red Supported Site University of Wisconsin - La Crosse: Induction & Mentoring

Successes

  • Secondary teacher candidates now have a draft program handbook available to them and receive focused advising from discipline-based education faculty.
  • Planned events were well attended by science and math teacher candidates, especially the "student teacher panel" and secondary teacher education "meet and greet" networking events.
  • The science methods course was successfully overhauled and co-taught by faculty in Physics Education, Biology Education, and Chemistry Education. These faculty also supervise and mentor students during student teaching.
  • Local teachers were selected to participate in a teacher advisory group and are excited about future opportunities to meet.
  • Three physics education majors conducted undergraduate research in Physics Education during the 2012-2013 academic year, forming a mini-cohort. Two students conducted undergraduate research in 2013-2014 (one for multiple semesters).

Challenges

  • Scheduling networking sessions or meetings for students in the Secondary Teacher Education Preparation (STEP) program was challenging. Most students have limited availability due to class and work schedules.
  • Scheduling teacher advisory group meetings are also challenging, because many teachers are involved in extracurricular activities or after school meetings.

Sustainability

  • Academic advising for students in the secondary teacher education program will continue to transition away from education faculty to discipline-based education faculty in each content department.
  • A new seminar course for science and math teacher candidates is being piloted in Fall 2013 and was proposed and approved in Spring 2014 to be offered beginning in Fall 2014.

Lessons Learned

  • Collaboration among faculty involved in the secondary teacher education program is essential to planning meaningful events and experiences for teacher candidates. Frequent meetings were necessary (at least every other week for 1-2 hours).

Activities

  • A Physics faculty member advised students who have expressed an interest in the Physics Education Major.
    • The STEP program handbook section on the Physics Education Major and Minor was updated.
    • Handouts were created to outline the pathway for students to become a physics teacher.
  • A Physics faculty member taught or co-taught the science methods course.
    • Science education faculty in Physics, Biology, and Chemistry collaborated to revise the science methods course syllabus.
    • Science education faculty mentored students during their clinical field experience.
  • STEP faculty organized special sessions for mentoring secondary teacher candidates (a student teacher panel discussion, an orientation session for students recently admitted to the STEP program, and "meet and greet" networking sessions).
  • An initial teacher advisory group meeting was coordinated in 2012-2013 with follow-up meetings in 2013-2014.