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Field Experience and The Role of Teacher Education March 15, 2014

Posted by jennienorgaard in EMTH 350.
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I think it is important that all students taking education should get the opportunity to experience what it is like to actually be out in the field. You will never know if teaching is actually what you want to do until you go out and experience it first hand. Going through university and studying everything required to get an education degree is totally different than actually going out and getting a feel for teaching. If you don’t actually go out and take part in field experience you will never be certain if teaching really is for you. Field experiences are a great way to interact with students, gain experience, gradually get into the routine of how it is to be a teacher and learn as much as you can about teaching. They are also a great way to learn things such as what you should be doing, how you should be doing certain things and an opportunity to make mistakes when there are co-op teachers there with you to help you along the way.

University teacher education programs are supposed to help students develop the knowledge, experience and understanding they require in order to be successful teachers. Apart from these, university programs also deal with things that you shouldn’t be doing as teachers in your classroom and they also go through some possible situations that could arise within a classroom and how to properly deal with them. University programs are there to help you learn as much as you can about the curriculum and teaching without actually being in the field. They are also there to help you develop your mind and thinking about teaching. You learn how to switch your thinking from being a student all through grade school to start putting your teacher hat on and thinking like a teacher. University education programs are also designed to help you learn how to develop a safe, risk free and non-judgmental environment. We learn the process in how to teach the subject area we are majoring/minor in, different strategies that we can and should be utilizing, the different learning styles that are out there and most importantly we learn that we teach people and not just the content. University programs are the first steps to take that guide the students in the right direction of how to be a successful teacher. University teacher education programs also gradually allow students to get into the field and see how it is to become a teacher. For example, the first field experience you get in the university program is just observing other teachers and how they operate their classroom. They don’t just throw you into a classroom and expect you to start teaching from day one. They gradually progress from a semester of observing, to teaching one class in the afternoon to pre-internship where you start teaching one class a day and gradually get to the point where you are expected to teach three classes in a day. I think it is crucial that all students should go through this process when becoming a teacher because if you get thrown into the field right away and are expected to teach not many students will be successful. Becoming a teacher is like teaching someone how to swim; you don’t just throw them into the deep end right away and expect that they can swim. You have to teach them step by step the important points and then gradually progress from there.

I believe that a mathematics teacher has to be passionate about what they do in order to be successful in the end. If a teacher isn’t passionate about what they do then the students they are teaching will not like mathematics either. I believe this because I think that if a teacher isn’t passionate about the subject they are teaching then they won’t try and make the material fun and engaging for the students. Apart from the passion a teacher has on a subject, I also believe that what the teacher believes and value about the subject will in turn reflect how they teach as well. I believe that if teachers can show students the importance of mathematics and that it is utilized everywhere outside of the classroom then maybe they will learn to appreciate it more. With all this, I also believe that mathematical beliefs and values can change as time progresses and as you experience different things in and through a math class.

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