Field Experiences Prior to Clinical Practice

All courses offered by the Educator Preparation Program at the junior and senior levels include co-requisite field experience. Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education, and Special Education candidates complete approximately 600 hours of field experience prior to clinical practice. Teacher Certification Track candidates complete approximately 300 hours of field experience prior to clinical practice.

Field Experience Sites

Field experience sites for each course are selected collaboratively with Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS). Collaborating principals agree to place all candidates in a particular course with effective teachers at the appropriate grade levels. This is possible because of the relatively small size of our classes and the relatively large size of Gwinnett County’s elementary, middle and high schools. Placement of all candidates in a particular course at the same school facilitates frequent on-site visits by College faculty, and allows close coordination of field experience assignments with in-class content and discussions.

Field Experience Expectations

Field experience expectations of candidates are developmental in nature. During the first semester of field experience, candidates observe students and teachers in a variety of settings throughout the school, collect field observations and complete an ecological study of the school and an in-depth profile of a student. Candidates also assist with small group instruction and conduct guided reading. During the second and third semesters, candidates participate more actively in planning, delivering and assessing the effectiveness of instruction in the core academic areas and in adapting instruction to meet individual student needs.

Candidates’ performances during field experiences are assessed by GGC as well as school-based faculty using the Candidate Dispositions Performance Assessment and the Candidate Assessment on Performance Standards. The use of educational technology is embedded in all GGC Educator Preparation Program courses and in individual course assignments. Exploring and using technologies available in the schools is a key experience for candidates in the field.

Clinical Practice

Candidates complete a semester (approximately 500 contact hours) of full-time clinical practice (student teaching) during their last semester in the program. Candidates may request placement in a specific school or grade level, but final placement decisions are made collaboratively with Gwinnett County Public Schools. During clinical practice, candidates transition into and out of a minimum of four (4) weeks during which they have full responsibility for planning and implementing instruction in the classroom. Candidates are also expected to assume their cooperating teachers' additional duties. 

Candidates’ performances during clinical practice are assessed by GGC as well as school-based faculty using the Candidate Dispositions Performance Assessment and the Candidate Assessment on Performance Standards. In addition, student teachers complete an Exit Portfolio during the final semester of the program.