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Elementary Students Enjoy Having Two Teachers in the Classroom Through Mason’s PDS Model

The final segments of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series featuring the George Mason University (VA) clinical model are now available online. This week’s videos present the voices of first and fourth graders from Westlawn Elementary School and Daniels Run Elementary School discussing their experience learning from interns alongside their experienced teachers.

Like all good professional development school (PDS) models, the partnerships between the George Mason University (GMU) College of Education and Human Development and nearby PK-12 schools aim to prepare effective novice teachers while simultaneously renewing practice of their mentors and host schools. But what is it like to be a student in these settings? To find out, AACTE Vice President of Member Engagement and Support Rod Lucero spoke with students from some of the elementary-level PDSs in Mason’s network.

Fourth graders at Westlawn Elementary School said school is more fun with the interactive learning and fresh energy that interns bring to the classroom. They appreciate having a second teacher with a different teaching style and perspective.

“I think interns are good people because they share a different experience in the classroom,” said one Westlawn student. “You don’t just get the facts that you get from our normal teacher. You get extra details and extra experiences.”

The children are also proud of their role in developing teacher candidates, which they demonstrate by respecting their interns and trying to minimize distraction in order to focus on learning. The students told Lucero they understand the PDS partnership and want to help the teacher candidates as best as they can.

First graders at another PDS, Daniels Run Elementary School, said they are grateful for having another adult in the classroom. During math class, for example, the first graders said they enjoy the extra attention to help them understand how to add and subtract, with one teacher stationed in the front of the room and the other circulating to give personalized assistance.

When Lucero asked the fourth graders for their advice to teacher candidates, one Westlawn student said, “They shouldn’t be nervous about teaching. They should just go with the flow of their class.”

Visit the Innovation Exchange to catch the previous segments of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series on George Mason University.

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