual needs and differences of students
  • Organize and manage the classroom environment to maximize learning
  • Manage classroom interactions and student conduct to create a positive climate for learning
  • Identify and use appropriate instructional techniques, media and methods
  • Evaluate learning to determine the extent to which instructional objectives are achieved by students
  • Establish positive and effective communication with students, parents, colleagues, administrators and community members
  • Accept and assume the responsibilities associated with being a competent professional and lifelong learner
  • Recognize and practice being a reflective teacher

Student Teaching Policies     

The Director of Field Experiences is responsible for all student teaching assignments and policies.

I. Eligibility for Student Teaching

To be eligible for a student teaching placement, a student must meet all the criteria established by the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service.  These academic and professional criteria are published in several documents, including the Undergraduate Bulletin.

II. Assignments

Most students are assigned to selected schools in the Upper Peninsula and Northeastern Wisconsin.  Placements are made in centers that are currently open.  Students are not allowed to student teach at a school they attended or with which they or a close relative have been affiliated.

Accepting a student teacher is an important decision. Only teachers whom the school has recommended and who meet Northern's criteria will be considered for supervising student teachers. Teachers must first voluntarily decide if they are willing to work with student teachers. They should interview the prospective student teachers and have them spend some time in their classroom before student teaching to help insure a successful student teaching experience. 

III. Liability Insurance

Northern Michigan University's legal liability insurance includes coverage for our students when performing services under the direction of the University when engaged in approved academic programs. This includes legal liability coverage for student teachers and their actions while placed in a student teaching situation. This coverage does not include activities outside of student teaching.

IV. Holding Jobs

Students are to free themselves of campus and work responsibilities during the week while student teaching to allow for a full-time commitment to teaching. Student teachers may work Friday evening (6:00 PM) to Sunday evening (6:00 PM). However, student teachers may be asked to terminate work should the activities interfere with their performance in school.  Students may be involved in activities that are commonly done by teachers such as coaching and tutoring.

V. Additional Coursework

Students are encouraged to enroll in ED 222 Classroom Management or ED 223 Multicultural Education during student teaching. These classes are scheduled the morning of seminars and are valuable resources to the student teacher. Other than these two classes, additional coursework is discouraged, but students meeting several criteria may request an exception to this policy.

VI. The Calendar

During student teaching, all students are expected to begin with and adhere to the school calendar in the school district to which they are assigned. Vacations are scheduled according to the school district calendar. The final date of student teaching is generally the Wednesday before the end of Northern's semester. Other dates related to student teaching are listed on the Student Teaching Calendar given to each student and supervising teacher.

VII. Attendance

Student teachers are expected to be in attendance every day for a full day. Daily arrival and departure times will follow the daily schedule of the supervising teacher. Only two absences, whether for illness or personal reasons, are allowed. All other absences must be made up. Absences for personal business are discouraged. Students are expected to have affairs in order before student teaching begins. Student teachers are allowed two additional days for absences for teaching job interviews, if needed, and approved by the supervising teacher. 

VIII. Seminar Attendance

Student teachers are required to attend all seminars, which are generally held on four Fridays during the student teaching semester. Seminars will include topics such as human relations, classroom management and organization, effective planning and teaching, placement, employment, certification, as well as other topics that address the needs and concerns of student teachers.  Seminar dates are listed on the Student Teaching Calendar and in the schedule of classes.  Student teachers will need to be excused from their classroom duties in time to attend these classes.  

IX. Problems

Students who enroll in student teaching make a commitment to the goals, responsibilities, and expectations outlined in this guide. The following procedure should be used when a student teacher has difficulty fulfilling these responsibilities: 

  • An initial conference on the matter between the supervising teacher and the student teacher should be held. Conferences should be held frequently between the supervising teacher and student teacher. Early identification and addressing of problems aids in their solution.
  • If the problem is not resolved, the supervising teacher should contact the university supervisor and arrange a conference with the student teacher, the supervising teacher, and the university supervisor as soon as possible. The building administrator may need to be involved in the conference.
  • If this procedure is ineffective in reaching resolution, the problem will be referred to the Director of Field Experiences. The Director will seek resolution and determine if reassignment or removal from student teaching should occur

X. Use of Student Teachers as Substitutes

NMU  allows student teachers to substitute teach as part of their student teaching experience according to the following criteria/guidelines:

  1. Districts and supervising teachers must ensure that the quality of instruction provided to student teachers who are allowed to substitute teach is comparable to that required in our traditional student teaching program.
  2. Student teachers may substitute teach only in the classroom in which they are student teaching.
  3. Student teachers are not to substitute teach more than 10 days during their student teaching.
  4. The student teacher, cooperating teacher, school administrator/district, and university supervisor must approve of the substitute teaching.
  5. An accurate record of the dates and experiences must be kept by the school and available to the university.
  6.   The substitute teaching must not conflict with a university supervisor's visit. The university supervisor must be notified in a timely manner so that it will not conflict with supervisory or student teaching responsibilities.
  7. The student teachers will  be available to cover the supervising teacher's classroom on those days, such as TEAC meetings, where the absence of the supervisor from the classroom is necessary for the promotion of the student teacher program. This is part of student teaching and not considered substitute teaching for which they would be paid.
  8. The student teachers will be paid the same as a regular substitute teacher and meet the necessary requirements for substitute teaching by the district.

XI. Honorarium

A supervising teacher is given an honorarium of either $100.00 for 16 weeks or tuition payment of two credits or $50.00 for 8 weeks or tuition payment of one credit for each student teacher they supervise during a semester (August-December or January-April).  During the course of a semester, a Student Teaching Supervision Honorarium Report is mailed to the Coordinator of Student Teaching for each school. The Coordinator is asked to check with each supervising teacher which honorarium they prefer.

Please keep in mind that if the credit hour honorarium is preferred, this credit is to be used in taking classes at NMU. It may also be given to a person completing hours in a teacher preparation program (undergraduate or graduate). To register for a class and put your credit hour honorarium toward your tuition bill contact Nancy Anderson, Financial Services, 227-1462.

If you choose to accept the monetary honorarium, NMU will send a check in the name of your school district. The honorarium will then be dispersed by your Business Manager. If you have questions regarding either the monetary honorarium or credit hour honorarium, please contact the Field Experience Office at 227-2160.

Evaluation Procedures

Supervising teachers are to submit evaluation reports on-line as described in this section by the submission dates specified on the Student Teaching Calendar sent to supervising teachers. It is the responsibility of the supervising teacher and university supervisor to ensure that the student teacher receives timely and continuous feedback on his or her performance. The student recommended for certification must possess the skills and maturity to be a successful teacher.

Student Teacher Evaluation forms provide the supervisor with opportunities to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a student teacher. These reports profile the student’s competency in subject matter, instruction, assessment, and professionalism.  Letter grades are not used for evaluating a student teacher's performance as they inhibit the development of the relationship between the supervising teacher and a student teacher. 

At the end of the Mid-Term and Final Evaluation Forms, you will give the student teacher one of the following ratings:

P - Proficient; consistent, appropriate application, a solid performance
I - Improving; moving towards becoming proficient
B - Basic; minimal achievement, appropriate to situations

These ratings correlate to the final grades the student is to receive, unless otherwise specified by the supervising teacher.

Proficient = S (satisfactory with certification)

Improving = P (pass grade for credit but no certification)

Basic = U (unsatisfactory, no credit or certification)

For example, a supervising teacher may indicate the student teacher is improving, but feel that they should be certified. In that case, they could indicate this in the final comment section of the evaluation report.

The student teaching evaluation forms are based upon the duties of a teacher: knowledge base, instructional competence, assessment competence, and professionalism. Supervising teachers must determine whether these competencies are demonstrated by the student teacher to an adequate degree and then support their assessments. The duties listed on the evaluation of student teacher forms are described below and should be referred to in assessing the student teacher’s level of proficiency.   

Supervising teachers are to check the appropriate level on the final evaluation.

The Michigan Department of Education requires all teacher preparation institutions to use the state approved criteria for assessment of entry-level pedagogical skills for each student teacher.

The evaluation criteria below also include in parentheses the numbers and letters of the standards and proficiencies from the Criteria for an Assessment of Pedagogy given at the end of this guide. 

A.  Knowledge Base

All preservice teachers must demonstrate a satisfactory level of competence in their subject matter and general knowledge through required courses and standardized tests before they are allowed to student teach. University students who do not meet minimal standards set by the University on general and specific content area tests and in performance in college courses are not admitted into teacher education or are not allowed to continue. The supervising teacher should evaluate whether the student can apply this knowledge effectively in a teaching situation and can meet the following criteria.

·      Content areas.  Understands the subject matter and current research (5a*). Demonstrates accurate, appropriate, and comprehensive knowledge about the subjects taught to the degree needed to effectively teach the curriculum (3f). Engages students in practical activities that demonstrate the relevance, purpose and function of the subject matter (3f). Integrates and transfers knowledge across subject areas (3c).

·      General knowledge. Has an understanding and appreciation of the humanities, social sciences, arts, mathematical and natural sciences and technology (1a,1b,1h).  Communicates the value of liberal arts knowledge to their students, including an appreciation of the interrelationships among subjects (1c).  Demonstrates a global and multicultural perspective (1e,1f,1l).  Accesses and uses updated information and procedures (3g).

*See the Appendix to find these Standards and Proficiencies from the Criteria for Assessment of Pedagogy.

B.  Instructional Competence

Preservice teachers must not only have adequate knowledge, they must also be able to teach. The university evaluates these skills through testing, coursework and field experiences. Students unable to demonstrate adequate communication skills, as measured through standardized tests and required coursework, are not permitted to progress through the teacher education program. Through pre-student teaching field experiences, students' management skills are only superficially explored. Student teaching is the primary source of data for these skills. Lesson/unit planning and presentation, including the use of materials and technology, are taught and initially evaluated in the methods classes at the university.

1. Communication skills. 

Communicates what is to be learned so that students understand and value the learning. Demonstrates effective speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills (1a). Uses appropriate and grammatically correct language. Has congruent verbal and nonverbal communication.

2. Management of students' behavior. 

Controls classroom behavior in an effective and fair manner (2d).  Organizes and manages classroom to maximize learning. Establishes and carries out effective classroom rules, procedures and routines. Provides a positive learning environment.  Encourages individual responsibility (1k). Respects individual rights (1k).

3. Management of learning progress.  

Manages learning progress so that the curriculum is covered appropriately and efficiently (5c). Makes smooth transitions and is able to handle varying ability levels and activities. Manages assignments and time efficiently.  Ensures quality time on learning tasks and accomplishes what has to be done. Demonstrates knowledge about instructional management resources (7d).  Uses high expectations for optimal achievement (3c).

4. Management of contingencies/emergencies.      

Applies district and building policies (4f).  Reasonably and responsibly copes with the frequent contingencies and occasional emergencies of classroom teaching. Demonstrates critical and creative thinking abilities through effective decision making under pressure.  Ensures a safe and orderly environment conducive to learning (2d).

5. Lesson/unit planning.  

Develops effective lessons and units within the contexts of the curriculum and  assessment.  Uses curricular frameworks as a means to developing student's inquiry and thinking skills (3g). Applies knowledge of human growth, development and learning theory (2a).  Plans instruction to accommodate diversity (2e,2f,4a). Uses a variety of methodologies,  technologies, and techniques (4b, 7d, 7e).

6. Lesson/unit presentation.

Presents lessons and units so that the instructional objectives are efficiently realized.  Creates meaningful learning experiences that help all students understand the subject matter based on each student's abilities, attitudes, effort, culture, and achievement (2h). Expands cognitive, affective, physical and social capabilities of students (2b). Uses a variety of teaching methodologies, technologies, and techniques (4b, 7d,7e).

7. Use of materials and resources.       

Is familiar with and able to use a variety of literacies, materials and resources (2i,7c). Selects, creates and incorporates appropriate instructional techniques, technology, and materials needed for instruction (7a, 7e).  Demonstrates current knowledge about instruction, resources and technology (7b,7c). Helps students access and use information technology and other resources to become independent learners and problem solvers (3b).

C.  Assessment Competence

Preservice teachers are taught about assessment but have little practical knowledge before student teaching. Assessing, grading and reporting are essential elements in teaching introduced in education classes and concurrent field experiences. Accurate self-evaluation of teaching and curricula are encouraged throughout the program.

1. Selection, creation and use of student assessments.    

Understands evaluation and assessment, including test construction and administration (4e).  Knows and uses multiple approaches to assess student abilities and the merit of a student's work (2g).  Values and develops a variety of reliable and valid assessment measures.

2. Grading and reporting student achievement.     

Understands and appreciates the grading/ranking/scoring process and how to report achievement. Grades and reports fairly, honestly, clearly, consistently, efficiently, and helpfully.  Uses technology to organize, manage, evaluate, and communicate information about student performance. (7d)

3. Evaluation of teaching, materials, and curriculum.

  Assesses instructional, assessment, and professional competence of themselves and others (4b). Self evaluates and reflects on the course, materials, and curriculum and makes improvements (5h). Uses assessments to inform instruction.


The preservice education program tries to select students who have the attributes needed in a professional educator and to develop these attributes through the experiences required of these students and the expectations held for them.

1. Professional ethics. 

Understands the value of education and the role of intellectual and ethical values (1d,7f).  Models moral standards that are expected in the profession, such as confidentiality, fairness, honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity. Models a commitment to intellectual, moral and professional virtues. 

2. Professional attitude.    

Collaborates with all stakeholders in education (6d,6e).  Values learning, students, teaching, and schooling (5h). Demonstrates openness, courtesy, conscientiousness, reliability, caring, and compassion. Identifies with professional educators.  Dresses and behaves professionally.  Discerns the extent to which personal belief systems and values may affect the instructional process (2c). 

3. Professional development/service.   

Is involved in professional development and service activities (7g).  Performs non-teaching duties required of a teacher such as administrative tasks (attendance,   out-of-class supervision) and school or community services (committee work, participation in events).  Accepts teaching as a lifelong learning process and continues efforts to develop and improve (5e). Uses community and home resources to enhance school programs (6a,6b).

4. Knowledge and execution of duties.     

Understands and effectively deals with issues of professional policy and practice at local, state, national, and international levels (5d,6c).  Understands responsibilities associated with being a competent professional, including following laws, regulations, policies, requirements and procedures (4f). Involves and works effectively with all support personnel (4c). Exercises good judgment in planning and managing time and other resources (5b).

5. Knowledge of the school and its context.       

Understands the evolution of education and the teacher’s role in a changing society(5g). Understands the special characteristics and circumstances related to the students, staff, school, and community(4a,5f). Develops practices to promote collaborative, supportive interaction in the classroom, school and community (4d,6d,6e). Demonstrates an understanding of the economic, social, political, legal and organizational foundations and functions of schools (5d).

6. Human relations.   

Establishes positive and effective relationships with students, parents, colleagues, administrators, and community members (1f,5f).  Demonstrates appreciation of cultural diversity, individual differences and exceptionalities of students (2e,2f).  Discourages prejudice and unfair discrimination in their classrooms.  Understands and respects varying points of view and the influence of one’s own on others (1g).  

The Report Process

Electronic versions of all reports may be obtained from the following website:

I. The First Progress Report

The First Progress Report is submitted on-line according to the Student Teaching Calendar. This report is an assessment of the student teacher's baseline performance and relays important information about the student's competencies to the university supervisor and the Director of Field Experiences. The supervising teachers should indicate any initial concerns they may have on this form.  The students teacher should have taught one full day before sending in this report.

II. The Mid-Term and Final Evaluation

The Mid-Term Evaluation is submitted on-line halfway through the semester and the Final Evaluation is completed on-line during the last full week of student teaching. At the end of the Mid-Term Evaluation the supervising teacher should indicate the student teacher’s performance level under “Mid-Term Evaluation” for the mid-term and “Final Evaluation” for the Final. The supervising teachers should  include the student teacher’s, the University Supervisor’s and their email address at the end of the form before submitting the evaluation to NMU so each party will have it for their files. The supervising teacher is to make additional comments to extend or substantiate the profile.

III. The University Supervisor’s Report

The University Supervisor's Report uses the similar categories to the evaluation forms used by the supervising teacher in the first progress report. The university supervisor should make at least one visitation each calendar month of student teaching. The university supervisors complete a report and share their observations with the student teachers and supervising teachers following each observation. University supervisors are encouraged to help student teachers evaluate themselves through such techniques as conferencing, surveying, and videotaping. The university supervisor should consult with the supervising teacher concerning the student teacher's progress during each visit and, if needed, between visits. 

The University Supervisor will complete the University Supervisor’s Final Evaluation of Student Teacher on-line for submission to the University. The University Supervisor will include the email addresses of supervising teachers and student teachers, when known, so that they will have a copy for their files.

Criteria for the Selection of Supervising Teachers

Because of the importance of the supervising teacher, criteria have been developed for their selection. These criteria grow out of the general policies and understanding that form the basis for the Agreement on Student Teaching that is executed between Northern Michigan University and the cooperating schools. These criteria are similar to those used by teacher education institutions across the nation. Their objective is to define a relationship between the University and the supervising teachers, and between the supervising teachers and the students, who may be assigned to them. The following criteria are required. The qualified supervising teacher:

  • has completed a minimum of three years teaching experience, with the most recent year being in the present school system
  • has a valid teaching certificate
  • teaches in the area of his/her certified specialty
  • consistently demonstrates high quality teaching
  • demonstrates desirable personal and professional attitudes
  • demonstrates evidence of continuous professional growth
  • participates in the program voluntarily
  • looks upon supervising the growth of student teachers as a challenge and a contribution to his/her profession
  • is recommended by his/her administrator(s)
  • has completed a course in Supervision of Student Teaching or possesses appropriate training as an acceptable alternate
  • good communication skills and can provide constructive feedback.

Responsibilities of the Supervising Teacher

The following list of responsibilities will enable the supervising teacher to determine what activities are necessary in order to assist the student teacher:

  • The supervising teacher's first responsibility is to the pupils in his/her class. This must be kept in mind if the public, administration, and pupils are to continuously support the Student Teaching Program.
  • Prepare pupils to work with a student teacher and notify the parents that there will be a student teacher in the classroom.
  • Provide a working area for the student teacher (a desk or table) and share responsibilities whenever possible, accepting him/her as a co-worker and professional person.
  • Acquaint the student teacher with pertinent school policies and regulations, philosophy, priorities, and assessment criteria.
  • Immediately involve the student teacher in specific classroom tasks.
  • Plan a schedule with the student teacher for assuming responsibilities of the classroom, which will allow the student teacher to assume increasing responsibility as he/she exhibits readiness to do so.
  • Require the student teacher to be solely responsible for all planning, preparation, instruction and evaluation for a minimum of one day before the first progress report, one   week before the Mid-Term Evaluation and an additional two weeks before the Final Evaluation to demonstrate the continuity of instruction and teacher accountability.
  • Guide the student teacher in preparing daily lesson plans, unit plans, and tests and approve and critique all plans before they are taught. Assist in understanding and applying evaluation techniques.
  • Demonstrate a variety of effective teaching techniques and arrange for visits to other classrooms from time to time.
  • Guide the student teacher in developing and understanding the skills of self-evaluation.
  • Evaluate the quality of the student teacher's performance and engage in frequent conferences with the student teacher to ensure continuous progress and/or early identification of problems.
  • Encourage the student teacher to participate in community activities.
  • Help the student teacher relate theory to practice.
  • Keep a record of attendance and tardiness of the student teacher. If excessive absences or tardiness are observed, report this to the university supervisor or Director of Field Experiences.
  • Prepare and submit evaluation reports according to schedule.

Responsibilities of the Student Teacher

The following list of responsibilities for the student teacher will help ensure a rewarding student teaching experience:

  • Become familiar with school policies and practices and work in a manner consistent with them.
  • Become thoroughly acquainted with classroom facilities and learn the procedures used by the supervising teacher.
  • Become acquainted with instructional materials available in the school and school district.
  • Become familiar with the community and its relationship to the educational program.
  • Plan thoroughly, in writing, for all teaching responsibilities. An acceptable lesson plan is expected for every lesson to be taught.
  • Be punctual and attend each class daily, whether teaching or not.
  • Inform the school in advance of anticipated absences, or as early as possible on the day that an emergency arises.
  • Make time available for conferences with the supervising teacher and the university supervisor.
  • Continuously evaluate personal progress with the supervising teacher and university supervisor.
  • Attend and participate actively in all student teaching seminars.
  • Notify supervisors of any persistent problems in their student teaching.
  • Demonstrate the knowledge, instructional assessment and professional competencies as described above in the evaluation section.

Responsibilities of the Principal

The following list of responsibilities will assist the principal in helping the student teacher become a member of the school community:

  • Accept student teachers as junior members of the teaching faculty.
  • Offer students those facilities, resources, teaching materials, supplies and equipment customarily available to other teachers.
  • Help the faculty and parents understand their responsibilities to the student teacher.
  • Introduce the student teachers and university personnel to the building.
  • Assist the school coordinator, the student teachers, the supervising teacher and the university supervisor to resolve special problems in student teaching.
  • Help supervising teachers guide the growth of student teachers.
  • Provide counsel and assistance to the school coordinator and university supervisors in the development of a high quality student teaching experience in the building and the community.

Responsibilities of the School Coordinator

The following list of responsibilities will assist the school coordinator to locate placements in the school building for student teachers and help the program to run smoothly:

  • Interpret the student teaching program to faculty, pupils, parents and the general community, emphasizing its nature and importance and enlisting their support.
  • Coordinate the student teaching program in the designated schools and the community.
  • Serve as a liaison between the offices of the local schools and the University.
  • Provide professional leadership within the total community and specifically within the teaching faculty to develop high quality student teaching experiences.
  • Recommend supervising teachers and represent the schools in the placement of student teachers.
  • Assume responsibility for the orientation of student teachers and new supervising teachers.
  • Ensure reports and materials required by the Field Experience Office are processed in a timely manner.
  • Advise and assist principals, supervising teachers and university supervisors in their responsibilities for guiding the growth of student teachers.
  • Participate with the offices of the Superintendent of Schools and the University in evaluating the effectiveness of the student teaching program. 

Responsibilities of the University Supervisor

The following list of responsibilities will guide the university supervisor in assisting the professional relationship between the student teacher and the school community:

  • Serve as a liaison between the schools and the University.
  • Cooperate with school personnel in a manner that will enhance the partnership between the school system and the University.
  • Identify and recommend potential supervising teachers.
  • Recommend assignments of student teachers.
  • Serve as a resource person for the supervising teacher and the student teacher.
  • Observe the student teacher teach at least four times per semester. The observations will be spread throughout the semester, at least one per month. A student who has a split assignment will be observed a minimum of two times per assignment.
  • Initiate conferences with student teachers, supervising teachers and others concerned with the student's progress.
  • Confer and cooperate with the student teacher and supervising teacher in evaluating the student's progress and give them a copy of the evaluation.
  • Submit reports to the Director of Field Experiences.
  • Act to enhance the continuing growth and quality of the student teaching program.

Responsibilities of the Director

The following list of responsibilities will assist the director to uphold a high quality program that fosters the growth and professional development of all individuals concerned:

  • Administer and provide leadership for the student teaching program.
  • Establish policies and procedures for administering the student teaching program.
  • Consult with supervising teachers, school administrators and coordinators of student teaching and all departments of the University to develop, implement and evaluate the student teaching program.
  • Provide opportunities for in-service education for supervisory personnel.
  • Approve supervising teachers.
  • Approve student teaching assignments.
  • Oversee the nature and quality of the student teaching experiences.
  • Monitor the nature of the supervision provided by the University.
  • Review all written evaluations of each student teacher.
  • Cooperate with the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service Director and the Dean in implementing teacher education goals.
  • Plan an orientation to discuss student teaching roles and responsibilities for prospective student teachers.

Suggestions for Student Teacher Orientation

Each supervising teacher must decide how quickly the student teacher should begin teaching. The supervising teacher may want to consult with the university supervisor in determining how quickly the student teacher should assume his or her duties. Factors such as the knowledge, ability, and maturity of the student teacher and the temperament of the class will affect this decision.

The student teacher's adjustment to the classroom and assumption of the teaching load will depend upon the individual student, the situation and the supervising teacher. All students are expected to successfully teach one full day before the first progress report, one week before the mid-term report and two additional weeks before the final report.  Failure to meet these requirements indicates a weakness in the student teacher’s progress. The following list identifies activities, which can assist in the adjustment to the classroom and the assumption of the teaching load.

I. Orientation to Total School System  

  • Instructional Materials and Media Center
  • Counseling and testing
  • Library
  • Consultants and special area supervisors
  • School administration
  • Community resources 

II. Orientation to Building

  • Become acquainted with the building.
  • Meet the teachers in the building.
  • Read the philosophy of school.
  • Read the handbook of policies and procedures.
  • Study fire drill regulations and crisis intervention plan.
  • Survey equipment and materials available for use.
  • Study the curriculum guides.
  • Become acquainted with the custodian in charge of classroom and locate his office.
  • Visit the school office; become acquainted with the personnel.

III. Classroom-Related Experiences

  • Learn about the grouping philosophy.
  • Obtain and use resource materials.
  • Study cumulative records of pupils as needed.
  • Have individual conferences with pupils.
  • Write personal observations (simple profiles) of pupils.
  • Use suggestions made by consultant (art, music, etc.).
  • Hold or observe conferences with parents.
  • Use services of a consultant concerning pupils.
  • Organize and use bulletin board material.
  • Utilize supplementary materials and exhibits.
  • Have experience with student accounting procedures.
  • Visit other classrooms.
  • Plan and execute a field trip.
  • Plan and teach at least one unit.
  • Prepare and administer unit tests as with other appropriate assessment tools.
  • Use assessment results to improve teaching.
  • Aid in preparing pupil progress reports.
  • Plan and implement use of library by a group of learners.
  • Start a resource materials file.
  • Plan and execute remedial measures with a pupil in class.
  • Administer and score a standardized test.
  • Use the following equipment in the classroom: science cart, tape recorder, record player, movie projector, filmstrip projector, overhead projector, opaque projector, VCR, computer.
  • Encourage student teachers to write a letter of introduction to parents.
  • Keep “What I learned today” journals.

IV. Co-curricular Experiences

  • Attend a faculty meeting.
  • Attend a professional meeting or conference.
  • Observe supervised lunch period.
  • Observe playground supervisor.
  • Help plan or observe an assembly or classroom program.
  • Observe or work with a club and/or activity group.
  • Help plan or attend a school party.
  • Attend a P.T.A./P.T.O. meeting.
  • Talk with a parent at P.T.A./P.T.O.
  • Observe a safety patrol.
  • Participate in at least one community improvement activity.
  • Help plan or observe a fire drill.
  • Attend a school sponsored event for the public such as a play, a concert, an athletic event or open house for parents.

Proposed Sequencing for Student Teaching

All student teachers will have had classroom experiences as part of their teacher education preparation before they student teach and should be able to take over responsibilities quickly and effectively. Student teachers should gradually assume all duties of the teacher. It is recommended that the students have an opportunity to gradually give up their duties as they end their student teaching. It is important that the student teacher be left alone in the classroom. The supervising teacher can use this time for professional development or service. Below are some suggestions for sequencing the student teaching experience.

Semester before student teaching

  • Review student teaching requirements
  • Interview student teacher for screening purposes
  • Discuss assignment with student teacher
  • Orient student teachers to school and beginning responsibilities so they can prepare
  • Provide lesson plans, materials, policies and other materials needed for preparation
  • Have student teacher spend time in the classroom so they become familiar with the school, students, curriculum, and supervising teacher

First day of student teaching

  • Introduce student teacher as a professional to school and community
  • Provide professional work space for student teacher
  • Provide seating chart and necessary student information
  • Engage student teacher in meaningful activities immediately

First week of student teaching

  • Allow opportunities to observe your class, other teachers, and become oriented to the school
  • Have student teachers begin the following:  work with one group, teach one class, administer tests, perform routine duties, teach one class, practice classroom control.  

Weeks 2-6

  • Gradually increase responsibilities and decrease dependency on supervising teacher
  • Evaluate student teacher's daily plans for approval and improvements
  • Evaluate progress and give frequent feedback
  • Have student teach a full day within the first four weeks before turning in first progress report.
  • Develop a professional development plan with the student teacher
  • Continue to model effective teaching techniques/strategies.

Weeks 6-8

  • Have student complete one week of full-time teaching
  • Complete mid-term evaluation based upon their current performance and share concerns
  • If split assignment, give evaluation form to the next supervisor and discuss

Weeks 8-12

  • If student is beginning a new placement, follow the orientation for a beginning student teacher, including the submission of a First Progress Report.
  • Continuously evaluate progress and give feedback as they assume more duties

Weeks 12-16

  • Have students complete two full weeks of teaching
  • Have student teachers gradually return teaching responsibilities to teacher and observe in other classes
  • Complete final evaluation and discuss with student teacher

Strategy List

The following strategies will assist the supervising teacher and the student teacher in addressing three typically challenging areas:

Providing for Initial Success

  • Use the student teacher's strengths to determine early activities and/or responsibilities.
  • Encourage cooperative learning techniques to help the student teacher feel         comfortable.
  • Use "a rug" to promote a sense of community within the classroom; use it as a center for story telling or discussion.
  • Suggest that the student teacher read personal journal entries to the students.
  • Promote "hands-on" work.
  • Have the student teacher tutor at-risk students.
  • Set aside time for the students to interview the student teacher; set aside time for the student teacher to interview the students.
  • Provide a structured orientation (with the help of a checklist) to the building, personnel, policies, and procedures.
  • Make expectations and responsibilities clear; include dates with objectives; put expectations and responsibilities in writing.
  • Establish and maintain regular and frequent conference times.
  • Share seating charts with a student teacher during early observation period as a way to develop familiarity with class members.
  • Encourage a breadth of classroom observations followed by focused discussion.

Giving Feedback: Evaluating Student Teaching Performance

  • Establish a routine time and place for conferencing.
  • Use videotaping with private and shared viewings followed by journal writing and discussion.
  • Offer immediate feedback; feedback as close to the incident as possible helps communicate relevance.
  • Use 3 x 5 cards to record ideas during observation; use them as a guide to direct conference discussions.
  • Encourage student teacher self-assessment and reflection.
  • When opportune, encourage re-teaching.
  • Use "What I learned today" entries from a student teacher's journal to guide end-of-the-day discussions.
  • Encourage student teachers to use a sound teaching assessment tool to acquire feedback from students regarding their effectiveness.
  • Use TESA coding as a tool for giving student teachers feedback.
  • Use an established set of non-verbal cues to offer student teachers feedback during their delivery.
  • Be firm and fair in providing needed corrective feedback.
  • Use end-of-week written summaries of : "This week's areas of growth" and "Next week's challenges."

Directing the Development of Classroom Management Skills

  • Provide opportunities to experiment; permit failure with opportunities to revamp.
  • Clarify the difference between friend and friendly.
  • Prepare a written guide of appropriate management techniques; this may be part of a handbook.
  • Develop and demonstrate a repertoire of management and discipline strategies.
  • Establish a procedure to critique and compliment the student teacher.
  • Accept that what works for a supervising teacher may or may not work for the student teacher.
  • Consider a point system for rewards with warnings and consequences for your classroom; a point system may provide an easy-to-understand procedure for a student teacher.
  • Emphasize consistency.
  • Promote respect in your classroom.
  • Transfer authority to the student teacher when appropriate.
  • Consider adopting another building's successful program, i.e., STRIDES.
  • Promote NMU's Classroom Management course.

Suggested Observation Techniques for Supervising Teachers

Beginning of Class Activities

  • Did the class start on time?  (How long after?)
  • Was there a bell to start class?
  • Was there an anticipatory set?
  • How long did “roll call” take?  What did the students do during this time?
  • Were the students in their seats when the bell rang?
  • Which of these techniques did you like?
  • How would you have done things differently?

Daily Objectives

  • Was an objective for this class period given?  What was it?  When was it stated?
  • Was their a review of what was learned yesterday?
  • Was it evident that the teacher had objective(s) for this class period?
  • Did the class or teacher digress from objectives?
  • Were the objectives reached by the end of the period?  If not, why not?
  • Did the closure include a summary of the objectives?
  • Which of these techniques did you like?
  • How would you have done things differently?


  • How were directions given?
  • Was everyone listening?
  • How did the teacher get everyone’s attention?
  • Was the teacher clear?
  • Was the teacher concise?
  • What was the noise level during directions?
  • What was the body posture of the students during directions?
  • Did the students seem to understand the directions?
  • Did the teacher check for understanding?  How?
  • Were the directions given more than once?
  • How would you change the presentation of the same directions?


  • Were there stated expectations?  Were they clear?  Were they reasonable?
  • Did the students seem to already know what was expected?
  • Did the students’ behavior correspond with the stated expectations?
  • Did the expectations help the students focus on the desired outcomes?
  • How would you have stated the expectations differently?


  • How did the students input?  Raise hands?  Call out?  No response?
  • How effective was the student input?
  • If more than one type of student input was observed, which seemed to be most effective and why?
  • Did the learning remain focused?  Did the teacher digress?  Did the students digress?  How did the teacher pull them back together again?
  • What percentage of the hour was lecture (no student comments)?
  • Did the teacher use active participation?  List examples:
  • What was the noise level for each kind of presentation used?
  • Did you observe cooperative learning?
  • For the lesson being presented, what presentation mode would you have used?


  • Did the period move along smoothly?
  • What did the teacher do to maintain or pick up the energy level?
  • How did the teacher challenge the students?
  • What did the teacher do to make the lesson interesting?
  • What novelty type activities did the teacher use?
  • Would these teaching techniques be something that you might use?


  • Did the lesson go from known to unknown?  What was the “known”?
  • Did the lesson go from simple to complex?
  • Did the lesson “go step by step”?
  • Did the students seem to follow and understand the lesson?
  • Could you follow and understand the lesson?
  • Did the teacher monitor and adjust the lesson?
  • How did he/she adjust the lesson?
  • How would you have done it differently?


  • What motivational techniques did you observe?  Extra credit?  Praise?  Smiles? Rewards?  Free time?  Candy?  Other _____?
  • Was there any creativity in the presentation?
  • What motivational techniques do you plan to use?

Classroom Management of Media and Materials

  • How were the materials distributed?  What was the noise level?  Was the process efficient?
  • Did the students have their own materials with them?
  • Did the students have their own textbook or were they distributed in class?
  • Is there a place in the room for students’ folders?
  • Did all the students have a pencil?  If not, how did the teacher handle this?
  • Was there a homework assignment due that day?  How many students either forgot it or did not do it?  How did the teacher react?
  • Were there disruptions caused by students who did not have a pencil, paper, homework, or textbook?
  • How would you handle distribution of materials in class?
  • What would you do about students who come to class without their text, pencil, etc.?

Media in the Classroom

  • Which of the following were used in the classroom?
    • Chalkboard, Overhead, Recordings, VCR, Filmstrips, Movies, Computer(s)
  • How smooth was the operation or use of these?
  • Did the use of media effectively contribute to the lessons
  • What was the noise level during the use of media?
  • What are the advantages of using media?
  • What are the disadvantages of using media?

Student Behaviors

  • What student disruptions did you observe?


       Talking out loud (Interrupting)

       Writing and/or passing notes

       Reading during lecture or discussion


       Inappropriate responses or questions

       Getting out of seats without permission

       Students who do not have materials

       Students chewing gum or eating candy

       Others _____

  • What evidence of on-task behaviors did you observe?


       Raised hands

       Intelligent responses

       Effort to try

       Enthusiastic participation

       Others _____

Teacher’s Response to Student Behaviors (Discipline)

  • What positive reinforcers did the teacher use?
  • What negative reinforcers did the teacher use?
  • Is the tone of the classroom affected by the choice of reinforcers used?
  • Did the teacher sometimes ignore good behavior?
  • Did the teacher sometimes ignore bad behavior?
  • Were individual behavior problems addressed in front of the whole class or privately?
  • Did the teacher use any non-verbal discipline techniques?  What were they?
  • List some positive responses used by the teacher?
  • List some negative responses used by the teacher?
  • What was the overall tone of the class?
  • Were there more positive or negative responses by the teacher?
  • Did the teacher responses (either positive or negative) seem to fit the behavior of the students?
  • About a particular discipline problem:
    • What did the student do wrong?
    • How did the teacher respond?
    • Did the student’s behavior then change for the better?
    • How comfortable would you feel using this technique?
    • What might you have done differently?
  • ·       What did the teacher do to raise the level of concern?
  • Did the teacher use feeling tone?
  • Basically was the administering of discipline more authoritarian (teacher dominated), behaviorism (democratic), or humanism (understanding)?

Non-Verbal Communication

  • What non-verbal teacher behaviors did you observe?  How effective were they?
  • What non-verbal student behaviors did you observe?  Did the teacher respond?

Grading Policy

  • Are grades mentioned during class?
  • Do grades seem to motivate good student participation/behavior?
  • How are daily grades recorded during class?  Privately?  Publicly?
  • Who hands back graded student papers in class?
  • Do students grade one another’s papers in class?  If so, does the teacher give specific directions as to how to mark them?
  • Are grades an integral part of this class?
  • How do you feel about the confidentiality of grades?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of grading papers during class?
  • How important will grades be in your classroom?

Ending of Class Activities (Closure)

  • What did the teacher do for closure?
  • Was there a summary?  Who contributed?  Teacher and/or students?
  • Did closure include a check for understanding?
  • Did you have a sense that the teacher was aware of the time and trying to wrap up for a good ending?
  • Did the class have an ending or did it just stop?
  • Was dismissal rowdy or quiet?
  • How would you have dismissed the class?

Bloom’s Taxonomy

  • What level of Bloom’s taxonomy did you observe:

       Knowledge         Comprehension

       Application         Analysis

       Synthesis             Evaluation

  • What is an example of each of the domains observed?

Learning Styles

  • In what ways did the teacher employ visual learning?
  • In what ways did the teacher employ audio learning?
  • In what ways did the teacher employ kinesthetic learning?
  • Are you more visual, audio, or kinesthetic when it comes to your personal preference for learning?
  • Give an example of how you could employ all three learning styles in your teaching?

Classroom Atmosphere

  • Which of the following describes the classroom you observed?  (Circle) 

Quiet         Good classroom management and control

Attentive    Chairs/desks straightened

Lots of participation         Student’s work displayed

Lots of disruptions           Creative bulletin boards

Sitting up attentively         Windows

Slouching or leaning back on chairs        No windows

Students interacting (instead of listening Organized look to the room

and participating) Messy look to the room

Students making fun of others     Teacher seems intimidating

Students accepting each other    Teacher and students seem relaxed

Cheerful, friendly students           Others

Rowdy, noisy, and/or crabby students

  • How comfortable were you in this setting?
  • What would you change?

Teacher Personal Characteristics

  • Which of the following personal characteristics did the teacher display?  (Circle)

Calm      Rarely compliments        Intimidating         

Pleasant  Friendly   Energetic         

Angry     Dresses neatly    Recognizes group effort

Enthusiastic        Sloppy dress      Recognizes individual effort

Firm       Confident           Compliments easily and often

Fair        Prepared            Easily flustered

Strict      Organized           Admits errors

Sense of humor  Listens to students         Can think on his/her feet

Relaxed (laid back)       Understanding, caring     Shares relevant personal stories

Tense     Stays mostly in one place

Excitable           Walks around the room

  • Which of these personal characteristics best describe you?
  • What are some of the personal characteristics that you would like to improve?

Conceptual Framework for Teacher Education

A conceptual framework for teacher education should begin with a definition of education. After all, assumptions about education (sometimes explicit, but more often implicit) pervade all teacher education programs. Israel Scheffler offered the following definition that informs our teacher education program:

[Education is] the formation of habits of judgment and the development of character, the elevation of standards, the facilitation of understanding, the development of taste and discrimination, the stimulation of curiosity and wondering, the fostering of style and a sense of beauty, the growth of a thirst for new ideas and vision of the yet unknown.

In keeping with Scheffler’s definition, NMU teacher educators accept a unique responsibility, for we understand that effective teaching constitutes both the desired outcome and the desired means for achieving that outcome. The dynamics of effective teaching occur in our program in the following concomitant ways:

  •   Teacher candidates form habits of judgment, develop character, taste, and discrimination, elevate standards, facilitate understanding, stimulate curiosity and wondering, foster style and a sense of beauty, and thirst for new ideas and a vision of the yet unknown.
  •   Teacher candidates learn how to foster these characteristics in their own classrooms with their own students.
  •   We teacher educators develop and embody these same qualities in ourselves and in our courses.

In addition to a definition of education, three questions shape the development of our conceptual framework: (1) What is the nature of teaching, both as we practice it and as we wish our candidates to? (2) What are the models of learning we wish to develop in our candidates and practice within our faculty? (3) What is the knowledge base we wish to incorporate in our instructional program?

Teaching is essentially axiological: it is grounded in ethical and aesthetic values. Teaching ethically means addressing the full range of human diversity as it impacts on the learning of individual students and the class. It also means that our candidates and we have the right and responsibility to construct meaning within the diverse and common visions of the good. Teaching aesthetically requires imagination, passion, and a strong grounding in the techniques and foundations of the genre. To define teaching aesthetically, we move beyond a language of competence to articulate a vision of the ideal. By articulating such a vision, we challenge many of the reified assumptions in the discourse of contemporary education, and thereby move our teaching and that of our candidates ever closer to enacting transformative educational practices.

Our vision includes valuing collaboration, acknowledging that theory derives from practice, and viewing the professor as one learner among many. The instructional strategies we model go beyond the didactic to include community building, candidate-directed group work and discussions, opportunities for feedback, coaching, and individual criticism. Extensive opportunities for field experience in all phases of the program ensure relevant contexts for our practice and enable teacher candidates to learn from teachers and students in K-12 settings. As learners ourselves, we are responsible for continual improvement of our courses, inviting candidate evaluation through discussion and critique so that candidates contribute to course design and revision. As a school, we are committed to a process of ongoing reexamination to improve all aspects of our program.

The knowledge base that supports candidate performance in a variety of settings derives from candidate experiences in authentic educational settings, the best available research on what constitutes good teaching practices, and that which is consonant with the Michigan entry-level standards for teacher candidates and continuing certification standards for teachers, the Michigan subject matter content standards, and the Michigan teaching and learning standards.


Derivative #1: Habits of Judgment and Development of Character

A derivative that explores habits of judgment and development of character highlights two qualities of Scheffler’s definition. What follows from taking these qualities seriously? For us as teacher educators, what most clearly follows is that the teachers we prepare must themselves be capable of making judgments (and be in the habit of actually doing so) and must be of good character.

Given that schools are reflective of the society in which they exist, and given that schools also help shape the future of our society, taking the development of character and judgment seriously also means that we develop in our candidates a commitment to social justice and the role schools have to play in its attainment.

Moreover, taking this derivative seriously commits us as a faculty to developing both habits of mind and habits of the heart that will lead to a practice steeped in reflection and judgment and based in the ethics that define good character. The following actions serve to help our candidates and our program achieve these aims:

  •   Infuse into all courses the sense that teaching, at its heart, is an ethical practice that places ethical demands on the teacher. Professional competence and subject expertise are neither the only nor the least of these demands.
  •   Develop norms of practice for our candidates and us.
  •   Be particularly sensitive to issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination in our own teaching and in the professional development of our candidates.
  •   Hold as one of the standards in the methods courses and in teaching internships the extent to which the teacher candidates respond ethically and effectively to the diverse and individual needs of the students in their care.
  •   Place candidates only with teacher-supervisors who exemplify the highest standards of care and concern for their students (habits of the heart) as well as those who will model inquiry-centered and thoughtful pedagogy (habits of mind).
  •   Because ends and means are related, consider the hidden curriculum embodied in particular techniques.
  •   Because a reductionist and algorithmic pedagogy inhibit the development of judgment, emphasize dialog and discussion in classes we teach, requiring candidates to exercise judgment and engage in intellectual work with their peers and their instructors as partners.
  •   Because the teacher preparation program is focused at least as much on what it means to be a teacher as it is on the skills and knowledge needed to teach, we must keep class sizes small enough so that we can interact personally with our candidates as we help them make the transformation from lay people to professionals with an understanding of the purposes of the profession.
  •   Remain aware of the dangers inherent in our profession. Examine our standards to prevent becoming overly narrow and didactic. While we seek to discourage our graduates from being technically proficient homophobes or racists, we must also avoid being excessively zealous or self-righteous. The effort to decide with sufficient specificity what we are looking for is a challenge to our professional community. Ultimately, such decisions will be part of what we are teaching: we need to exercise judgment about the character of our candidates and ourselves.

Derivative #2: Teaching as Artistry

A derivative that explores teaching as artistry centers on two related sets of propositions implicit in the definition of education as given in the conceptual framework: (1) teaching is an ethical activity, and (2) teaching is a rational activity.

As an ethical activity, teaching requires, among other things, that teachers value their students. Valuing, as in appreciation, however, carries a connotation of the aesthetic. Thus to act in a fully ethical manner, teachers must also act aesthetically. That is, they must exhibit artistry in the practice of their craft and must develop, as suggested in Scheffler’s definition, a sense of taste and discrimination in appraising the practice of others. Eliot Eisner supports this notion when he argues that becoming a connoisseur of excellent teaching is essential to becoming an excellent teacher. Because artistry and connoisseurship are best developed in the context of the studio, ethical teacher education must be field-based where candidates may observe master teachers and have increasing opportunities to practice their own teaching.

Because teaching is also a rational activity, reasons must be given for judging a particular teaching performance as art. These reasons can be adduced by examining behaviors in the visual and performing arts and drawing parallels for teaching. The following list is suggestive only and in no way exhausts possible behaviors:

  •   The artist/teacher displays respect for his/her craft. Teachers deal with their students, colleagues, and content respectfully.
  •   All cultures have their great artists, those who use their various media to reflect on the nature of reality and possibility. The artist/teacher appreciates the value of diversity in expanding his/her own vision of reality and possibility and draws on diverse cultural elements in crafting his/her practice.
  •   Ends as objects-in-view are valued only to the degree that the means for reaching them are valued. That is, the value a teacher assigns to his/her students is reflected in the care that the artist/teacher uses in selecting the strategies and content for teaching his/her students.
  •   The teacher/artist recognizes the value of technology as a medium of instruction. Like his/her counterpart in the arts, he/she also recognizes that the object of utilizing any medium is to touch the human heart; the medium is not the end in itself.
  •   All great art contains an element of the unexpected. Artists/teachers exhibit creativity, imagination and the ability to think metaphorically.
  •   Artists approach their medium with a sense of humility, recognizing that they have it within them to either enhance the qualities of that medium through their art or to destroy them. Artist/teachers exhibit this humility through the degree to which they can reflect on and modify their practices.
  •   Artists are passionate about their work. Artist/teachers display their passion through the enthusiasm they bring to their classroom and their willingness to go beyond the prescribed limits of their practice.
  •   Parsimony of action characterizes aesthetic acts. Artists/teachers reach their goals deftly with a minimum of unnecessary activity.

Finally, because one does not value one’s students in the aggregate, it is essential for ethical and aesthetic teaching that class sizes be maintained that allow for individual attention and interaction.

Derivative #3: Subject Matter Content as Medium

A derivative that explores subject matter content as medium arises from Scheffler’s definition of education and our claim that teaching is an art, grounded in ethical and aesthetic qualities. Therefore, mastery of subject matter content, which receives so much attention in educational reform initiatives, is not the primary aim of education; rather, subject matter content is the medium through which teachers and students form habits of judgment, develop character, and so on. By reconceptualizing the subject matter content metaphor from object to medium, we seek to expand the possibilities of ways in which teachers and students engage one another in the daily practice of educating themselves.

The artfulness of teaching is a fusing of pedagogy and content. Teachers make pedagogical judgments about what content to address and how to design classroom experiences that will assist students in engaging this content as a means to expand and deepen their own learning. The task of the teacher is to design learning experiences that will enable students to develop their own capacity for understanding (i.e., form habits of judgment, etc.).

Students are not objects, either. Subject matter content is the medium through which teaching/learning relationships among teachers and students develop. As Patricia Hinchey and others point out, content is a matter of human interpretation, and not something existing independently in the world just waiting for us to find. Instead, content becomes a dynamic medium through which human beings examine data (facts, artifacts, and so on) and assign meaning to it. Knowledge arises from the sense that humans make through engaging the medium of content.

The following characteristics (suggestive and not comprehensive) describe learning environments in which subject matter content is the medium for education:

  •   Students and teachers manipulate information and ideas by synthesizing, generalizing, explaining and arriving at conclusions that create new meanings, understandings, questions, and capacities for them.
  •   Students and teachers thoroughly address central ideas of a topic or discipline to explore connections and relationships, thereby enacting a process of complex, deepening questioning and understanding.
  •   Students and teachers engage in extended conversations about subject matter in a way that develops an improved and shared understanding of ideas and topics.
  •   Students and teachers make connections between substantive knowledge and public problems and personal experiences.
  •   Students and teachers emphasize self-directed, lifelong learning through conveying high expectations, encouraging risk taking, and creating a climate of mutual respect among all class members.

Derivative #4: Race, Culture, and Social Justice

A derivative that explores race, culture, and social justice attempts to call into question the social and political agenda in this country that has long included (and in some ways continues to be) the myth of cultural assimilation and the practice of racial hegemony. A by-product of such a view has helped to create and sustain perceptual differentiations of some U. S. citizens in ways that have led to stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination.

Drawing on our view of education, as embodied in Scheffler’s definition and the three fundamental questions, we must include a commitment to providing experiences that foster a critical understanding of the central role of racial and cultural differences (both historically and contemporarily) in this country.

This derivative focuses on an explicit paradigm of teaching that reflects an inclusive view of diversity and of social justice. Given the social and political implications related to this part of the conceptual framework, the following perspectives constitute basic pursuits in teaching with a stance toward diversity:

  •   A teaching perspective that embraces diversity must demonstrate a willingness to acknowledge the credibility of cultural differences, particularly those that challenge comfortable, long-held assumptions about teaching and learning.
  •   A teaching perspective that embraces diversity must assist students in fostering a socially and politically reconstructed view of how knowledge is constructed around issues such as: race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and language.
  •   A teaching perspective that embraces an inclusive and respectful view of racial and cultural pluralism must explore and integrate the following:
  1. Cross-cultural similarities/connections (e.g., intercultural connections);
  2. Dispositions that support social justice and oppose inequity;
  3. Situated pedagogies (e.g., culturally responsive/relevant teaching);
  4. Social action in teaching and learning; and
  5. Critical analysis of issues such as democracy and democratic ideas.

Derivative #5: Technology

In exploring a derivate that addresses technology, we do not intend to imply that technology in and of itself is as fundamental to our conceptual framework as our other derivatives. Technology is a means to informing, and not necessarily to understanding or to knowing. Therefore, technology must speak to the present and future social realities and possibilities that impact the quality of life, learning and growth (education) we expound, model and seek to empower. How can technologies be employed to move our practice and that of our candidates ever closer to the ideal? How can technology be employed in the formation of habits of judgment, facilitation of understanding, development of taste and discrimination, stimulation of curiosity and the thirst for new ideas and vision of the yet unknown? How can the critical exploration of the use and misuse, culturally diverse and unequal use and access and costs and consequences of technology be addressed within our work with candidates and the future use of technology in their classrooms with their students?

Technology as a knowledge base, medium of instruction and communication, and medium of research and professional development offers possibilities to educators at all levels. Yet, it must find an appropriate integration in our work, as a means to an end and not an end in itself. Technological knowledge must serve to promote and ensure collaborative and ethical work, must engage users in critical and creative thinking and problem solving that supports candidate construction of meaning, must be weighted in light of student diversity and cultural differences and most essentially social justice and equity of access and opportunity (the digital divide).

The increasing presence and power of technology to change all realms of our society mandates that educators strive to develop and maintain technological literacy in order to integrate various forms of technology within their instructional practice and as a means of modeling and engaging students in critical and ethical analysis of emerging forms of global communication, interaction and research. Both skills and habits of critical literacy need to be integrated into educational experiences that prepare teachers for creative adaptation to change and as agents of transformation within schools. The following actions serve to move these goals along:

  •   Model the integration of technology as a means for communication and interaction with students, as a means for accessing and using multiple and diverse resources, and as a means for professional interaction and growth within all courses.  
  •   Employ computer technologies and software among varied instructional strategies and resources within all courses.
  •   Promote and model habits of critical awareness concerning the nature and impact of technologies on issues of ethics, quality of life, social equity and justice, cost and consequence.
  •   Explore the potential limitations in using the Internet.
  •   Engage candidates in curriculum planning that addresses critical use and appropriate application of technologies for diverse student populations.
  •   Encourage teacher activism as a means of seeking equitable access and opportunity for all students in all areas of learning and instruction within their schools and classrooms.

Criteria for an Assessment of Pedagogy

Guide to Student Teaching Supervision, 9/12/03