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Developing Reflective Teachers: The Student Teaching Seminar Experience
Course Project-Katie Byrnes

Final Paper

Project Idea 2/21

  • I am interested in designing a seminar experience for student-teachers during the semester they student-teach. I am currently observing two student teaching seminars this semester. The student teachers are in groups of five or six with a university supervisor that meet ten times throughout the semester to discuss teaching, learning, and students. I would like to design a syllabus for a seminar that allows and encourages reflective discourse on the processes of teaching, learning and students that extends from my own observations and research. I believe incorporating video cases is a promising technology for supporting reflective discourse in a seminar experience. This project involves design, learning, and collaboration. I will be utilizing concepts we have discussed about design in the construction of the syllabus. The seminar is a learning experience for student teachers and will reflect what we know about how people learn. Because it is a seminar it should foster collaboration among all participants which I will attempt to do through assignments, activities, and dialogue.

Initial Description 3/2

1. Team: working with two CU supervisors who are currently supervising student teaching. They will serve as consultants to my ideas and design plan.

2. This problem of how to design an effective student teaching seminar experience interests me because student teaching is a capstone experience for students during their transition to becoming teachers. It is crucial to facilitate their learning as they are involved full-time in K-12 schools to serve as a bridge between their university learning and experiences and their experiences student teaching. I hope to design and thoughtful, collaborative model for the ten seminars that has a positive influence on student-teachers learning and development as teachers.

A. Goal: Design a ten seminar plan for a student teaching seminar experience.
B. Objective: Utilize theory and examples from our class in the design of this plan.
C. Means: I expect to use the articles we have read, slides from class, my field notes and audio recording from observations of seminars, as well as other internet and print sources.
D. Challenges: There are many constraints such as the Teacher Work Sample and the time devoted to that endeavor that I will need to take into account. The biggest challenge will be balancing an ideal versus a real/practical plan for the ten seminars.
E. Relationship to Course:I will be utilizing theories and examples we have talked about during this class on principles of design, learning and collaboration in the design of my seminar plan.

Project Proposal 3/16

  • 1. Content
The final step for a majority of the preservice teachers in this country to transition from students to teacher is the experience of student teaching. This experience plays a critical role in facilitating studentsí understanding of their own identity as teachers, of the teaching principles and practices they intend to embody in their classrooms, and of how their studentsí learn and the influences on their learning process. This is the time where student teachers are beginning to be socialized in the community of practice, the community of learners, the intellectual work of the profession of teaching. The complications and the challenges of being a teacher are numerous. The student teaching experience attempts to help students bridge these challenges through a seminar experience with other student teachers and a university supervisor. The seminar experience consists of discourse and activities to facilitate the development of a community of learners built on relationships of trust, shared passion for teaching, and a common repertoire of techniques for thinking and talking about learning and teaching.

At the University of Colorado at Boulder, student teachers are organized into groups of five or six based on the location of the school where they are student teaching. Each group is assigned a university supervisor who evaluates their performance as teachers, who facilitates their completion of the "Teacher Work Sample", and who organizes ten seminars throughout the course of the semester to create opportunities to talk about issues of teaching, learning, and students.

My project is to design a ten-seminar experience for student teachers that builds from the literature on the student teaching experience, reflective teaching, and a community of learners model.

  • 2. Rationale
I am currently observing two student teaching seminars this semester. The student teachers are in groups of five or six with a university supervisor that meet ten times throughout the semester to discuss teaching, learning, and students. I would like to design a syllabus for a student teaching seminar that allows and encourages reflective discourse on the processes of teaching, learning and students that extends from my own observations and research. I will learn more about the complexities of designing a student teaching seminar. I will have to deal with the tension between students' needs and interests and the state-mandated "Teacher Work Sample" that students need to complete with proficiency to pass student teaching. I will gain curriculum design experience which will be useful to me as a teacher educator in the future although I possess more time for research and reflection currently in my role as a graduate student than I will as a professor of education. I will extended the current collaborative relationship I have with the two university supervisors I am working with this semester which will be a positive reflective experience for all three of us.

  • 3. Project Plan
A. Design topics & activities for ten student teaching seminars based on the literature on learning to teach, reflective teaching, and discourse strategies as well as my experiences as a participant-observer in two seminars this semester.

B. Receive feedback from two university supervisors as to the feasibility and the usefullness of my design to assist student teachers in the development from Students to Teachers.

C. Reflect on the input from the two supervisors, revise my design plan, and present to our Design, Learning & Collaboration Class.

  • 4. References
Borko, H. & Mayfield, V. (1995). The roles of the cooperating teacher and the university supervisor in learning to teach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 11, (5), 501-518.

Danielewicz, J. (2001). Teaching selves: Identity, pedagogy, and teacher education. NY: State University of New York Press.

Dinkelman, T. (2000). An inquiry into the development of critical reflection in secondary student teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16, (2), 195-222.

Feiman-Nemser, S. (2001). Helping novices learn to teach: Lessons from an exemplary support teacher. Journal of Teacher Education, 52, (1), 17-30.

Freidus, H. (2002). Teacher education faculty as supervisors/advisors/facilitators: Playing multiple roles in the construction of field work experiences. Teacher Education Quarterly, 29, (2), 65-76.

Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991) Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

Lin, H., Gorrell, J., & Porter, K. (1999). The road to pre-service teachersí conceptual change. A paper presented at the Mid-South Educational Research Association, Point Clear, AL.

Loughran,J.J. (2002). Effective reflective practice: In search of meaning in learning about teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53, (1), 33-43.

Manouchehri, A. (2002). Developing teaching knowledge through peer discourse. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, (6), 715-737.

Mueller, A. & Skamp, K. (2003). Teacher candidates talk: Listen to the unsteady beat of learning to teach. Journal of Teacher Education,54, (5), 428-440.

Paris, C., Gespass, S. (2001). Examing the mismatch between learner-centered teaching and teacher-centered supervision. Journal of Teacher Education, 52, (5), 398-412.

Rogoff, B. (1994). Developing understanding of the idea of communities of learners. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 1, (4) 209-229.

Shulte, A. (2000). Using discussion in the student teaching seminar to facilitate transformation. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

Slick, S.K. (1997). Assessing versus assisting: The supervisor's roles in the complex dynamics of the student teaching triad. Teaching and Teacher Education, 13, (7), 713-726.

Smagorinsky, P., Cook, L.S., Moore, C., Jackson, A.Y., & Fry, P.G. (2004). Tensions in learning to teach: Accommodation and the development of a teaching identity. Journal of Teacher Education, 55, (1), 8-24.

Tillema, H.H. (2000). Belief change towards self-directed learning in student teachers: immersion in practice or reflection on action. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16, (5-6), 575-591.

Valdez, A., Young, B. & Hicks, S. (2000) Preservice teachersí stories: Content and context. Teacher Education Quarterly, Winter, 39-58.

Ward, J.R. & McCotter, (2004) S.S. Reflection as a visible outcome for preservice teachers.
Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, (3), 243-257.

Wenger, E. (2004) Personal Website. Accessed on December 12, 2004.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wiltz, N.W. (2000). Group seminars: Dialogues to enhance professional development and reflection. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

Yee Fan Tang, S. (2003) Challenge and support: the dynamics of student teachersí professional learning in the field experience. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19,(5),483-498.

Zeichner, K. (2002). Beyond traditional structures of student teaching. Teacher Education Quarterly, 29, (2), 59-64.

First Progress Report 4/4

Student teaching seminars occur ten times over the course of a semester. Seminars last approximately two hours and are focused around dialogue and conversation. Half of many seminars focus on the "Teacher Work Sample" which is a portfolio required by the University of Colorado as well as the state of Colorado to certify that students teachers are qualified to be full-time teachers in the state. University supervisors possess responsbility for assisting students through this portfolio process which involves teaching a two to three week unit, reflecting on the unit and analyzing data evidencing student learning. The other half of the seminars typically involves dialogue about issues, problems and the complexities of the students' teaching experiences.

What I hope to do through this design project, is create a ten seminar series that utilizes reflective discourse and video as a tool for student teachers' learning about teaching, students, classrooms and schools. Each seminar would be organized around a theme, although some seminars would be open-ended to involve student teachers in the design process of the seminars based on what they had questions about or found meaningful in the experiences in schools. The three open-topic seminars would focus on video clips of the student-teachers teaching. They would frame the video for their colleagues in the seminar and would receive feedback and affirmation of their teaching practice. Often student-teachers work in different schools from the peers in the seminar and video is a way for them to see each other teach. Each seminar will involve a short written reflection at the beginning and the end of each seminar as a way to check in with individual participants. The supervisor will make comments and return the reflections to students. Discourse is the primary means of learning in a student teaching seminar and to create meaningful dialogue among participants community norms and expectations will be established on the first seminar. Community-building will be another theme running through the semester

Student Teaching Seminar Themes
1. What does it mean to be a student-teacher?
  • Introduction the the Student Teaching Seminar Experience
  • Discussion on Philosophy of Teaching
  • Explanation of the Teacher Work Sample
  • Community-Building Activities

2. Context of your Student Teaching Experience
  • School & community context
  • Student Interview Results

3. Aligning Standards, Curriculum, & Assessment
  • Mini-Lecture on standards, curriculum & assessment
  • Unit Plan ideas shared and discussed

4. Open-Topic
  • Video Analysis

5. Teaching Presence
  • Article by Rachael Kessler
  • What is your identity as a teacher?
  • How do your students see you? How does your cooperating teacher see you?

6. Pedagogical Content Knowledge & Practices
  • Article by Lee Shulman
  • Sharing of Unit Plans and one lesson plan

7. Open-Topic
  • Video Analysis

8. Differentiation & Individualization
  • Cases from students of dilemmas they face with individualizing their teaching

9. Paradoxes of the Teaching Profession
  • Excerpt from Parker Palmer's The Courage to Teach
  • head vs heart; facts vs feelings; theory vs practice; teaching vs learning
  • Teaching and Learning Space that is: bounded & open; hospitable & charged; voice of individual & voice of group; "little" stories of students & "big" stories of disciplines and tradition; solitude & community; silence & speech

10. Open-topic
  • Video analysis
  • Course Evaluation & Reflection

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