The integration of field experience with University coursework has been a goal and action of the Morris Elementary Education Program for decades. In the Morris Elementary Education Program, candidates participate in a field experience each time they take an education course. Field experiences are chosen and assigned to allow each pre-service teacher to work with a variety of students in a variety of schools including rural, suburban, and urban settings. All complete at least one field experience in a cross-cultural setting, and many complete an urban field experience in Chicago, Illinois. Candidates complete practicum experiences and student teaching in a variety of grade levels representing the scope of their licensures.
Elementary faculty plan field experiences by working closely with school personnel to provide candidates with meaningful, appropriate experiences. The experiences allow the knowledge and theory studied in coursework to be implemented in practice. Candidates are expected to explore and analyze instructional technology and student diversity in every setting. They are expected to build leadership skills as they build relationships with their cooperating teachers, other school personnel, community members, and students. In this way, the clinical experiences match the characteristics of the program. They are developmental and constructive, with increased expectations and opportunities for personal growth in understanding as candidates progress through the program. They are reflective and integrative with key program components explored, analyzed, and extended in each setting. They are collaborative both in the sense the University and school personnel work to plan, implement, and assess candidate experiences as well as in the expectations of collaboration for the candidates themselves. Finally, they are standards based. The Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice (SEP) are addressed in each experience. Assignments and final assessments are based on the standards. The blending of theory and practice supports our students as they grow toward being effective beginning teachers.
In Ed 2111, University students complete 30 hours of in the classroom while they complete Ed 2121-Introduction to Education.
In Ed 2131, University students complete six hours in elementary classrooms (three in early and three in upper) working on specific literacy instructional activities.
In ElEd 3111, teacher candidates extend and apply information and skills learned in other elementary education courses. Candidates spend a minimum of 40 hours in a rural elementary school, where they develop skills of observation and reflective analysis in a classroom setting; perform a wide range of teaching duties and responsibilities including instruction and assessment; and assist their cooperating teachers. The class meets weekly on the Morris campus to connect theory and practice.
All candidates must complete a practicum in ElEd 3211 or ElEd 3212. ElEd 3211 is required for those candidates who have chosen to add a preprimary endorsement. ElEd 3211 is a 40-hour field experience in a Head Start or other setting with children from ages 3–5. Candidates plan, implement, and assess activities in their preprimary setting in consultation with cooperating teachers and university instructor.
All candidates must complete a practicum in ElEd 3211 or ElEd 3212. ElEd 3212 is required for those candidates who have chosen to add a middle level endorsement in social studies, science, mathematics, or communication. ElEd 3212 is a 40-hour field experience in grade 7 or 8, where candidates observe, teach, and assist cooperating teachers.
Beginning Student Teaching is designed to provide candidates with opportunities during the first weeks of school to increase their understanding of the duties and responsibilities of teachers and to introduce students to the classes in which they may complete their student teaching assignments. Candidates observe, reflect and apply what they have learned in the program. They explore the many dimensions of teaching at the elementary school level.
Students have the opportunity to apply content area methods in a cross-cultural setting. This full-week, full-time experience is completed in the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, Illinois; Willmar Public Schools, Willmar; or Tiospa Zina Tribal School, New Agency, South Dakota.