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GSE Instructor Handbook: Field Experience Supervision

Supervisor Role and Responsibilities

Supervisors have important responsibilities in (a) promoting the transfer of knowledge and skills learned in the university classroom to their application in school and clinical settings, (b) evaluating candidate performance, and (c) representing the university to our school and community partners.

The university supervisor will visit the candidate (student teacher) several times during the term. The focus of these interactions and visits will vary depending upon the needs of the particular candidate. Some of the visits will be concerned with observation of the candidate's work while others will focus on goal setting and evaluating the candidate's progress over a period of time. The supervisor will record written notes during the observation and will discuss them with the candidate. The emphasis throughout the term should be on team cooperation with the cooperating professional, candidate and the supervisor, maintaining the closest possible working relationship.

The supervisor will also participate and contribute to the written evaluations generated at scheduled mid-term and final evaluation conferences. For most programs, the supervisor also is responsible for uploading the evaluations into the online data system (Tk20). The final grade for a clinical experience is assigned by the instructor/cohort leader, with input and recommendation from the university supervisor and cooperating professional, based on the academic and professional performance standards adopted by each program.

The university supervisor acts as a liaison between school districts and/or community organizations and PSU. She or he serves as consultant for both institutions and mobilizes resources to provide worthwhile experiences for candidates.

Specific Responsibilities

Specific responsibilities of the university supervisor in teacher education programs are as follows:

  1. During the first week of the term, visit the field experience site, discuss expectations of the field experience with the candidate and cooperating teacher, and establish an observation schedule. The minimum number of observations is three per term.
  2. Regularly communicate with and observe assigned candidates in their schools. Supervision may require more than three observation visits if the candidate needs more support.
  3. Take notes during the observation and provide objective feedback, in written and verbal form, on teaching performance.
  4. Answer questions and provide needed assistance on the candidate’s work sample.
  5. Plan and conduct a 3-way conference at midterm and the end of term with the candidate and cooperating teacher to discuss and evaluate teaching performance.
  6. If students have a Tk20 account, upload the midterm and final evaluation into Tk20. We have online instructions for using Tk20.
  7. In consultation with the cooperating teacher, determine a grade which is given to the cohort leader who verifies and enters the grade. (In some programs, the grade also includes candidate participation in field experience seminars and/or completion of a work sample.)
  8. Under the direction of the cohort leader, participate in evaluating candidate work samples.

Field Experience Placements

Field experience placements are arranged through the Office of Field Placements and Licensure (503-725- 9717, jassop@pdx.edu). Many factors are taken into consideration when placing students. Student needs are identified, as well as specific circumstances that may be occurring with a teacher, school/program administration or within the school itself. Because of important relationships with our district and program partners, any attempt by students to set up their own placements is strongly discouraged. More information about field experiences can be found on the Office of Field Placement web pages.

The Work Sample

A work sample is a set of objectives, lessons, assessments, analysis, reflection, and other related material organized as a unit of study. Its purpose is to help the candidate develop strategies for improving instruction. It also documents the candidate’s ability to plan and teach a unit of study, to assess student learning, and to analyze the results for further instruction. It provides evidence of teaching skills and knowledge. Work samples are a requirement for licensure and must be completed and evaluated before the candidate can receive a passing grade for student teaching. To construct a work sample, candidates must have the opportunity to do original planning in their field experience site.

Cohort leaders and other faculty give teacher candidates specific information for meeting work sample requirements. University supervisors are expected to assist, evaluate and give feedback on the work sample. Work samples are evaluated using the Work Sample Evaluation form found in program handbooks and on Tk20.

Candidate Who Have Difficulty in Their Placement

Because field placements involve children and vulnerable young adults, the GSE has the responsibility to assure that candidates’ actions are consistent with expectations for professionals in those settings. A candidate will be removed immediately from a practicum or student teaching placement if the onsite administrator and/or university supervisor requests a removal for unethical or unprofessional behavior.

Other reasons exist for a removal from a placement. Occasionally, a placement results in an unworkable mismatch between the candidate and classroom situation. Depending on the nature of the problem, a supervisor may recommend that an alternative placement be arranged.

Report all concerns about a candidate immediately to the cohort leader. If you think that a candidate should be removed from his/her field experience, consult first with the cohort leader and department chair. Guidelines regarding unethical practices and unprofessional conduct are discussed in more detail in the GSE Behavior and Performance Guidelines.