Appendix D: Excerpts from Cooperating Teacher Handbook
Phases of the Clinical Practice Internship
Clinical practice internship assignments are highly individualistic. Involvement in classroom activities will depend upon the individual's readiness to perform the tasks assigned. The cooperating teacher and university program area supervisor will assess the candidate’s abilities and determine his/her responsibilities and tasks. In no case will the intern immediately assume total responsibility for the class.
Due to the individualistic nature of the assignment, no set time period can be attached to the various phases of the clinical practice internship. Some interns may be involved with observations for several weeks while others will engage in limited teaching by the third week. In general, though, all interns will move through the following four phases during their experience:
- Orientation and Observation
The intern becomes oriented to the classroom and observes the cooperating teacher. The intern should discuss his/her perceptions and observations with the cooperating teacher.
- Limited Teaching Experience
- The intern becomes involved in planning, preparing resources, correcting papers, helping small groups, supervising study periods, tutoring, constructing quizzes, preparing instructional materials, and teaching a complete lesson that has been cooperatively developed. In this phase, the cooperating teacher provides continuity for the classroom and immediate feedback to the intern.
- Extensive Teaching Experience
- The intern assumes responsibility for the classroom, including planning and teaching a unit of lessons, and evaluating the students in the classroom.
- Culminating Experience
The intern completes the teaching unit and finishes the experience by observing other classes. You must follow district procedures should you wish to observe classes at another school site within the district.
Roles of Individuals Involved in the Clinical Practice Internship
Oklahoma State University envisions the clinical practice internship experience as a "partnership" between the intern, the cooperating teacher, the building principal, and the university program area supervisor. To ensure a successful experience, this quartet must develop an atmosphere of communication and trust. This section identifies each person’s role and offers suggestions on establishing and maintaining the relationship.
The Cooperating Teacher
A successful cooperating teacher creates an enriching experience both for the students in the classroom and the teacher education candidate. The cooperating teacher retains responsibility for the classroom while guiding the candidate through such activities as learning students’ names, tutoring individual students, working with small groups, developing a teaching unit, teaching one class or subject, and finally teaching multiple classes or subjects.
The cooperating teacher plays a vital role in the education of the student teacher and is expected to:
- Look upon the intern as part of the teaching team with gradually increasing responsibility for planning and implementing of lessons.
- Conference regularly with the intern, making sure that he/she is free to ask questions and make suggestions, offering feedback on lessons taught, preferably in writing.
- Encourage the intern to reflect each day on class activities by asking: “How can I increase student learning?”
- Schedule a conference with the intern during the first days of the internship to clarify the role he/she is expected to assume in the specific context.
- Observe the intern, complete an assessment of the lesson, and discuss the evaluation on a regular basis.
- Assist the intern in developing a professional attitude in all of her/his contacts with the school community.
- Ensure that the intern understands school policies and procedures, including those related to field trips, if appropriate.
- Acknowledge the intern as a professional with a need to know regarding special needs students, informing the intern of all special needs students with whom she/he will be working and making IEPs available.
- Clarify the intern’s responsibilities with respect to making lesson plans, securing and organizing appropriate materials, and other necessary activities.
- Work with the intern to decide together well in advance of the time when a lesson or unit is expected to be taught.
- Invite the intern to attend staff development programs planned for teachers and administrators.
- Insure the intern is introduced to teaching at a rate appropriate for that intern. One helpful model is a three-phase process: a) the cooperating teacher directly models lesson teaching, b) the intern teaches comparable lessons using the cooperating teacher’s lesson plans, and c) the intern plans and teaches lessons after making the plans available to the cooperating teacher prior to the teaching episode.
- Keep a calendar of the clinical practice internship experience, showing the intern’s days present and days absent.
- Plan to be available after each observation by the OSU supervisor for conferencing with the intern and the OSU supervisor. Conferences should be conducted among the intern and cooperating teacher to complete the mid-term evaluation and to complete the final evaluation.
- Take the necessary steps to remove the intern if work is not satisfactory. Contact the university program area supervisor and Price Brown, Coordinator of Clinical Practice, 405-744-1088 or email@example.com, immediately should problems arise.
- Submit online the mid-term and final evaluation of the intern.
The Clinical Practice Intern
The intern is part of the teaching team, and carries a great deal of the responsibility for the ultimate success of the clinical experience. Not just a guest in the school, the intern is a pre-professional who will eventually plan and carry out lessons designed to benefit the students. A successful intern will:
- Support school policies and personnel, following all school rules and regulations including observing the school calendar.
- Understand that the internship is a full-time job so that daily attendance and preparation reflects the seriousness of this responsibility.
- Investigate what “professionalism” means in the context of the school in which she/he is placed. She/he will dress, speak, write, and act professionally each day during clinical practice.
- Be familiar with and act according to laws dealing with confidentiality, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment.
- Take part in out-of-class school activities such as PTA meetings, faculty and staff development meetings, extra-curricular, and routine teaching and non-teaching tasks.
- Test new ideas within the context already established by the cooperating teacher, making them available to the cooperating teacher several days in advance of the lesson.
- Develop written lesson plans in advance, sharing them with the cooperating teacher and discussing them before the lesson begins.
- Request conferences with the cooperating teacher and/or the OSU program area supervisor as needed.
- Inform OSU program area supervisor in advance when the cooperating teacher will be absent on the day of a scheduled observation.
- Inform the cooperating teacher and the OSU program area supervisor of any absences, in advance if possible.
- Be continually involved in self-evaluation through such activities as journaling, examining the goals and outcomes of each instructional activity, reviewing videotapes of classroom activities (after securing necessary parental permission forms), soliciting feedback, and seeking immediate answers to problems.
The University Program Area Supervisor
The university supervisor is a liaison between the OSU Office of Clinical Practice and the public school, cooperating teacher, and intern. The supervisor is expected to:
- Hold regularly scheduled meetings with the intern.
- Visit the clinical site a minimum of three times during the internship period.
- Engage in a three-way conference two or more times with the intern and cooperating teacher. Conferences should be conducted among the intern, cooperating teacher, and university program area supervisor to complete the mid-term evaluation and to complete the final evaluation.
- Provide written documentation of observations, providing a copy for the intern and maintaining a copy for the intern’s file.
- Conference with the intern to discuss planning, learning strategies, classroom management, etc.
- Participate in discussions with the intern and cooperating teacher to decide in which other classrooms and/or building the intern will observe, in accordance with district policy.
- Provide input on the final grade for the clinical practice internship, giving substantial weight to the written evaluation of the cooperating teacher.
The building principal plays an important role in facilitating and coordinating interns. A principal who works effectively with interns will:
- Facilitate a three-way conference among the intern, the OSU program area supervisor, and the cooperating teacher at least two times during the semester.
- Provide a positive environment for interns within the building.
- Orient faculty (including both cooperating teachers and other faculty members) to their roles in the clinical practice internship experience.
- Orient each intern concerning the school’s philosophy, policies, and regulations.
- Assist each intern in becoming acquainted with the faculty and staff.
- Stay informed of the progress of each intern.
- Observe the candidate while teaching, providing feedback.
- Read and become familiar with the Cooperating Teacher’s Handbook, including the OSU policy on using interns as substitutes.
Problem Solving Process
Most problems which arise between the cooperating teacher and the intern are resolved through daily conferences. The following process should be followed if the problem cannot be resolved:
- Either the intern or the cooperating teacher should:
- Have a conference with the university program area supervisor to discuss the issues.
- Develop a plan to resolve problems.
- Communicate the plan to the principal and to all involved parties.
- Work the plan and document progress.
- If the problem continues, the principal and the university supervisor confer with input from the cooperating teacher and/or the intern to determine the next steps. After this meeting, one of the following alternatives will be initiated:
- The intern is removed from the assignment and reassigned within the school or the school system.
- The intern is removed from clinical practice in that school system.
- The intern is removed from the clinical practice internship.
- If the intern is not satisfied with the decision, he/she may appeal to a committee composed of the Associate Director of Professional Education, Dr. Chris Ormsbee; the Coordinator of Clinical Practice, Price Brown; and the Program Area Coordinator.
Evaluation of the Intern
The evaluation of the clinical practice internship will be ongoing. The cooperating teacher should evaluate the clinical practice performance at least weekly. Secondary programs use an assessment that is specific to the content area in addition to the OSU clinical practice evaluation form. The cooperating teacher must submit an online assessment with a formative evaluation of the intern at mid-term and the end of the clinical practice. The cooperating teacher’s evaluation provides valuable input that will be used in determining the intern’s final grade. Promptness in returning the evaluation is important, as evaluations received after the cut-off date for submission of grades are of little value to university supervisors. Since interns are aware of the evaluation form and the evaluation process, the cooperating teacher should involve the intern when completing the mid-term and final evaluation forms.
Candidates will frequently request a letter of recommendation from their cooperating teacher which can be utilized in the job search process. If the cooperating teacher feels that she/he can provide such letters, we encourage him/her to do so. However, the cooperating teacher is not required to provide such letters.
Credential or Placement Files
Some school districts require a credential or placement file as part of the application process. This file usually contains an up-to-date resume, copies of your transcripts, letters of reference, copies of certification tests taken and passed, and other related information. You can either maintain the file yourself and send it upon request or utilize an online clearinghouse that will post the written documents to its web site. Upon your request, school district personnel would have access to your online file. Information about online credential files can be found at www.referencenow.com . Please direct any additional questions to Michelle Crew, College of Education Career Consultant at 405-744-4876 or the Career Consultant in your College.
Clinical Practice Internship Handbook | Office of Professional Education