GSE Instructor Handbook: Field Experience Supervision

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Supervisor Role and Responsibilities

Supervisors have important responsibilities in (a) promoting the transfer of knowledge and skills learned in the university classroom to their application in school and clinic settings, (b) evaluating candidate performance, and (c) representing the university to our community partners.

The university supervisor will visit the student several times during the term. The focus of these interactions and visits will vary depending upon the needs of the particular student. Some of the visits will be concerned with observation of the student's work while others will focus on goal setting and evaluating the student's progress over a period of time. The supervisor will record written notes during the observation and will discuss them with the student. The emphasis throughout the term should be on team cooperation with the cooperating professionalr, student teacher and the supervisor, maintaining the closest possible working relationship.

The supervisor will also participate and contribute to the written evaluations generated at scheduled mid-term and final evaluation conferences. For most programs, the supervisor also is responsible for uploading the evaluations onto the online data system (Tk20). The final grade for a clinical experience is assigned by the instructor/cohort leader, with input and recommendation from the university supervisor and cooperating professional, based on the academic and professional performance standards adopted by each program.

The university supervisor acts as a liaison between school districts and/or community organizations and PSU. She or he serves as consultant for both institutions and mobilizes resources to provide worthwhile experiences for student teachers.

Specific Responsibilities

Specific responsibilities of the university supervisor are as follows:

  1. During the first week of the term, visit the field experience site, discuss expectations of the field experience with the student teacher and master teacher, and establish an observation schedule. The minimum number of observations is three per term.
  2. Regularly communicate with and observe assigned student teachers in their schools. Supervision may require more than three observation visits if the student teacher needs more support.
  3. Take notes during the observation and provide objective feedback, in written and verbal form, on teaching performance.
  4. Answer questions and provide needed assistance on the student’s work sample.
  5. Plan and conduct a 3-way conference at midterm and the end of term with the student and master teacher to discuss and evaluate teaching performance.
  6. If students have a Tk20 account, upload the midterm and final evaluation into Tk20. We have online instructions for using Tk20.
  7. In consultation with the master teacher, determine a grade which is given to the cohort leader who verifies and enters the grade. (In some programs, the grade also includes student participation in field experience seminars and/or completion of a work sample.)
  8. Under the direction of the cohort leader, participate in evaluating student work samples.

Field Experience Placements

Field experience placements are arranged through the Office of Field Placements and Licensure (503-725- 9717, Many factors are taken into consideration when placing students. Student needs are identified, as well as specific circumstances that may be occurring with a teacher, school/program administration or within the school itself. Because of important relationships with our district and program partners, any attempt by students to set up their own placements is strongly discouraged. More information about field experiences can be found on the GSE Field Placement web pages.

The Work Sample

A work sample is a set of objectives, lessons, assessments, analysis, reflection, and other related material organized as a unit of study. Its purpose is to help the candidate develop strategies for improving instruction. It also documents the candidate’s ability to plan and teach a unit of study, to assess student learning, and to analyze the implications of the results for further instruction. It provides evidence of teaching skills and knowledge. Work samples are a requirement for licensure and must be completed and evaluated before the candidate can receive a passing grade for student teaching. In order to construct a work sample, student teachers must have the opportunity to do original planning in their field experience site.

Cohort leaders and other faculty give preservice teachers specific information for meeting work sample requirements. University supervisors are expected to assist, evaluate and give feedback on the work sample. Work samples are evaluated using the Work Sample Evaluation form found in student program handbooks and on Tk20.

Students Who Have Difficulty in Their Placement

Because field placements involve children and vulnerable young adults, the GSE has the responsibility to assure that students’ actions are consistent with expectations for professionals in those settings. A student will be removed immediately from a practicum or student teaching placement if the onsite administrator and/or University supervisor requests a removal for unethical or unprofessional behavior.

Other reasons exist for a removal from a placement. Occasionally, a placement results in an unworkable mismatch between the student and classroom situation. Depending on the nature of the problem, a supervisor may recommend that an alternative placement be arranged.

Report all concerns about a student immediately to the cohort leader. If you think that a student should be removed from his/her field experience, consult first with the cohort leader and department chair. Policies regarding unethical practices and unprofessional conduct are discussed in more detail in the GSE Behavior and Performance Guidelines (PDF).