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Ohio Program Takes Holistic Approach in Clinical Teacher Preparation

A new set of brief videos in AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series focuses on operationalizing clinical practice through the award-winning partnerships of Ohio University’s Patton College of Education (see this article introducing the series and this overview of the first three videos). Today’s article highlights messages from the next four segments, which feature students and leaders from the college as well as from its partner schools.

The Patton College of Education at Ohio University and its partner schools nurture future teachers with extensive and hands-on experience in classrooms. Teacher candidates play an active role from early in their college years, actively participating and working closely with veteran educators to develop their own proficiency.

John Frasca, a senior, has been participating in the Patton College’s Creating Active and Reflective Educators (CARE) program since his sophomore year of college. “You get in the field early and often,” he said. “You learn teaching by doing teaching.”

Jenna Henry has also been in the program since her sophomore year. “Throughout this teacher education program, I have had so many opportunities to practice what I have been going to school for,” she said. “Nineteen, 20 years old and I was already starting to spend time with kids.”

The CARE program is characterized by hands-on learning and working closely with PK-12 faculty to give candidates an authentic, real-world experience. Participation inside the classroom is crucial to the success of all teacher candidates, but this program also emphasizes experiences outside the classroom. “Teaching is more than the academics,” said Susan Payne, faculty coordinator in the Patton College of Education. “It involves a holistic piece of the child—the family, the personality, the social impact.”

“The [teacher candidates] do any type of duty we do,” said Susan Shafer, a teacher liaison at Trimble Elementary School. “It could include playground duty, it could be cafeteria duty.”

Although community participation is a CARE requirement, many teacher candidates choose to participate beyond the required scope, opting to attend extracurricular events or even coach a sport. “We have infused a community focus and want [the candidates] to understand the community piece of education,” Payne said.

The program also has a reputation for its strong graduates and its ongoing support for them and the partner schools. Cliff Bonner, a principal with Federal Hocking local schools, spoke highly of hiring CARE graduates: “When we hear a former CARE student is interested in a job with us, it’s like hiring someone who has been here,” he said. “This is how teaching should be done.”

The model’s success builds on a foundation of mutual trust and partnership built over many years. “There is a history,” Payne noted. “[Teachers] look forward to these candidates being here.”

Hear from these educators and others in this series of videos in the Innovation Exchange: “Nurturing Community,” “Learning by Doing,” “Creating Active and Reflective Educators,” and “Developing Support Systems.”

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Katrina Sheffield

Marketing Coordinator Intern, AACTE