Field and Clinical Experiences
As a student in the Hiram College Teacher Licensure Program, candidates will have many opportunities to visit area schools. These opportunities are a vital part of preparation because they connect candidates with their goals and help them see the reality of the theories being learned.
Early in the program, these visits will be focused on observation – looking for evidence that demonstrates the practices covered in the introductory education courses. These observational visits are called field experience. In one of the first education courses students are offered, candidates have a chance to visit four schools that focus on very different aspects of education: Gender specific, students with disabilities, technology and diversity. During a student’s sophomore year, the opportunity to participate in a more hands-on field experience exists. The middle childhood and adolescence/young adult licensure students conduct weekly school visits where they have an opportunity to tutor small groups of students. Early childhood licensure students have a chance to do some one-on-one sessions with elementary students and also visit several different preschools to investigate the different preschool teaching philosophies: Montessori, Reggio Emilio, Waldorf and others.
As candidates progress through the program, the visits will offer interaction with teachers and the students in their classrooms. Opportunities to be out in area schools, tutoring, assisting and eventually teaching are called clinical experiences. Early childhood licensure students experience two intensive clinical experiences. The first experience focuses on literacy lessons and the second experience focuses on lessons in math, science and social studies. The middle childhood licensure students have three clinical experiences. One clinical teaching experience for each of their concentration areas and a third experience integrating reading into their teaching. Finally, the adolescence/young adult licensure students have one clinical experience in their content area. By the time our teacher candidates are ready to student teach, they will have approximately 200-300 hours of field and clinical experience behind them.