Social Context Project Requirements


Physics 353 – Student Teaching Seminar
Physics Teacher Education Program
Illinois State University
Ken Wester
Spring Semester 2019

 

In order to help student teachers relate science to the community and to use human and institutional resources in the community to advance the education of their students in science, pre-student teachers will conduct a school and community survey of the location in which they will student teach. This survey will be focus on the following factors:

This activity will be completed in two steps:

  1. Complete Pre-Student Teaching Clinical Experiences
  2. Determine Characteristics, Needs, and Values of the Community

As this survey progresses, teacher candidates will document their findings in a report using a narrative form. See a sampling of what a good narrative report should look like by viewing elements of an exemplary Social Context Project report written by PTE graduate David Eddy during the winter of 2004.

Specific requirements for each of these steps can be found below:


Step 1: Complete Pre-Student Teaching Clinical Experiences

According to the schedule outlined in the course syllabus, pre-student teachers will conduct the following conferences, and provide the following educational services. Students will be required to complete experiences 1 - 20; supplemental clinical experiences A - F are optional, and may be used to replace one of the numbered clinical experiences (in the same area) if the situation dictates.

Students will complete these pre-student teaching clinical experiences according to the following objectives and guidelines. Observations and written reports must be completed prior to the class during which they will be discussed, and hard copy documentation must also be provided at this same time.



Conferences with Cooperating Teacher

Pre-STT Clinical Experience # 1 - General Expectations

Student teachers, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors will all have certain expectations for the student teaching practicum. The best time to become aware of these expectations is prior to beginning student teaching. Arrange a conference with you cooperating teacher, and with your university supervisor if you feel it necessary, to discuss expectations. Prepare thoroughly for such conferences, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns. This is a good time to find out answers to the following and similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience # 2 - School Policies

Schools are bastions of policy. That is, there will almost always be a policy of one form or another to cover just about every situation. You can rest assured that school personnel have seen just about every sort of situation possible. Conduct a conference with your cooperating teacher to determine what these policies are. Prepare thoroughly for such conferences, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns. This would be a good time to find out answers to the following and similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience # 3 - Classroom Policies

Teachers, too, are bound to have policies that extend to just their classroom. These policies can vary from teacher to teacher, but many will be the same. Such policies will include management of what students should be doing at the beginning of class and will extend all the way to class dismissal. Conduct a conference with your cooperating teacher to determine what these policies are. Prepare thoroughly for such conferences, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns. This would be a good time to find out answers to the following and similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience #4 - Diversity in Community, School, and Classroom

Student teachers need to know the students whom they will be teaching, as well as the influences that exist within the community that can and do influence student learning outcomes. Conduct an interview with your cooperating teacher in an effort to obtain information about the following and similar diversity questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience. There is no need to be exhaustive; a list of major items will suffice.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience # 5 - Parental Contact

Parental contact will be required of you on an ordinary and usual basis. This generally takes the form of regularly scheduled parent-teacher meetings. In addition to these contact, special contact may be necessary for any number of reasons -- some good and some not so good. Conduct a conference with your cooperating teacher to determine what the policies are relating to extraordinary parental contact. Prepare thoroughly for such conferences, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns. This would be a good time to find out answers to the following and similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience #6 - Instructional Planning

Student teachers sometimes find instructional planning a mystery. Student teacher need to speak with their cooperating teachers to find out answers to the following questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience #7 - Student Assessment

Student teachers should become familiar with syllabi and student assessment strategies as they relate to grade determination in particular. Interview your cooperating teacher, and obtain answers to the following and similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience #8 - Teacher as Ethical and Reflective Practitioner

Teachers improve their practice over the course of years by reflecting on their work. Student teachers should become familiar with this form of learning experience by interviewing the cooperating teacher. In addition, student teachers need to understand the nature of professional ethics as they relate to teaching. Hold an interview with your cooperating teacher to obtain answers to the following and similar questions:

Ethical practitioner questions:

Reflective reactionary questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience #9 - Material Resources

Student teachers need to know what sort of demonstration and laboratory equipment is available prior to beginning student teaching, especially for those units the teacher candidate will be expected to teach. Therefore, it would behoove the student teacher to check with the teacher about such material resources, and request tour of all pertinent storage facilities. Following this tour, student teachers should create a list of the topics that they will be expected to teach over the next ten weeks, and then conduct an inventory to determine what material resources are available for teaching these units. Do so for both

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience. There is no need to be exhaustive; a list of major items will suffice.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplement A - Time Management / Organization

Student teachers are almost always bowled over by the great demands of time associated with the practicum. Sometimes this results from the overwhelming amount of work required on an almost daily basis. Speak with your cooperating teacher about how to improve performance and efficiency in dealing effectively with those things that appear to consume your day. Ask for advice about avoiding the problems of over engagement in non-academic matters. Prepare thoroughly for such conferences, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns. Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.

Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplement B - "Clinical Supervision" of Cooperating Teacher

Student teachers (henceforth called the supervisor) can benefit from the experience of "supervising" the practice of the cooperating teacher using a clinical supervision model. In this case, the model calls for a supervisor pre-conference with the teacher, supervisor observation of the intended lesson, analysis and interpretation of the lesson by the supervisor, and a supervisor post-conference with the teacher. The general approach is for the supervisor to ask the teacher about the lesson - what the objectives are, what approaches will used, how student achievement of the goal will be assessed and so on as part of the pre-conference. The supervisor then observes the lesson in a non-evaluative way, making note of points actions or difficulties that the teacher might want to reflection on. That is, the supervisor focuses on questions for the teacher but not on making judgments; judgment is left to the teacher. In the post-conference the supervisor brings things to the attention of the teacher asking how things went, how things might be improved, and so on. The teacher is respected as a professional throughout the entire process.



Conferences with Conferral & Referral Personnel

Pre-STT Clinical Experience Experience #10 - Principal

Schools are administrative units with hierarchical structures. As a teacher candidate, you should be familiar with this structure and how it works. With the assistance of your cooperating teacher, arrange a meeting with you building principal. Obtain answers to the following and similar sorts of questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of your findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience # 11 - Assistant Principal or Dean of Students

The assistant principal or dean of students in a high school will frequently be the school disciplinarian. That is, at least one person will be in charge ultimately of dealing with unruly students, with the management of detention, contacting parents for disciplinary matters, and so on. In this activity you will contact and hold a short discussion with the person (assistant principle, dean of students, or whoever) who works as the school disciplinarian. Check with your cooperating teacher to find out who this person is, and to arrange for a short meeting with this person to discuss school policy and procedures with regard to disciplinary matters. Prepare thoroughly for the conference, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns. This would be a good time to find out answers to the following and similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience # 12 - School Nurse

School nurses are in place for a variety of reasons, not the least of which involves dealing with emergency matters of health. Still, it will be a rare event that school nurses will have to deal with emergency events. So often school nurses deal with other important matters such as the general health of students, and the dispensing of drugs and medications to students. Check with your cooperating teacher to find out who this person is, and to arrange for a short meeting with this person to discuss school policy and procedures with regard to health matters. Prepare thoroughly for the conference, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns. This would be a good time to find out answers to the following and similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience # 13 - Guidance Counselor

Nearly every high school has one or more guidance counselors. Guidance counselors generally have a variety of tasks, but they often include providing assistance to students making decisions about careers, about arrangement of class schedules, management of study habits, and dealing effectively with learning difficulties. Sometimes guidance counselors even serve as school disciplinarians. Check with your cooperating teacher to find out who this person is, and to arrange for a short meeting with this person to discuss school policy and procedures with regard to guidance matters. Prepare thoroughly for the conference, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns. This would be a good time to find out answers to the following and similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience # 14 - First Year Teacher

First year teachers can provide you with critical information about the student teaching experience, and how best to prepare for the first year of teaching. Check with your cooperating teacher to find out who this person is, and to arrange for a short meeting with this person to discuss the student teaching and first year teaching experience. Prepare thoroughly for the conference, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns. This would be a good time to find out answers to the following and similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Experience #15 - School Librarian and/or Instructional Technology Coordinator

School librarians can help both you and your students with reading and research needs. With the assistance of your cooperating teacher, arrange for an interview with the school librarian. Obtain answers to the following and similar sorts of questions:

Almost every high school will have a person in charge of instructional technology, and this is often the School Librarian. Instructional technology can include anything from video projectors and videotape units to school-wide computer networks that support Internet usage and grade and attendance record keeping. This person probably is today a computer specialist with some responsibilities in the area of working with computers and audio/visual resources. It's good to get to know this person to find out out the various resources that you will be able to access during your student teaching practicum. With the assistance of your cooperating teacher, set up a meeting with the school's technology coordinator and obtain answers to the following and similar sorts of questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of your findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience. IF your school librarian and instructional technology coordinator are different persons, you may submit two different Pre-STT clinical experience reports. Please label such reports #15a and #15b respectively.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience #16 - Attendance Personnel

Attendance personnel in schools have a very important job. School-wide budgets are frequently based upon the number of students in school over the course of the year. It is therefore critical that such personnel maintain accurate and complete records. With the assistance of your cooperating teacher, arrange for an interview with the school attendance officer. Obtain answers to the following and similar sorts of questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of your findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Experience #17 - Special Education Coordinator

While it is true that special education students will rarely if ever be found in the physics classroom, the same cannot be said about freshman level "Physical Science" or "Introductory Lab Science" or "Physics First" classrooms. This is not to imply that these people are unintelligent or have a mental disability. Special education needs can also result from students with disabilities or handicaps. With the earmarking of federal funds, each school system and each teacher must deal effectively with special student needs when the arise. Schools will have people whose mandate is to provide for special education needs. Check with your cooperating teacher to find out who this person is, and to arrange for a short meeting with this person to discuss school policy and procedures with regard to special education matters. Prepare thoroughly for the conference, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns. This would be a good time to find out answers to the following and similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Experience #18 - School Security Officer

School security officers, sometimes part-time uniformed police officers, can tell you a lot about a community, its schools, and its kids. Arrange to hold a brief discussion with a school secruity officer if it has one, and address the following and similar questions to him or her:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplement C - Science Department Chairperson (only if not cooperating teacher)

Schools are administrative units with a variety of support structures. Under the school administration there is a layer of bureaucracy known as department heads or chairpersons. These are usually senior faculty with years of experience within the school system. They have a variety of responsibilities and duties. As a novice teacher, you undoubtedly will report directly to your science department chairperson. It is important to know the role and responsibilities of these individuals in your school district. With the assistance of your cooperating teacher, arrange a meeting with you science department head. Obtain answers to the following and similar sorts of questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of your findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplement D - Teacher's Union President

There are a number of key players in the school and district offices besides those you have already spoken to about various matters. As an alternative pre-STT clinical experience (or even as an addition), you might want to meet with the president of the local teachers' union (representational and defensive matters). Check with your cooperating teacher to find out who this person is, and to arrange for a short meeting. Prepare thoroughly for the conference, and be certain that you come with a list of questions and/or concerns such as the following:

Prepare a short, written summary of your findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.

 


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplement E - Custodial Staff

School custodians (sometimes called janitors, but this title is rarely used today) are often in a very unique situation somewhere between teachers and students. They frequently have their hands on the pulse of a school in a way that administration, teachers, and other staff members do not. They see things from yet another perspective. It's good to acknowledge their contributions to the upkeep of the school. They are also a great way to find out about students. Determine who it is that cares for your section of the building and hold an informal meeting when the opportunity presents itself. Ask the following or similar questions:

Prepare a short, written summary of you findings. Use a narrative format to document your experience.

Working with Students

Pre-STT Clinical Experience # 19 - Individual or Small Group Tutoring Session

As a transitional activity leading up to student teaching, arrange with your cooperating teacher the opportunity to conduct an individual or small group tutoring session. Prepare a short paragraph describing your experience.Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience # 20 - Student with Special Needs

As a transitional activity leading up to student teaching, arrange with your cooperating teacher the opportunity to work directly with a student with special needs related to a mental or physical disability or handicap. Prepare a short paragraph describing your experience, including description of the student's special needs, and how these needs might impact his or her education. Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplemental A - Student with Diverse Ethnic, Racial, and/or Socioeconomic Backgrounds

As a transitional activity leading up to student teaching, arrange with your cooperating teacher the opportunity to work directly with a student with diverse ethnic, racial, and/or socioeconomic backgrounds. Prepare a short paragraph describing your experience, including a characterization of the student's background, and how this background might impact his or her education. Use a narrative format to document your experience.
Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplemental B - Assisting Students with Laboratory Experiences

As a transitional activity leading up to student teaching, arrange with your cooperating teacher the opportunity to assist students with a laboratory experience. Prepare a short paragraph describing your experience.Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplemental C - Managing a Class Discussion

As a transitional activity leading up to student teaching, arrange with your cooperating teacher the opportunity to manage a class discussion. Prepare a short paragraph describing your experience.Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplemental D - Test or Quiz Administration and Grading

As a transitional activity leading up to student teaching, arrange with your cooperating teacher the opportunity to proctor and score either a test or a quiz. Prepare a short paragraph describing your experience.Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplemental E - Conduct a Pre-Lab Orientation or Post-Lab Debriefing

As a transitional activity leading up to student teaching, arrange with your cooperating teacher the opportunity to conduct a pre-lab orientation or post-lab debriefing. Prepare a short paragraph describing your experience.Use a narrative format to document your experience.


Pre-STT Clinical Experience Supplement F - Set Up or Take Down a Lab Activity

As a transitional activity leading up to student teaching, arrange with your cooperating teacher the opportunity to set up or take down a laboratory activity. Prepare a short paragraph describing your experience.Use a narrative format to document your experience.




Step 2: Determine the Comparative Characteristics, Needs, and Values of the Community

In order to plan science lessons that are appropriate for, and relevant to, students from a community one needs to use data about the student's community, its culture and its resources. Follow these steps to help you determine the needs and values of the community:

  1. During your many Pre-STT interviews conducted as part of Step 1, reflect on information you might have obtained or observations you might have made that relate to the value and needs of the community in which you will student teach.
  2. While in the community of your future student teaching site for Pre-STT clinical experiences, go to a department store, fast-food restaurant, public library, or community center not far from your school and just sit and watch for an hour as people that come through the doors. Make notes about what you observe in terms of apparent socioeconomic status, behaviors, relationships -- anything that tells you something about the people who make up your community. Record your observations and reflections. Answer such questions as, "What is the nature of this community? What impact has education had on this community's members? Is education highly valued in this community?"
  3. While at your Pre-STT school site, attempt to arrange an interview with one or more bus drivers. Arrange to take out a couple of them for a cup of coffee if you can. Bus drivers know the areas from which you students will come. Ask them questions about the home life of these children, and what factors influence student behavior and performance at school.
  4. Visit the ISBE web site to acquire the official School Report Card of the school which you will be student teaching. Using a yellow high lighter, identify information about your school that reflects the general nature of the academic and social needs of the community and that have implications related to community values.
  5. Compare your schools with schools of similar rank. Visit the Illinois Interactive Report Card site to gather specific information and report on the following sorts of comparisons:
  6. Determine if your school is on either the State Academic Early Warning List or State Academic Watch List by visiting either of the above web sites.
  7. Write a descriptive essay about what you have observed and discovered in your field work, and what conclusions you can draw about the needs and values of the community in which you will student teach. Explain how what you observed in terms of needs and values will affect both your teaching and student learning. If your school is on either the Early Warning or Academic Watch lists, state in an additional paragraph what implications this has for school students.

 

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