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Music Education


The quality of the student teaching experience is largely influenced by the cooperating teacher's ability to model effective classroom practice and structure teaching opportunities for the student teacher (S.T.). Having the student teacher observe your teaching and classes will serve as an effective induction into your program and your students. Provide the S.T. with specific elements to watch for as they observe rather than just watching in a random manner.

After several days of getting the feel of things, allow the S.T. to become actively involved in teaching activities. As actual teaching increases and more teaching challenges evolved, it may be helpful for the student to observe you teach again to reinforce the teaching model.

Further in the semester the S.T. is expected to observe other outstanding teachers in the building as well. This could include visits to other music teachers and but must include observing a teacher in another subject area. The purpose for such observations is to broaden the student teacher's perspective as to teaching styles, classroom environments, and methods of classroom management. The S.T. is required to observe another teacher and to submit a reflection of the experience.

When the student is teaching, you can provide the most help by carefully observing and then discussing the teaching after the lesson. This should be done regularly throughout the student teaching experience. Please do not leave the S.T. alone for an unreasonable amount of time. Some cooperating teachers feel that the student learns best by trial and error without observation, but this is not the case. Even the best prepared S.T. needs consistent observation and constructive feedback. Detailed observations and feedback should be given frequently and not left for the University supervisor's visits. Helpful criticism should not be be withheld to spare the student teacher's feelings. Your suggestions are the only way for the students' teaching to improve. Feedback in both verbal and written form is the best. Please expect the S.T. to take notes of your feedback and you should keep sequential notes of your observations. We strongly recommend that the student teacher's instruction be video-taped frequently and utilized during conferences.

Based on a paper by Drafall, Lynn. (1991) Improving Communication with Student Teachers, University of Illinois.