Selection of and professional development for cooperating teachers
Effective field and partnership efforts have been a priority over the past three years. Clear, consistent criteria for assigning, documenting, and evaluating placements and cooperating teachers have been established. Ricplacements.org is the unit's website to document practicum and clinical experiences other than student teaching. The website is linked to the unit's data collection platform called SurveyGizmo, a software that allows the creation of online surveys, questionnaires and forms. This software allows the unit the ability to collect, organize, and analyze data.
The Office of Partnerships and Placement (OPP) is responsible for securing and documenting all placements where FSEHD students travel to a school or field site to observe, teach mini units, and/or work clinical instructors or cooperating teachers in a setting outside the college. The clinical data from Ricplacements.org is managed by OPP.
Partnership districts, cooperating teachers, and clinical instructors are aware of the guidelines to be selected and to serve as cooperating teachers:
Cooperating Teacher Selection Criteria
At a minimum, cooperating teachers and clinical instructors will
- Possess a continuing contract
- Possess a professional teaching certificate for the grade level or special subject in which the student teacher is assigned
- Have taught a minimum of three full years as a certified teacher
- Have taught at least one full year at current assignment
- Meet the criteria as an effective teacher
- Have the capacity to mentor an adult, with skills in observation, providing feedback, holding professional conversations, and working collaboratively
Cooperating Teacher Selection Process
Rhode Island College and the ________ School Department agree that
- A process, based on professional standards applied by professionals, will be implemented for the selection of individuals who serve as cooperating teachers and clinical instructors. __________ School Department will provide Rhode Island College with a copy of the procedure used for identifying and selecting clinical instructors and cooperating teachers.
- Each cooperating teacher, selected to work with a teacher candidate, agrees to enroll in and complete professional development to learn about the student teaching assessments, the Teacher Candidate Work Sample (TCWS) and the Observation and Progress Report (OPR). These workshops are offered four times a year, twice in the fall and twice in the early spring semester.
- Cooperating teachers selected to work with Rhode Island College student teachers during the term of this agreement will accept no more than one full semester or two half-semester student teachers per academic year.
- Clinical instructors and cooperating teachers are identified as adjunct faculty in the Office of School Partnerships and Field Placements, and are so listed in the Rhode Island College Catalog. As adjunct faculty, cooperating teachers and clinical instructors must make a commitment to develop their teaching in line with the Feinstein School's Conceptual Framework and the Rhode Island Beginning Teacher Standards.
Professional Development for Cooperating Teachers (Two Year Progress Report)
The unit planned a series of Assessment Workshops 2009-2010 to teach cooperating teachers the Observation and Progress Report (OPR) used during the student teaching clinical experience. The Workshop, “Assessing Teaching Behaviors: Introduction to An Assessment Instrument For Teacher Candidates and Reflection of Teaching Behaviors,” introduced the participants to the assessment instrument, which analyzes teaching behaviors and documents the growth of these behaviors. The cooperating teachers who attended this professional development, and who mentor teacher education candidates, learned and analyzed the assessment. They learned how to implement the instrument and reliably score each section. Examination of the scoring criteria and the six-point rubric was addressed. Teachers were exposed to the proper terminology of scoring (analytic holistic scoring, criterion versus norm referenced scoring, performance level rubric, scoring criteria, indicators, normative versus developmental). They discussed teaching behaviors, using the defined assessment rubric, in large and then small groups. They practiced using the rubrics by watching effective and ineffective teaching behaviors of videotaped instruction. Finally, the participants reflected on how exposure to this assessment would assist them with reflective teaching practices in their own classrooms and their own teaching. Each participant left with the knowledge of the assessment, application to their work with teacher candidates, as well as information to improve their own instruction.
Cooperating teachers from twenty-two of the unit's thirty partnership districts or 75.86% attended one of the four trainings last year; this attendance supports the unit and school partners' collaborative work to support teacher candidate learning. Additional professional development for the unit and school-based faculty included a series of four trainings about conceptual and practical tools to help PK-12 teachers create and cultivate a vision of cultural competency to guide them in their work with diverse learners and families. The comprehensive one-day trainings allowed cooperating teachers, clinical instructors, and unit faculty the opportunity to enrich their strategies for cross cultural communication, deepen their skills in working effectively with diverse learners and better mentor teacher candidates in developing cultural competencies. The unit also conducted a series of three NCTM E-Workshops focusing on meeting the needs of all learners using differentiated instruction in mathematics. The unit piloted a three-credit online course for cooperating teachers initial programs to learn the assessments and skill sets to serve as a cooperating teacher. The six modules for the course were: 1.Introduction to Blackboard and Online Learning; 2. Introduction to supervision of teacher candidates; 3. Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards (RIPTS); 4. Cultural Competency; 5. Assessments in Student Teaching Module and 6. Mentoring/Coaching Your Teacher Candidate.
New Professional Development Schedule for Cooperating Teachers
Systematic professional development for the cooperating teachers has now been established. Two workshops in the early fall (September) and two sessions in the early spring semester (mid January and early February) will be offered to all cooperating teachers and clinical instructors. The workshop, An Introduction to Student Teaching Assessments: The Teacher Candidate Work Sample (TCWS) and the Observation and Progress Report (OPR) were offered September 22 and September 29th, 2011. On September 22, 2011 thirty participants attended and there were twenty-three at the September 29th workshop. During the two days twenty-one of our twenty-nine partnership districts were represented, in addition to two charter schools.
Current and prospective cooperating teachers must attend one of these workshops either semester; they may attend prior to accepting a teacher candidate or a session the semester they are working with a teacher candidate. In addition, a revised and more streamlined version of the online course, Professional Development for Cooperating Teachers is being developed. Modules from the three-credit all online course last spring will be re-worked and posted on a more open web based platform as compared to Blackboard which was used last year. Some of these mini modules will be posted online by spring 2012
Other Professional Development opportunities for cooperating teachers include workshops offered at RIC, as well as sessions with college supervisors on campus. Most programs require cooperating teachers to attend an introductory meeting and at least one other meeting with college supervisors the semester they are working with a teacher candidate.
See also Preparation of School Faculty for their Roles