Education 203: Educating All Students - Spring 2013 - Field Placement Guidelines and Information

Background:
Education 203 examines the political and pedagogical implications of universal public education in the United States.  Educating All Students focuses on the right of every student to just and equitable educational opportunities.  The course readings are intended to generate discussion about the roles and actions of policy makers, school administrators and teachers in making educational opportunities viable for all children while also looking primarily at what happens in the classroom.

Bowdoin students will consider students as both members of socio-cultural groups and as individuals, asking:

  • What is the teacher’s responsibility for educating all students?
  • How do teachers learn about the needs of their students?
  • How might teachers address the needs of all students?
  • What do adolescents bring to the classroom that affects their learning?
  • How do individual adolescents experience school?

This course serves as the exceptionality course in our teacher preparation program.

The Field Placement:
Students in this course will serve as “Learning Partners” to a student in a local middle school or junior high for a minimum of 24 hours throughout the semester.  Each Bowdoin student will be paired one-on-one with a 7th or 8th grade student, and will be available to provide that student with real-time academic support while also observing the learning behaviors in the classroom in which they are visiting.  Bowdoin students will “shadow” the middle school students during a weekly specified time, take field notes, and be available to work with that student in ways that are helpful and appropriate for the student and the teacher in the classroom.  The Bowdoin student will reflect on this fieldwork in student learning analyses and develop an ethnographic case study of the student. 

Role of the Bowdoin Student in the Field Placement:
Bowdoin students will spend approximately 3 hours/week with their Learning Partner.  Expectations on the part of the Bowdoin student includes arriving on time, or communicating with the school ahead of time in the event of illness or other delay.  They will be appropriately dressed for interactions with students.  They will not use their cell phones or text while in the school, and will not share any social media connections.  They will follow the schedule of their Learning Partner, and will never leave the school building with their Learning Partner.  They will provide academic support to their Learning Partner in ways that are appropriate and helpful to both the student and the teacher in the classroom.  They may sit next to their Learning Partner, or in another part of the classroom so as not to disrupt instruction. Additionally, they will conduct general observations within the classroom they are attending, and may take field notes on learning behaviors observed.  The names of all students and teachers will be changed in order to ensure confidentiality.

At some point during the semester, each Bowdoin student will also be asked to briefly interview two other adults associated with their Learning Partner’s learning behaviors.  Most likely this will be teachers – Bowdoin students will contact them directly in order to arrange a mutually convenient time and location.  These interviews will not take place with their Learning Partner present. 

Role of the Learning Partner in the Field Placement:
Learning Partners will be identified and engaged by the supervising administrator at his/her school.  Parental permission will be attained by the supervising administrator prior to formalizing this partnership.  These are generally students who might benefit from the additional academic support and informal mentoring provided by the Bowdoin student, do not mind having a Bowdoin student move from class to class with them for a few hours a week, and are fairly consistent in their attendance.  Additionally, it is expected that these students are not in self-contained special education classes. 

Role of the Supervising Administrator in the Field Placement:
Bowdoin students will need one “point person” at each school – an adult to whom they can go for specific questions and who can assist with communications in the event of illness, absence, etc.  While there is no formal supervision required, it would be helpful for that point person to meet with the Bowdoin students during the first visit to establish clear procedures for entering/leaving the building, communicating with the school, confidentiality, orientation to the school and administrators, and any other important information related to joining a school community.  After that, periodic informal check-ins may be helpful in order to ensure that any specific questions or concerns are addressed.  Supervising administrators may or may not share information with the Bowdoin student regarding their Learning Partners IEPs or other accommodations, dependent on professional discretion and district policy. 

Any questions relating to this field placement may be directed to Sarah Chingos, Program Placement and Outreach Coordinator, at schingos@bowdoin.edu or 725.3733.