Yearlong Residency Prepares Strong TESOL Candidates

Four new videos are available this week in AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series highlighting the urban residencies of the State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego School of Education. In these final videos of the series, educators discuss the significance of getting to know students well and how the yearlong clinical experience helps TESOL candidates prepare for edTPA–and beyond.

Participants in the clinical partnerships of the SUNY Oswego School of Education say one of the significant benefits of a yearlong residency is that teachers get to know their students well and engage deeply in their community.

English as a new language (ENL) students from Fowler High School in Syracuse, New York, say the TESOL residents who serve as coteachers in their class did more than teach them English; they also became trusted friends who discussed future plans, helped guide college searches, and generally made students feel comfortable talking about anything.

One of these residents, Courtney Schlesinger, says she was inspired by her host teacher’s full immersion in the students’ lives. “She really dives deeper than a lot of teachers are willing to do,” she says, “so I learned a lot about the respect that the students have for you when you become a part of their lives and more than just inside of the classroom.”

Connections to edTPA

The extended clinical practice also provides numerous advantages for the teacher candidates, including more time and flexibility to complete their edTPA requirements. Rather than the single semester of a typical student teaching placement, Oswego residents have two semesters of video and lessons to choose from to demonstrate their readiness.

TESOL faculty at the university say that like edTPA, they are focusing on preparing candidates to explicitly teach language across content areas and through home/family connections, which has a positive impact on student learning—as well as on candidates’ assessment portfolios.

“What we do is use our methods course to really put a very heavy emphasis on what it means to teach language,” says TESOL faculty member Bruce Long Peng, “and the classes are designed with learning activities where language is the focus, but the materials come from content.”

Impact on Candidate Confidence, Competence

Through their year of coteaching clinical practice, Oswego residents experience a strong induction into the teaching profession. In addition to developing their confidence that they’re on the right career path, their skill and professional competence at graduation put them in high demand in the job market, says Pat Russo, director of the Center for Urban Schools in the School of Education. “They are much more solid in the interviews,” she says. “They are much more solid as first-year teachers.”

For those who are hired in the district, the well-established mentor relationships continue to provide valuable support. Oswego alumna Jennifer White, now a teacher in Syracuse, says, “Being able to still contact our mentor teachers and our host teachers and having them be in the same district as us was really helpful, and still is.”

Click on the video thumbnails above to view this week’s set of interviews. They can also be found on the AACTE Video Wall along with previous weeks’ videos, which you can read about in these articles:

Stay tuned for the next institution to be featured in our Research-to-Practice Spotlight series!

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