Field Experiences are an integral part of the Education program at the Lebanese American University (LAU). The Department of Education at LAU collaborates with schools throughout Lebanon to provide future teachers with practical experiences in actual classrooms. This helps to develop their professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the field.
Students working towards a B.A. in Education at LAU are required to start their experiences in schools in their junior year. Subsequently, students who successfully complete the observation experience will proceed to the methods and student teaching experiences in their senior year.
The Practica Experiences’ structure is designed to prepare future teachers in stages for the student teaching experience. Course instructors design assignments to reflect the level of experience designated for the courses:
Practicum I: Observation course
Emphasis is on teacher assisting and working with students one- on-one and in small groups. Future teachers are allowed to teach mini lessons or a few individually.
PCKs: a.k.a. Methods/ Subject Matter courses
Emphasis is on developing.a unit and.teaching a few lessons to large or small groups in each of the respective content areas and developing baseline data for planning and teaching lessons
Practicum II: a.k.a. Student teaching
Emphasis is on assuming all teaching responsibilities, duties, and expectations from their future profession within the guidelines of the hosting school.
Field Experience Office
The field experience office operates as the liaison between the university and the schools and organizes the process regarding all field experiences (Observation, Methods, and Practice Teaching). Therefore, under no circumstances, are the students allowed to take on the task of searching and finding their own placement or inquiring directly with any school principal or teachers regarding a placement.
The objective of this office is to establish positive and continuing communication with schools with respect to practicum experiences. The field experience office ensures that the students are making positive contributions wherever they are placed and that their experience in these particular schools becomes successful and effective.
Field Experience Process
- Orient student teachers to the placement process prior to the actual experience
- Collect students’ applications for the placement
- Arrange their practicum through the schools’ local principals or their designee’s according to students’ mentioned school preferences on the application form
- Recruit and assign cooperating teachers with the collaboration of the school coordinators
- These teachers have agreed to be the student’s main classroom experience provider in a school setting
- Provide clear and accurate placement reports to faculty, schools, and students
- Elicit feedback from University Course Instructors on further recruiting cooperating teachers
- Elicit and distribute assessment information on students
The cooperating teachers are the main source of inspiration for the student teachers and have a tremendous influence on their professional demeanor. Their role is complex because the quality of student teachers’ experience relies on their professional skills and social traits. They also play an important role in supporting the education program..
Roles and Responsibilities
The cooperating teacher will:
- Integrate the student teacher in classroom life
- Familiarize the student teacher with the surroundings, the policies and the procedures of the classroom and the school
- Provide the student teachers with opportunities for growth and chances to relate theory to practice
- Engage student teachers in various experiences and expect them to take responsibilities, where appropriate
- Take complete charge of the classroom for as much as is allowed by school policy and teacher’s comfort
- Contact immediately the university Course Instructor and/or Field Experience Coordinator if concerns arise
- Share his/her own evaluation of the student teacher’s performance and openly discuss strengths and weaknesses
University Course Instructors
The university course instructor, in collaboration with the cooperating teacher, acts as an evaluator of the professional and personal growth of the student teacher.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Maintain direct communication with all persons involved in the field experience
- Advise, orient and guide student teachers concerning individual responsibilities and obligations
- Provide specific, constructive and objective feedback to the student teacher in conjunction with the cooperating teacher immediately following the supervisory visit
- Submit a course grade for the experience with input from the cooperating teacher
- Serve as resource to student teachers and document any violation of policies as well as unsatisfactory progress in classroom instruction and management
The main objective of the student teaching experience is the progressive assumption of a teacher’s responsibilities and experiencing of as much of a realistic classroom environment as possible.
Roles and Responsibilities
The student teacher will:
- Meet with the cooperating teacher and discuss responsibilities and expectations
- Follow the school calendar and daily routine tasks of the cooperating teacher
- Maintain strict confidentiality and discretion concerning the students and the school
- Take initiative, be communicative, and show commitment
- Be punctual, helpful, and dependable
- Dress appropriately
- Give the cooperating teacher the courtesy of time to submit the lesson plans and graded papers in a timely manner
- Accept constructive criticism in a professional manner