Pre-service teachers complete three (3) fieldwork experiences prior to the student teaching semester. The fieldwork courses address cross categorical settings (SPECED 385), specialized fieldwork settings (SPECED 485), and general education environments (SPECED 410). These experiences provide pre-service teachers the opportunity to apply skills addressed in university classes to 1-12 teaching settings.
SPECFLD 385 – Cross Categorical Field Work
This field experience provides all students with the opportunity to actively participate in classrooms for children at-risk and with cross-categorical educational needs. Activities during this placement include, teaching an intervention, collecting data to monitoring progress, and reporting student gains to administration and parents.
SPECFLD 485 – Specialization Field Work
This field experience provides all students with the opportunity to observe and participate in classrooms for children/youth within the specialization areas of cognitive delays, emotional/behavior disabilities and learning disabilities. This course is a pre-clinical experience designed to prepare the student for the student teaching experience. The course involves an initial seminar and 96 hours in specialized field placement.
SPECFLD 410 – Co-Teaching Field Work
This field experience provides all students with the opportunity to complete a 150 hour assignment in a general education classroom where inclusionary practices for individuals with special needs are applied. The field experience provides opportunities to become familiar with the range of students' abilities; curricular focus; achievement expectations; enhancements, adaptations, and modifications of instruction; and collaborative practices of general and special educators.
Internship experiences in the field are directed experiences in 1-12 public school settings that occur prior to the capstone experience, which, at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater is a portfolio presentation. Student teaching/internship/practicum clinical experiences are sustained, prescribed periods of rigorous field-based experiences performed under the supervision of a certified teacher and an institutional program supervisor in grades 1-12 settings prior to being issued a teaching certificate. The Department of Special Education at UW-Whitewater offers cross-categorical certification in Learning Disabilities/Emotional Behavioral Disorders and Cognitive Disabilities at the undergraduate and graduate (masters) levels. Candidates for directed teaching, internship, practicum, and inservice practicum have to pass the Praxis II prior to these experiences.
These are full-day one semester experiences (approximately 18 weeks). Students enrolled as student teachers or interns follow the school district’s calendar instead of the university calendar. The student teacher is placed with a fully licensed teacher in the licensure emphasis area sought. The cooperating teacher is required to have a minimum of three years of teaching experience and must complete a supervision course offered free by the university. A university supervisor is assigned to the teacher candidate. The university supervisor has to complete four visits for the semester.
Graduate Practicum & Inservice Practicum
- Graduates who do not hold a teaching license complete a full day semester long practicum based on the school’s calendar. The practicum student is placed with a fully licensed teacher in the area of licensure sought who has a minimum of three years of experience and has completed a supervision course offered by the university. A university supervisor is assigned to the teacher candidate. The university supervisor has to complete four visits.
- Graduates who hold a teaching license complete a full day nine weeks practicum in a class with a fully licensed cooperating teacher who has completed the supervision course. A university supervisor is assigned to the practicum student. The university supervisor has to complete four visits for the semester.
- Graduates who are employed as special educators on a provisional license complete an on-the-job in-service practicum that is a semester long. The in-service practicum teacher candidate has to complete an in-service practicum agreement that is signed by the school district. Those completing an in-service practicum are assigned an administrator or Support Teacher contracted with from CESA to serve as a cooperating teacher. Licensed teachers that are peers of the in-service practicum student are not allowed to serve as cooperating teachers. A university supervisor that visits the in-service practicum student four times is also assigned.