ERIC Number: ED392743
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Feb-27
Reference Count: N/A
Students' Perceptions of Appropriate Placements for an Early Field Experience.
Like student teaching, early field experiences are a universal feature of teacher preparation. These experiences are intended to serve several purposes. They provide teacher candidates with opportunities for career exploration, bridge the gap between theory and classroom practice, meet state licensing requirements, and, like student teaching, socialize prospective teachers for their roles in the classroom. This paper reports on a study of the Pre-Professional Block program for teacher education students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, covering the procedures for making placement assignments, transportation arrangements, scheduling, and other issues. The study included 294 students enrolled in the program, of whom 75 percent were female, ranging in age from 18 to 45, with an average age of 22. Participants completed surveys prior to their first day and prior to their eighth day of field experience. Findings indicated a strong agreement among participants that they had been assigned to an appropriate grade level for their preparation as a teacher. By gender, males perceived their placements as less appropriate than did females. By age group, younger participants were more positive about their placements than were older participants. In general, special education majors viewed their placement level as less appropriate than did regular education majors. With rare exceptions, the participants found the type of assigned classroom (i.e., regular or special education classroom) to be less appropriate in comparison to the level of their placement (elementary, middle school, high school); males perceived their assigned classroom to be slightly less appropriate than did females. By age subgroup, the perceived appropriateness of classroom type increased for the younger groups but decreased for the oldest participants, especially in the differences between the ratings before and after the trips. The most striking differences appeared in comparing ratings by major. Special education majors perceived their assigned classroom as considerably less appropriate than did their regular education counterparts. Excerpts from some of the comments made by participants are included. (Contains 27 references.) (ND)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Preservice Teachers; University of Wisconsin Whitewater
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators (St. Louis, MO, February 1996).