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Louisiana Tech Leads Transformation of Student Teaching With TEAM Model

This article is the first in a series of three showcasing the transformation of preservice field experiences at Louisiana Tech University. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

With a vision of quality, rich field experiences connected to theory and practice for many years, Louisiana Tech University was well positioned to chart a path in the early years of Louisiana’s Believe and Prepare initiative to transform traditional student teaching to a full-year clinical residency. Already, the redesigned model is having a positive impact on teacher preparation and engagement, not only in our programs but throughout the state.

In fall 2014, former clinical director Dawn Basinger began a pilot with 11 elementary majors, two schools, and one school district. By spring 2017, the program had grown to include 50 clinical residents, from early childhood through secondary teacher preparation programs, in 11 schools in 3 school districts. This week as the 2017-18 academic year begins, 70 new undergraduate residents begin their full-year clinical experience across North and Central Louisiana in 10 school districts and 18 schools. To date, more than 300 mentors in those districts have been trained to host clinical residents.

After more than a decade of clinical work in area schools working alongside school leaders and mentors, I joined Basinger 3 years ago as director of the TEAM (Teacher Educators and Mentors) Model Clinical Residency Center. The center aimed to creatively transform the traditional student teaching program into a full-year residency, building structures for constant support for each school residency team. We developed the TEAM Model in spring 2015, and under the leadership of College of Education Dean Don Schillinger, we have continued to refine the model as early childhood, elementary, and secondary teacher preparation programs are redesigned with a more competency-based focus. Alternative/MAT programs are also aligning to the TEAM Model approach at the university as the program’s success catches on, with 80 candidates beginning this fall.

Sarah Aydelott, a 2016-17 TEAM Model clinical resident, attends the National Field Experience Conference in April 2017.

This model’s framework was founded with research from the St. Cloud State University Coteaching Model and the University of Alabama Clinical Master Teacher Program: We redesigned the student teaching pieces of Heck and Bacharach’s clinical model from St. Cloud State, and I had previously served as a clinical liaison for the University of Alabama and redesigned my role into the TEAM Model as full-year clinical faculty. Key elements of the TEAM Model include (a) mentor training and full-year ongoing professional development and support, (b) school-assigned clinical liaisons, (c) St. Cloud Coteaching Model, (d) school/district leader roles, (e) school site collaborative meetings, (f) TEAM evaluation system using the Danielson Framework for Teaching Tool, and (g) a professionalism evaluation system to measure dispositions.

In October 2016, the Louisiana Board for Elementary and Secondary Education adopted landmark regulations to provide teacher candidates across the state with full-year clinical residency programs. Louisiana Tech’s teacher preparation program already embraces this approach. Elementary residents are at their TEAM schools 100% of the time from August through May, completing at least 1,000 – 1,500 clinical hours during their senior year in the 4-year undergraduate program. Secondary residents are piloting the new state guidelines of 60% (3 days a week) participation in the fall and 80% (4 days a week) participation in the spring in schools. In 2017-2018, we are pursuing new and innovative ways through university-district partnerships to share data with area school districts in order to validate the TEAM Model through clinical research.

This work has also connected us to a broader community of educators working on high-quality preservice field experiences. Last spring, Louisiana Tech was honored to host the National Field Experience Conference and share our model with colleagues from around the country. More than 20 TEAM Model clinical residents had the opportunity to attend their first national conference and were invited presenters in two refereed presentations. To bring national leaders in teacher preparation to Louisiana was an amazing opportunity to provide professional development to our school partner districts as well.

For more information about the TEAM Model, visit latechcrrc.org.

Amy Vessel is director of the TEAM Model Clinical Residency Center at Louisiana Tech University.

L-R: TEAM Director Amy Vessel, College of Education Dean Don Schillinger, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dawn Basinger formed the steering committee for the 2017 National Field Experience Conference at Louisiana Tech.

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Amy Vessel

Louisiana Tech University