Teaching and Learning is taken in the fall semester of a Bowdoin student’s junior or senior year. The two courses are taken concurrently and are team-taught by two professors. All students enrolled in Education 301/303 are Teaching minors, although not all will continue on to pursue certification through the Bowdoin Teacher Scholar program.
Teaching is a study of what takes place in classrooms: the methods and purposes of teachers, the response of students, and the organizational context. Learning is a study of the knowledge taught in schools: its selection and the rationale by which one course of study rather than another is included; its adaptation for different disciplines and for different categories of students; its cognitive and social purposes; the organization and integration of its various components.
The field placement component of the course involves a minimum of 36 hours in a secondary school classroom (grades 7-12) during the semester. This comes out to approximately 4 hours per week. Students are placed in these schools with the guidance of school administrators, department heads, and the Placement Coordinator at Bowdoin.
Prior to their placement, or early in their placement, all students attend a two-hour workshop with a school guidance counselor and school social worker to learn about the ethics and legalities of working in a classroom, and where to locate assistance and resources for support within the school.
Students are expected to be active participants in their placement classroom. They assume the role of field researcher, taking notes about the classroom, school culture, teaching and learning behaviors, etc, as well of that of contributor to the overall success of the classroom environment. Merely sitting in the back taking notes is not acceptable. It is our expectation that students will participate with student-related activities as directed by the cooperating teacher for the entire time that they are in the classroom. In addition, they will be responsible for teaching three lessons in one class prior to the Thanksgiving break. Ideally, these would take place back-to-back-to-back, although scheduling can be challenging and flexibility is often necessary. At least one week prior to the lessons, students will submit a lesson plan to the Teaching professor and the cooperating teacher in order to receive feedback and additional guidance prior to teaching the lesson.
When our students arrive the first day, it is expected that they will check in with the front office and introduce themselves to the Principal or School Leader. They are expected to be on-time, dressed appropriately, and be fully ready to jump into classroom activities.
It is expected that our students will keep in close communication with the cooperating teacher, letting them know in advance when they plan to visit the classroom and for how long. If they are sick or need to cancel at the last minute, it is expected that they will call the school and email the cooperating teacher right away.
Thank you very much for your interest and willingness to share your classroom with our students. Many of our students say that the field placement is one of the most valuable parts of their education courses. As a 301/303 cooperating teacher, we see your role as that of mentor, and hope that communication between you and your student will be frequent, dynamic, and help both of you explore various aspects of teaching style and pedagogical approach. Ideally, there would be some time set aside each week for you to meet to discuss why you may have taught a lesson the way you did, or how you decided how to manage a classroom situation, or the ways in which you assessed students on a recent topic, etc. We ask that you welcome the student into the classroom as a participant, and incorporate them into your classroom routine as fully as possible. Please provide them with a syllabus, copies of texts, roll lists/seating charts, school/classroom policies, etc. as soon as they begin their field placement. An orientation to the school and introductions to colleagues is also very helpful. Students may work with small groups, individuals, or help you present an aspect of a lesson you are teaching. You may include them in the additional responsibilities of teaching to the degree to which you feel comfortable – i.e. IEP meetings, department meetings, etc. While these students are “teachers-in-training,” we ask that you do not leave them alone to be responsible for a classroom at any time, or to substitute teach for you.
Students in 301/303 are responsible for teaching three lessons in one of your classes prior to Thanksgiving break. Therefore, by early October, you will want to discuss with your student the material you expect to be covering in early November so they may begin their planning. Students are also expected to develop a four-week unit of instruction for the course. For those students who are not student teaching, this unit of instruction may include the three lessons they will actually teach. For those students who are student teaching, their unit of instruction will generally cover material that will be covered in early January when they first begin their practicum.
Bowdoin students are responsible for maintaining frequent communication with you regarding the times and dates of their visits. While each one is encouraged to also check school calendars, it is sometimes helpful to remind them when school will be closing early or be closed altogether for a professional development day or vacation.
You will be asked to complete two formal evaluations of the Bowdoin student – one at mid-semester and another at the end of the semester. This feedback is important to us, and will contribute to the student’s final grade in the Teaching course. Additionally, we ask that you provide direct feedback to your student, either written or verbal, immediately following each lesson they teach.
Cooperating teachers for Education 301/303 field placement will receive a $100.00 honorarium for their service to our students. If issues regarding appropriate behavior, tardiness, or anything else come up, please don’t hesitate to contact Sarah Chingos, Program Placement and Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com or 725-3733.