WCE Teacher Interns are provided extensive field-based experience prior to their full-time internship in PDS partner schools. They receive training in the PDS model and are collaboratively placed by university faculty and public school partners with partnership teachers who are trained in Learner-Centered Coaching and Supervision and are willing to spend dedicated time coaching a prospective teacher.
Teacher Interns are placed in cohorts to ensure the development of reflective
professional support groups for the students and their host educators. Clear expectations
for interns are communicated by the team of university supervisor and partnership teacher
to embrace a collaborative learner-centered approach that builds on deep reflection tied
closely to the intern's ownership for personal growth.
It is the mission of the Watson College to build teacher intern candidates who are reflective practitioners and decision makers. Since 1976 the Watson College of Education has used a model of decision-making as a guide to program development. The choice of this conceptual framework proceeded from two assumptions: one, that a profession is distinguished by role demands for decision-making, and two, that variability and complexity of tasks comprising the teacher’s role require a continuing high level of decision-making. Given this perspective of the role, it follows that a teacher preparation program should be a coherent system of experiences that develop relevant decision-making skills in a variety of contexts.
In recent years the term “teacher as decision-maker” has come to be used more to express a philosophy than to guide planning. To foster understanding of that philosophy, the phrase “reflective practitioner” was added. The addition of this phrase enhances the perception of the role in the dedicated and caring direction that has been intended from the beginning of the Watson College’s program development efforts, and stresses the importance of reflection upon practice. All WCE candidates have many opportunities in their preparation to apply reflective practice and grapple with the many complex decisions faced by educators. The Professional Development System encourages its public school partners to embrace the critical elements of the Watson College of Education’s Conceptual Framework as they work with interns and field placement students from the university.
All PDS partners are accountable to one another, to the professional standards that guide their practices, and to the public that they serve. The Watson School of Education’s Professional Development System offers many venues for discussion of ways to improve all aspects of our partnerships, from what is taught in the university classrooms to procedures and policies that drive the interns’ practicum semester.