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Coteaching Model, Site-Based Methods Course Reap Benefits for Many in RISE Program

Two new videos are available this week on AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series highlighting the St. John’s University (NY) School of Education clinical preparation program known as RISE. This week’s videos discuss the benefits of having an extra teacher in the classroom and of the methods class taught by SJU professors in the partner schools.

The School of Education at St. John’s University (SJU) and its Residential Internship for St. John’s Educators (RISE) have developed a rich clinical practice model that synchronizes research and practice in an integrated course structure for aspiring teachers. The relationships and team building go well beyond the student teacher and their cooperating teacher; school administration and SJU faculty also play a substantial role in developing well-prepared novice teachers.

At Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School, administrators and teachers welcome student teachers as part of the staff and also benefit from the skills and knowledge brought by the interns. After Miss Taylor teaches a class, for example, she actually looks to her student teacher for advice on ways to improve. “My student teacher is usually all around the classroom so she gets to see the students a lot more so that helps her to understand some of the students even better as well as to help understand what I’m doing in the classroom,” she said.

“We could also use [interns’] lens and their perspective to understand how it is in the classroom from a different point of view,” said Glen O’Brien, another cooperating teacher, “and it helps us as educators to not only challenge ourselves but to better ourselves in front of these young aspiring teachers.”

RISE candidates also think having another teacher in the classroom is beneficial not only to themselves, but most importantly to the students. By having another helping hand in the classroom, both coteachers are able to make more individual connections with students who need extra attention.

Ericka Prevost, a RISE alumna and now first-grade teacher, saw the benefits of having two adults in the classroom as an intern. She especially values the advantages of having a coteacher now that she teaches by herself. “Sometimes I worry I’m not going to be able to reach the students in the same way as if maybe another teacher was in the classroom and we can work on it together,” she said. “I think there’s more one-on-one time with the students.”

The RISE model also gives interns a situated opportunity to learn in methods classes taught on site in partner schools—which has the added benefit of connecting SJU faculty more directly with the schools. SJU faculty not only teach the methods courses but also immerse themselves with the staff at their partner schools by attending staff meetings and workshops.

Judy Henry, principal at Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School, appreciates the expertise SJU professors bring to their school. “The SJU faculty is so a part of the school that they are not intrusive at all,” she said. “They’re a part of the staff. I welcome their expertise because they are always willing to share with us.”

Visit the Innovation Exchange to catch the previous segments of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series, and stay tuned for our next segment on St. John’s University in 2 weeks!

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