Eastern’s Clinical Experiences Overview
Candidates in Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) Teacher Education programs have a range of experiences in classrooms, and work directly with students and classroom teachers as they develop their skills to become exemplary educational professionals. Classroom experiences, such as clinical placements, are designed to deepen candidates’ understanding of teaching practices and connect educational theory to practice.
Eastern requires clinical experiences to be completed by all candidates before student teaching. Candidates are assigned to a classroom for weekly visits. During these visits, they complete guided observations and initial teaching experiences. Although some assignments include brief, small or whole group teaching, these clinical experiences are very different from student teaching. At the Core I and II clinical level, candidates are not expected to meet the challenges of whole-day instruction, but are expected to meet a consistent progression of competencies defined by Unit protocols.
Candidates are actively engaged in clinical practice for four semesters. Each successive semester provides opportunities for candidates to build pedagogical and student management skills, merging theory and practice in the classroom. Teacher candidates are required to develop a portfolio that serves to reflect their fieldwork. The portfolio allows candidates to apply principles of learning theory while employing standards to guide their practice in schools. During pre-student teaching (CORE III) teacher candidates engage in a co-teaching model with a focus on differentiation in their content discipline and a range of disciplines.