Clinical Experiences


Clinical experiences are guided, hands-on, practical applications of program curriculum with P-12 teachers and students. These include, but are not limited to, early field experiences, observations, and culminating clinical practices such as student teaching or internship. (CAEP Handbook, 2021, p. 23)

Clinical experiences are linked to a specific education course or cluster of courses (referred to as blocks). There are academic, professional, dispositional, and behavior expectations that must be met for successful Block completion prior to moving to the next block. Each of the four blocks is structured so that teacher candidates have clinical experiences in diverse settings—each with a different focus. The focus of each block is as follows:

Early Field Experiences

Early field experiences are arranged with K-12 school partners in diverse populations of Southern Indiana and Louisville, KY.

Block 1 focuses on exposure to diverse school settings.

Block 2 focuses on content strategies for all students.

Block 3 focuses on infusing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and assessment strategies in the content areas.

Clinical Practice (Student Teaching)

Block 4 focuses on classroom management and assessment strategies in clinical practice.

Clinical Practice Learning Outcomes

  • Candidates will demonstrate proficiency in their respective Education Program Standards as aligned to the Indiana Department of Education’s Developmental Standards for Educators: School Setting Developmental Standards.
  • Candidates will demonstrate proficiency in their respective Education Program Standards as aligned to the Indiana Content Standards for Educators.
  • Candidates will demonstrate effective classroom management strategies.
  • Candidates will demonstrate effective use of classroom data to inform instruction.
  • Candidates will demonstrate the skills and dispositions necessary for proficient, beginning teachers.

Student Teaching Eligibility

  1. Successful completion of all course work.
  2. Meet GPA requirements.
  3. Demonstrate acceptable teaching dispositions.

Teacher Candidate Responsibilities During Clinical Practice (Student Teaching)

The clinical practice provides the opportunity to successfully transition from college student to beginning teacher. Teacher candidates will furnish transportation to and from teaching assignments. They should meet with their university supervisor for orientation and feedback sessions. They must successfully complete all required assignments. Teacher candidates must become familiar with policies and procedures, classroom, curriculum, equipment, and schedules of their assigned school. They are expected to be punctual in attendance, in carrying out assigned responsibilities and exhibit a strong work ethic. They must be responsible in terms of reporting and making up absences during student teaching, following appropriate protocol, and must complete their documentation form. They shall maintain standards of dress and appearance that conform to the policies and practices of the local school, district, and Indiana University Southeast. Confidentiality must be always maintained.

Seminars: Periodically throughout the clinical practice candidate’s, semester seminars or small group meetings will be scheduled to supplement and enrich the student teaching experience, to provide for the sharing of experiences, and to inform the candidates about placement files and certification procedures. The on-campus seminars provide another means of encouraging best practices, reasoned experimentation, and continual reflection. Each placement will include at least two seminar meetings, which may be a face-to-face meeting, or a Zoom meeting.

Process for Clinical Practice Placement

All Block 3 candidates meet with Block 4 chair/Student Teacher Coordinator to review SDPIII, to identify if candidate can proceed to student teaching with or without conditions. Candidate will also complete a form for student teaching for the program coordinator to start placement process. The program coordinator will verify that IUS has a valid partnership agreement with the corresponding school district. The teacher candidate will be notified by coordinator and/or school corporation/principal regarding placement.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to acquire all necessary background checks for their placement. This includes any costs that may be needed for background checks or identification badges.

School administrators may request to meet with candidates prior to accepting them for placement. They can also decline placements based on their interview with the candidate. Then a new placement will be made for the candidate.

When a principal has chosen the P12 clinical educator, contact information may be exchanged between candidate and P12 clinical educator. Academic clinical educators (university supervisors) are assigned after orientation.

School of Education Partnerships with K-12 Schools for Clinical Practice

The School of Education works to ensure that teacher candidates engage in a variety of clinical experiences during the course of the teacher education program. The P-12 school settings for these clinical experiences will reflect a wide diversity of location (e.g. urban, rural), culture, race, age, and socio-economic status of student populations. The School of Education collaborates with partners to design and implement clinical experiences of sufficient depth, breadth, diversity, coherence, and duration to ensure that candidates demonstrate their developing effectiveness and positive impact on diverse P-12 students’ learning and development.

The School of Education and P-12 school partners co-select, prepare, evaluate, and support high-quality clinical educators, both university- and school-based, who demonstrate a positive impact on candidates’ development and diverse P-12 student learning and development.

Role of University Supervisors

The university supervisor:

  • Works closely with the teacher candidate, clinical educator, and principal.
  • Attends the teacher candidate orientation.
  • Observes the performance of the candidate for the purpose of assisting and providing helpful feedback at least four times Orientation visits and observations should be in person. Virtual meetings and observations are acceptable if an in-person visit is not possible. At each observation, the university supervisor provides written feedback about the candidate’s performance and progress.
  • Confers with the teacher candidate, clinical educator, and principal (when necessary) regarding the progress and/or concerns.
  • Assists and counsels with clinical educator in evaluating progress of the teacher candidate.
  • Reviews feedback from the clinical educator with the teacher candidate.
  • Grades all assignments required during student teaching.
  • Submits the final grade for clinical practice.

Role of Clinical Educators (P-12 educators)

Clinical educators assume multifaceted roles in the guidance and mentoring of teacher candidates. They are uniquely positioned to guide the teacher candidate in the application of their coursework to the practical context of the classroom.

To serve as a clinical educator, teachers must have:

  • A minimum of 3 years teaching experience.
  • State licensure for each grade and subject taught.
  • Positive teaching evaluations from supervisor or school administrator.
  • Recommendation from the school district.
  • Willingness and ability to assume the responsibilities of the clinical educator outlined below.

Responsibilities of the Clinical Educator

The clinical educator assumes many responsibilities upon accepting a teacher candidate. The clinical educator agrees to involve the teacher candidate in all aspects of the teaching profession throughout the clinical practice. These responsibilities fall into the following general areas:

Preparation for the Teacher Candidate:

  • Prepare the class, colleagues, paraprofessionals, and staff for the candidate’s arrival and duties.
  • Create an atmosphere conducive to a harmonious working relationship with the candidate.
  • Acquaint the candidate with the needs of children, the curriculum, and the various modes of instruction.
  • Orient the candidate to the school and the community.
  • Provide introductory opportunities and responsibilities for teaching early in the clinical practice to help the candidate establish their role as a teacher.
  • Provide a work area for the teacher candidate.

Plan with the Teacher Candidate

Planning with the teacher candidate is an essential part of mentoring a teacher candidate. Planning together allows the candidate to assume the role of a junior partner in the teaching process. The candidate also learns to a accept a major share of the responsibility for professional and personal growth.

Teacher Candidates should develop plans in the following areas:

  • Daily, weekly, and long-range plans for the candidate’s participation in classroom duties.
  • Plans for participating in school, community, and professional functions.
  • Plans for implementing an IEP/ITP/BIP.
  • Plans for creating a caring, safe and effective classroom environment that positively impacts student learning.

Allow the Teacher Candidate to Learn by Doing

  • Create opportunities for the candidate to co-teach, solo teach, co-plan, and solo plan.
  • Encourage the candidate to try new ideas, methods, and strategies and assure her/him that you will be available to guide, model, and support.
  • Help candidates perceive situations accurately.
  • Allow the candidate to develop skills in working with paraprofessionals.
  • Assist the candidate with using formative and summative assessment data to design and deliver instruction.

Evaluate the Teacher Candidate

  • Provide ongoing, constructive feedback throughout the clinical practice.
  • Provide opportunities for the teacher candidate to reflect and self-assess.
  • Provide support for university-required assignments related to lesson plan design, delivery, and assessment.
  • Assist with scheduling observations of the teacher candidate by the university supervisor.
  • Complete formal evaluations as requested by the university supervisor.
  • Verify the teacher candidate’s attendance as required by university policy.

Phases of Clinical Practice

The School of Education and P-12 school partners share responsibilities and practices supporting the teacher candidates to be successful in their clinical practice.

Phases of Candidate Teaching

The clinical practice consists of a gradual integration of the candidate into the activities of the professional teacher. The amount of time spent in each phase will vary according to the number of weeks in the assignment and the progress of the candidate. Integration takes place in approximately the following manner:

Phase I: Orientation and Observation

The first week is a good time for the teacher candidate to learn the school and classroom routines, observe instruction and classroom management. This time is not "sit and watch" but rather as a period of systematic observation of student and teacher behaviors. Limited participation might include working with one student or a small group, helping with part of a large group lesson, and assisting with planning and evaluating. Time may be spent observing other specialized services in the same building or other classes into which students are integrated. IU Southeast teacher candidates are required to attend all professional development activities offered at the school or district level as required by the P-12 Clinical Educator.

Phase II: Participation

Participation in the classroom is much more active during this phase. Responsibilities include preparing instructional materials, planning and implementing lessons, facilitating individual and small groupwork, and supervising students during non-instructional time, such as recess, bus, lunchroom, and hallway duties. Starting during Phase II, the P-12 Clinical Educator gradually steps back and allows the teacher candidate to take the lead.

Phase III: Shared Responsibility

In phase III, the teacher candidate should demonstrate increasing responsibility for instructional programming, following IEP and BIP requirements, behavior management, formative & summative evaluations, working with other staff members, contacting parents and or guardians, and other duties required of the classroom teacher.

Co-teaching Strategies

Co-teaching is defined as two teachers working together with students, sharing the planning, organization, delivery, and assessment of instruction. Both teachers are actively involved and engaged in all aspects of instruction.

One Teach, One Observe

One teacher has primary responsibility while the other gathers specific observational information on students or the (instructing) teacher. The key to this strategy is to focus the observation on specific behaviors.

One Teach, One Assist

One teacher has primary instructional responsibility while the other circulates to assist students.

Station Teaching

The co-teaching pair will split instruction into multiple stations. Typically, each teacher will lead a station while a third station focuses on independent work.

Parallel Teaching

Each teacher instructs half the students. The two teachers are addressing the same instructional material and presenting the material using the same teaching strategy. The greatest benefit to this approach is the reduction of student to teacher ratio.

Alternative Teaching

Alternative teaching strategies provide two different approaches to teaching the same information. The learning outcome is the same for all students; however, the avenue for getting there is different.

Supplemental Teaching

This strategy allows one teacher to work with students at their expected grade level, while the other teacher works with those students who need the information and/or materials retaught, extended, or remediated.

Team Teaching

Well-planned, team-taught lessons, exhibit an invisible flow of instruction with no prescribed division of authority. Using a team-teaching strategy, both teachers are actively involved in the lesson. From a student’s perspective, there is no clearly defined leader, as both teachers share the instruction, are free to interject information, and available to assist students and answer questions.

Assessment of Clinical Practice

Assessment of teacher candidates during clinical practice happens in multiple phases. Teacher candidates are assessed by the university supervisors and P-12 educators/mentors to meet the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Standards. Other program standards specific to the discipline, such as special education, teaching English Language Learners, and content areas, are also assessed.

Phases of Assessment

In the beginning of clinical practice, the university supervisor and P-12 clinical educator:

  1. Conduct a conference with the teacher candidate for initial assessment; and
  2. Assess teacher candidate’s teaching dispositions.

In the middle of clinical practice, the university supervisor and P-12 clinical educator:

  1. Assess teacher candidate’s preliminary teaching materials;
  2. Assess teacher candidate’s instructional practice; and
  3. Conduct a conference with the teacher candidate for formative assessment.

At the end of clinical practice, the university supervisor and P-12 clinical educator:

  1. Assess teacher candidate’s instructional practice;
  2. Assess teacher candidate’s teaching dispositions;
  3. Conduct a conference with the teacher candidate for summative assessment; and
  4. Assess teacher candidate’s final teaching materials (or portfolio).

NOTE: IF deemed necessary by the university supervisor and P-12 clinical educator, clinical practice can be lengthened either through continuing at the same site or through completing additional fieldwork.

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