sadker8_online_app_B

sadker8_online_app_B - sad84918_apdx4.qxd 2/18/02 4:06 PM...

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Many education courses now require or recommend field observation activities. This Appendix will help you sharpen and focus your field observation skills. Ac- curate data collection and thoughtful reflection about what you see can give you new insights into life in the classroom and the process of teaching. General Observation Guidelines While the field experience is an integral part of virtu- ally all teacher preparation programs, the specific de- sign and approach of school observation varies greatly. In some teacher education programs, the field experi- ence is a component of the Introduction to Teaching Course or the Foundations of Education Course; in others, it is a separate course. In still others, it has be- come a continuous strand that links most, if not all, education courses. Whatever approach your college or university pro- vides, this experience, if used well, can offer rich in- sight into the real world of teaching and schools and can help answer your concerns and questions about teaching as a career. Unfortunately, poorly structured school visits quickly deteriorate into a vacuous waste of time. This Appendix, along with the Inter-missions , provide the structure and focus to ensure accurate ob- servation and thoughtful reflection about the informa- tion you gather. But that is only half—perhaps less than half—of the formula needed for successful school observation. The other central ingredient is you. How you approach the experience, and what you do or do not do with the information you gather, ultimately will determine how well your field experience will work for you. John Dewey, perhaps America’s most famous educa- tor, wrote extensively about reflective thinking, which he defined as avoiding routine and impulsive behav- iors in favor of taking the time to give serious consid- eration to our actions. According to Dewey, the intelligent person thinks before he or she acts, and ac- tion becomes deliberate and intentional. If you want to glean knowledge and insight from your field experi- ence, your observations must be careful, analytical, and deliberate. Once your observations have been made, you will need to consider carefully what you have seen before you formulate conclusions about life in schools. Identifying Your Goals and Concerns The reflective field experience structured in this Ap- pendix and in the Inter-missions will encourage you not only to see what schools do but also to consider what they might do differently. Although each student ap- proaches the field experience with a unique personal history and set of expectations, it is useful to think about and prioritize these perceptions and concerns before you begin. Take a minute and, on a separate sheet of paper or in your journal or notebook, write a brief list of your goals as you prepare for your field experience. In short, what information and insight do you want to get out of your field experience? After you have written down your goals, consider the fol- lowing questions. Are your goals clear, or do you need to give them more thought? Are some of these goals
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sadker8_online_app_B - sad84918_apdx4.qxd 2/18/02 4:06 PM...

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