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The Effective Cooperating Teacher

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1 The Effective Cooperating Teacher
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Education OFFICE OF FIELD EXPERIENCE

2 Role of the Cooperating Teacher
Thank you for volunteering to be the cooperating teacher for our student teacher. You will be a very important part of the team that will be supporting and forming our teachers of the future. Your honest feedback and communication with the student teacher will be essential throughout the semester. If you have issues or challenges with the student teacher, please communicate them to the university supervisor or the Director of Field Experiences from the university at

3 Role of the Cooperating Teacher
The cooperating teacher is very influential in the student teaching experience. He/she must make every effort to be an acceptable role model for the student teacher and provide the best opportunity possible for his/her growth into an effective educator. Prepare for the arrival of the student teacher and help them to feel at ease by introducing them to the students and fellow educators. Try to arrange your schedule so that you have a few minutes to talk with the student teacher before the end of the day.

4 Role of the Cooperating Teacher
Help the student teacher become familiar with the classroom and the school building. Clarify the student teacher’s responsibility for classroom discipline. Classroom and school-wide discipline policies and procedures should be outlined, and the limits of the student teacher’s responsibilities and authority should be clearly defined. After an initial observation period of 5 to 7 days, the student teacher should assume teaching responsibilities in the classroom on a gradual basis. At the secondary level, the student teacher will begin taking over one class and periodically adding the others. These responsibilities should increase until a full load can be assumed for no less than two weeks. A capable student teacher may participate full with classroom activities for a longer period.

5 Role of the Cooperating Teacher
The cooperating teacher is asked to complete five progress reports throughout the semester. For a student who has only one assignment, the first progress report will not count toward their grade. Those who have students with split assignments (Kinesiology, Art, Music, Spanish, Drama) will fill out 3 evaluations at each assignment. The cooperating teacher should schedule a weekly conference with the student teacher, and in addition have short, informal discussions during the normal school day.

6 Role of the University Supervisor
The university supervisor serves as a liaison between the student teacher, cooperating teacher, building principal, and the Director of Field Experience in order to provide the student teacher with the very best teaching experience. The university supervisor is expected to maintain rapport with the building principal and the cooperating teacher. Complete 5 observations/evaluations of the student teacher in the classroom. Those who have student teachers with split assignments will complete three (3) observations for each assignment of the student teacher. Use official observation/evaluation forms. Use conversion chart in the Student Teacher Handbook Appendix.

7 Role of the University Supervisor
Conduct a conference with the student teacher immediately following each observation, if possible, and offer constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement. Confer with the cooperating teacher regarding the student teacher’s progress and any concerns that may arise. Evaluate lesson plans and review the student teacher’s notebook/portfolio. Apprise the Director of Field Experience on the student teacher’s progress. Submit final grades online and all documentation forms for TEA (student attendance, make-up time accountability, TEA observation form, student evaluations, principal verification forms to the Director of Field Experiences.

8 Instructions for Grading
Grading for student teachers will include three areas of evaluation. Failure to complete any one of these areas will result in a grade of INCOMPLETE. Student performance will be measured by the following weighted scores: 1) The scores earned on the Student Teaching Evaluation, which is completed by the university supervisor will constitute 60% of the grade. 2) The scores reflected on The Student Teaching Evaluation which is completed by the cooperating teacher will determine approximately 30% of the grade. 3) The grade earned on the Student Teaching Notebook will constitute 10% of the grade. Each university supervisor will submit a final grade sheet noting the final grade for each of their student teachers at the end of the semester. See Student Teaching Handbook Appendix. The university supervisor will also submit the student’s final grade online.

9 General Observation Guide The following is an outline of the topics we would like the student teacher and university supervisor/cooperating teacher to discuss during student teaching experience.

10 List classroom rules; describe the physical plan of the class and student movement.
Identify motivational techniques used (praise, simulation, success, opportunities). Outline a typical class period. Identify questioning strategies: Levels (levels of thinking reached, Blooms Taxonomy); Response patterns; Wait time; Who is asked? When are they asked?

11 Describe how groups are established – for what purpose does the teacher utilize group work?
Outline interaction patterns among students in the class. Check for understanding – what methods and when are the methods used? Guided Practice – how/when does the teacher implement this? Describe strategies used by the teacher to create interest or establish a mental set for learning.

12 Independent practice. What do students who finish early do
Independent practice. What do students who finish early do? When is time allocated for independent practice? Give examples of how the teacher uses positive reinforcement with students. Identify three activities in which students are responding with interest and enthusiasm. Identify three signals or non-verbal cues the teacher utilizes to control the class. When are they used?

13 Effective Feedback - Key to Success
The university supervisor and the cooperating teacher are expected to provide timely feedback to the student teacher. Schedule a time to meet with the student teacher after the observation/evaluation to provide constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement. Schedule your meeting in a place without distractions and where the student teacher can be involved in an interactive professional conversation. Avoid a meeting in an open area that can provide distractions and can impact confidentiality.

14 Characteristics of Effective Feedback
Amount: The quantity of feedback is appropriate (too much or too little can limit effectiveness). Communication: Feedback is given in a manner that promotes understanding and action. Specificity: The feedback is specific enough to provide a plan of action for the teacher to follow (what to do more of and what to do less of).

15 More Characteristics of Effective Feedback
Frequency: Feedback is provided at appropriate intervals. Timing: Timing of the feedback is designed to have maximum impact. Relevancy: Specific, useful suggestions are provided.

16 Observing and Reinforcing Appropriate Instructional Behaviors
Cooperating teachers and university supervisors have an opportunity to discuss desirable instructional behaviors they see teachers using. For supervision to be effective, the behaviors which the supervisor chooses to reinforce must be behaviors which have a real effect on student learning, student self concept or student enthusiasm for learning.

17 Reinforcement has 5 major benefits for the student teacher:
The student teacher feels that the supervisor/cooperating teacher is genuinely interested in the student teacher. The student teacher gains respect for the instructional expertise of the supervisor/cooperating teacher.

18 Benefits of reinforcement…
The student teacher is able to use instructional behaviors that have been used intuitively as part of a conscious decision making process. Student achievement and self concept increase as student teachers make better use of productive instructional behaviors. Student teachers are more likely to seek the supervisor/cooperating teachers’ assistance when an instructional question occurs.

19 Some Guidelines for POSITIVE reinforcement.
Avoid “overkill”. Limit the number of behaviors to be reinforced after a single observation. It is more productive to focus on one or two specific behaviors and give several examples from the student teacher’s lesson plan.

20 More POSITIVE reinforcement guidelines…
Reinforcement in a timely manner. If too much time passes between the behavior and the reinforcement, the value of the reinforcement is lessened. Eliminate “Hidden Agendas”. When reinforcement takes place before a favor is asked of the student teacher, or before unpleasant information is shared with the student teacher, the value of reinforcement is reduced.

21 Another POSITIVE reinforcement guideline.
Get student teachers used to hearing compliments. When reinforcement takes place often, student teachers will less likely feel that they don’t deserve it or to belittle their legitimate efforts on the part of the students.

22 Ensure that Student Learning is Focus of Instruction
Both cooperating teachers and university supervisors should provide student teachers with feedback on lessons and the student teacher’s teaching and lesson’s impact on student learning. The Student Teacher Observation and Evaluation forms will provide the basic expectations for student teachers in the delivery of the instruction. The next slides provide a framework for analyzing the lesson.

23 Analyzing Behaviors The student teacher has clear goals and objectives for student learning.
Observable Behaviors: The student teacher communicates goals and objectives to students during lesson. The student teacher communicates goals and objectives for student learning to parents.

24 Analyzing Behaviors The student teacher’s instruction shows evidence of appropriate diagnosis of student readiness. Observable Behaviors: Students working at appropriate level of difficulty. Students answering questions correctly. Students expending effort and meeting success.

25 Analyzing Behaviors The student teacher’s instruction shows evidence of appropriate analysis of the learning task. Observable Behaviors: Learning tasks are sequenced appropriately for student understanding. The objective of the learning is clear to students. The student teacher is able to review or move ahead in the learning sequence as student needs dictate.

26 Prescribing Behaviors The student teacher facilitates higher level student thinking.
Observable Behaviors: Students are called on to apply material learned to their own lives. Students are called on to analyze material. Student creativity is facilitated and encouraged. Students are encouraged to evaluate critically and to support their evaluations with evidence from their learning.

27 Prescribing Behaviors The student teacher uses groupings that facilitate student learning.
Observable Behaviors: A variety of groupings for instruction are used. Student groups change as objectives change. Interactive groups which encourage student cooperative learning are used. On task behavior is observed in groups. Student teacher monitors groups while they are working.

28 Prescribing Behaviors The student teacher has a clear objective for the lesson.
Observable Behaviors: Activities are clearly focused on an objective. The student teacher states the objective of the lesson to the class. At the end of the lesson, the student teacher summarizes the lesson, restating the objective.

29 Determining Strategies The student teacher encourages student motivation.

30 Determining Strategies The student teacher accommodates different student learning styles.
Observable Behaviors: The student teacher uses varied activities and methods of instruction. The student teacher uses class activities which facilitate student use of oral language. The student teacher emphasizes the relationship of class activities and objectives to student needs. The student teacher allows students an appropriate choice of learning activities.

31 Determining Strategies The student teacher manages the classroom effectively.
Observable Behaviors: The student teacher makes expectations for classroom behavior clear to students. The student teacher models appropriate behaviors for the class. The student teacher deals with incidents of misbehavior positively and appropriately.

32 Lesson Design The student teacher uses readiness activities to focus students on the instruction.
Observable Behaviors: The student teacher makes clear transitions from one subject area or activity to the next. The student teacher gets all students actively involved in instruction. The student teacher uses informal diagnostic activities to measure student readiness for instruction.

33 Lesson Design The student teacher reviews previously learned material.
Observable Behaviors: The student teacher reviews material learned the previous day. The student teacher conducts periodic reviews of material covered in previous weeks and months. The student teacher applies previously learned material to current learning.

34 Lesson Design The student teacher provides appropriate instruction to students.
Observable Behaviors: The student teacher provides adequate input to students. The student teacher models appropriate learning behaviors for the class. The student teacher shows an acceptable model or discusses criteria for an acceptable finished product. The student teacher adjusts the pace of instruction to students needs.

35 Lesson Design The student teacher measures student understanding during instruction.
Observable Behaviors: The student teacher samples individual students. The student teacher uses group responses from the class to check understanding. The student teacher uses signals, slates, or other individual responses to check understanding.

36 Lesson Design The student teacher provides opportunities for guided practice.
Observable Behaviors: The student teacher moves around the room checking work and giving assistance as needed. The student teacher provides answer keys or monitors so students can check their own work before moving on. The student teacher has students work in cooperative groups and monitors group progress.

37 Lesson Design The student teacher provides closure at the end of each instructional sequence.
Observable Behaviors: Students summarize major points covered in the day’s lesson. The student teacher summarizes the major points covered in the day’s lesson.

38 Lesson Design The student teacher assigns appropriate independent practice.
Observable Behaviors: Independent practice is assigned only after students have been successful in guided practice. Independent practice assignments provide percent success rates for students who make an effort to complete them. The student teacher gives appropriate feedback about their independent practice assignments.

39 Evaluating Decisions Move on to the next topic.
The student teacher makes appropriate decisions about the next period of instruction. These decisions, which are usually discovered by a clarifying question from the supervisor/cooperating teacher, are based on performance of the students. Possible Decisions: Move on to the next topic. Reteach the lesson using a different strategy. Provide further practice and/or extend the student learning to higher cognitive activities. Abandon the learning. Continue with other steps of the lesson design.

40 Additional Suggestions for Supporting the Student Teacher

41 Clarification: A Supervisory Tool
Clarifying questions should be genuine questions and not statements “in disguise”. For example, “Don’t you think you could have answered Bill’s question sooner?” or “Didn’t you notice Mary was talking in the back of the room?” clearly indicate the supervisor/cooperating teacher’s agenda is giving, rather than seeking, information. While giving information and suggestions to the students teacher is often appropriate, giving too much “help” can cause over-reliance on the supervisor/cooperating teacher and serve as a barrier to self-analysis by the student teacher.

42 Clarification: A Supervisory Tool
The use of clarifying questions helps turn a conference into a dialogue rather than a monologue delivered by the supervisor/cooperating teacher. As the student teacher is encouraged to talk about what happened during the lesson and the reasons for decisions that have been made, the student teacher becomes an active participant in the conference and takes an active role in their professional growth.

43 Clarification: A Supervisory Tool
Clarifying questions demonstrate that the supervisor/cooperating teacher is interested in the student teacher, his or her students, and the instructional objectives the student teacher is working toward. Asking appropriate questions also underscores the supervisor/cooperating teacher’s commitment to accuracy and fairness in assessing the quality of instruction.

44 Clarification: A Supervisory Tool
Clarifiying questions can help the student teacher analyze and discuss his or her instruction. The primary goal of clarification is to assist the student teacher in becoming self-assessing, so that the student teacher can successfully analyze their own instruction, make appropriate changes, and seek the principal’s help as needed.

45 Clarification: A Supervisory Tool
Some useful clarifiying questions: What objectives are being covered today? What kind of group is this? (high, low; active, listless; cooperative, disruptive; etc.) Was this a typical day in your classroom? (This is an important question to ask in most conferences. If the answer is “no”, a follow-up question might be “What factors made this day unusual?” What happened before I came into the classroom? What happened after I left the classroom? What are you going to do with this group during the next instructional period? On what did you base your decision?

46 Thank you! You will play a very significant role in ensuring that our future teachers are well prepared. Thank you for your willingness to participate in the process of ensuring a quality education for the students in the state of Texas. Please mail or in the statement that you have reviewed this training and you will be provided a certificate of completion

47 References Office of Professional Education Services, Emporia State University Lyman, L. and Foyle, H.C., “Creative Supervisory Conferences: New Wine in Old Skins” in Florida ASCD Journal, Fall, 1989, pps Adaptations from CLINICAL INSTRUCTION AND SUPERVISION FOR ACCOUNTABILITY, by Lawrence Lyman. Alfred Wilson, Kent Garhart, Max Heim, and Wynona Winn, Copyright © 1987 by Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.

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