ESU places a high value on quality field experiences. We are committed to providing a realistic view of the rewards and challenges of the profession. This happens best when students have a wide range of field experiences, starting with entry into the program. All education candidates’ initial field experiences (first or second semester) occur in PSED 150: Introduction to Teaching All Students. Two assignments require specific field experiences encompassing ten (10) hours in the field. Candidates first interview two outstanding classroom teachers regarding their major teaching strategies, techniques used to enhance student understanding and ensure student success, and relationships with students and parents. Candidates then observe and analyze a lesson, collect classroom data, and record the actions of one pupil during a class period. Students complete five hours of direct contact in general education field placements as well as five hours of direct contact in special education placements as described in a field work packet. Candidates summarize their analysis and make judgments about the effectiveness of the lesson based on concepts learned during PSED 150.
The second clinical experience occurs in PSED 250: The Psychology of Learners in Diverse Communities, and requires ten (10) hours of experience in a professionally supervised setting, (third or fourth semester). Candidates are placed in a public school to tutor a student who is experiencing difficulty in an academic program. Candidates are required to keep a log of their ten tutoring sessions that last from 45 to 60 minutes with the student and provide summary reflections on the nature of learning and instruction related to concepts learned in both PSED 150 and 250.
During their third year, PETE candidates participate in four field experiences. In PETE 343: Analysis of Teaching Physical Education candidates spend ten (10) hours in the schools completing systematic observations of student and teacher behaviors during physical education classes. The observations include the collection, analysis, graphing, and reporting of data; a comparison of the results to research on effective teaching; and a recommendation of behaviors to maintain and change. In PETE 307: Movement Experiences for Pre-school/Primary Grade Child candidates work with a partner to design and teach three 45-minute lessons to first, second and third grade students who are bused to the university. In PETE 341: Movement Experiences for the Intermediate Grade Child, candidates work with a partner to design and teach three 45-minute lessons to fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students who are bused to the university. In PETE 345: Adapted Physical Education candidates work for a total of 24 hours with a wide variety of special needs in physical activity and swimming settings.
During the final year, PETE candidates participate in a Professional Development School Model (PDS), as well as a clinical practice experience. In PETE 400: Teaching Strategies and Assessment and PETE 442: Movement Experiences for Secondary Grades, candidates participate in a 10 week PDS program in which they spend two full days each week with an assigned Health and Physical mentor teacher (8 hours per day). The PDS model provides opportunities for our candidates to merge theory and practice with direct application within a classroom setting and school culture. Each PDS site has a council where school site liaisons and university personnel collaborate and discuss best practices and recommend changes in program field experiences. In compliance with the new Pennsylvania Department of Education 190 hours early field experience requirements, candidates participate in 160 hours of engaged and collaborative learning experiences within the PDS program.
During PETE 440: Physical Education Student Teaching and HLTH 431: Health Student Teaching, PETE candidates teach physical education and health for seven and one-half weeks (5 days per week - 8 hours per day) in an approved elementary setting and seven and one-half weeks (5 days per week - 8 hours per day) in an approved secondary setting under the guidance of a cooperating teacher, with a minimum of six visits from a university supervisor (Total = 450+ hours). Candidates must demonstrate proficiency in all areas of the PETE and School Health Education Competencies: Content, Learner and the Learning Process, Teaching and the Learning Environment and Professionalism. In addition, The Office of Field Experiences and Partnerships conducts six full day seminar events during the clinical experience semester for candidates to share their experiences and prepare a professional portfolio for employment interviews.
In summary, the PETE program requires field experiences for teacher candidates during each year of the program, gradually transitioning TCs from interviews and observations to full planning and implementation of lessons. TCs work with P-12 learners beginning with their first year in the program, and regularly over the course of the four-year program. In total, they receive in excess of 680 contact hours with P-12 learners prior to program completion.