Eastern’s Clinical Experiences Overview
Candidates in Eastern’s teacher preparation programs must have a broad variety of experiences in classrooms, and work directly with students and teachers if they are to develop their skills and become exemplary teaching professionals. Classroom experiences, such as clinical placements, are designed to deepen candidates’ understanding of teaching practices.
Teachers who open their classrooms to Eastern candidates model best practices, ask good questions, and encourage candidates to analyze their own behaviors and abilities. Clinical experience teachers are profoundly influential in developing future teachers. In essence, clinical experience teachers and university faculty are, through structured clinical experiences, partners in the future of education.
Based on these beliefs, Eastern requires clinical experiences to be completed by all candidates before student teaching. Candidates are assigned to visit a classroom for blocks of time each week according to specific program requirements. During these visits, they complete guided observations and limited teaching experiences assigned by the professors of courses they are taking. Although some assignments include brief, small or whole group teaching, these clinical experiences are very different from student teaching. Candidates completing these experiences are not ready for the challenges of elaborate planning or whole-day instruction.
Candidates complete two clinical experiences (e.g., Core I and Core II) in elementary, health and physical education, and secondary teacher preparation programs and three clinical experiences (i.e., Core I, Core II, Core III) in early childhood education.