Teaching Practice

Teaching practice in the University Practice School

‘Orientative Teaching Practice’
‘Basic Teaching Practice’
‘Field Practice’
‘Advanced Student Teaching’

General Goals of the Teaching Practice

Teaching practice plays a central role in achieving the general goals of teacher education. The practice periods take place in different stages of the studies, and they provide a student with a chance to familiarise him/herself with education, teaching and learning in their different forms as well as discuss the experiences openly and critically with his/her co-students and supervisors.

The practice experiences build the foundations for a student’s general idea on the teacher’s work. The trainee is given feedback on his/her actions during the practice and guided to self-assessment in order to make him/her conscious of the essential features of the teacher’s work.

Teaching Practice Periods

Altogether 16 credits, i.e. approximately 10 % of all studies (1 credit requires approximately 40 hours’ studies) of the class teacher education consist of teaching practice periods, 11 credits of which are carried out in the University Practice School. The rest 5 credits are carried out in other schools. ‘Orientative Teaching Practice’ takes place in municipal comprehensive schools in Savonlinna, whereas ‘Field Practice’ can be completed in any school either in Finland or abroad.

Teaching practice is a part of subject studies in education, with an exception of ‘In-Training-Student-Teaching’ -period, which is a part of advanced studies in education. Before each practice period the student attends special seminars on educational subjects related to the practice, and after the completion of the period the experiences are discussed in feedback seminars.

The practice periods are supervised by both the lecturers in didactics and education and the teachers of the practice school. In ‘Basic Teaching Practice’ and ‘In-Training Student-Teaching’ -periods the supervising lecturers and teachers are appointed in advance for each trainee.

During each practice period the trainee collects material concerning the practice in his/her personal practice file. The essential parts of this material ware then selected and presented to the co-students and supervisors in a seminar. At the end of the ‘In-Training Student-Teaching’ -period the practice experiences are used as a basis for a portfolio, which can be used later, for example, when applying for a post.

‘Orientative Teaching Practice’ (2 credits)

‘Orientative Teaching Practice’ is carried out in the municipal comprehensive schools in Savonlinna during the second half of the first year.

The goals of the ‘Orientative Teaching Practice’ are that the student:

– practices the basic skills needed in a teaching and learning situation (i.e. aims, structure and assessment of a learning situation, working methods) in respect of different learning abilities of the pupils,
– begins the reflective self-assessment process (learning exercises), and
– familiarises him/herself with the teacher’s entire working field (learning exercises).

Before the ‘Orientative Teaching Practice’ students are expected to have taken the courses ‘Didactics I’ and ‘Psychology of Educational Organisations’. Pupil observation included in the ‘Psychology of Educational Organisations’ is carried out during this practice period.

The didactic practicum that is a part of the course ‘Didactics 1’ gives insight into the structure of a lesson and its organising in practice through analysing the teaching events. In addition to studies in education a student begins studies in the comprehensive school curriculum subjects and topics during the first half of the first year.

The practice consists of a planning period (one week), implementation periods, counselling events at school, the headmaster’s information and counselling meetings as well as of a practice assessment seminar. In practice, activities include individual teaching, target-oriented teaching observation, participating in counselling and carrying out learning exercises. The practice period is supervised by the school’s headmaster and tutored by appointed class teachers at the practice schools.

Practice and learning exercise report are graded as follows: passed / to be supplemented / failed.

‘Basic Teaching Practice’

The first part of the ‘Basic Teaching Practice’ is carried out in the University Practice School during the second half of the second year. The goals of the ‘Basic Teaching Practice’ are that the student:

– familiarises him/herself with teaching in two of the comprehensive school curriculum subjects,
– learns to evaluate his/her personal development as a teacher and internalises the reflective way of thinking, for example with the help of certain exercise material,
– familiarises him/herself with formulating the goals of teaching and learning, as well as with different methods of teaching, and
– learns to analyse all aspects of the teacher’s work, for example through certain
learning exercises.

The first part of the ‘Basic Teaching Practice’ is preceded by and integrated with basic studies in education as well as varying studies in the curriculum subjects in accordance with an individual practice plan.

The curriculum for the first half of the second year includes e.g. a course in ‘Cognitive Structures and Processes in Learning’. During the second half students attend e.g. the following courses: ‘Basic Course in Special Education’, ‘Primary Education’, ‘Ethics and Teacher’s work’ and ‘Social Psychology of Education’. ‘Social Psychology of Education’ includes some learning exercises that are carried out during the practice period and discussed later in a seminar.

The first part of the ‘Basic Teaching Practice’ is carried out mainly in pairs. The practice consists of both individual and simultaneous teaching, target-oriented teaching observation and familiarising oneself with teaching technology, special education in the practice school and the school’s club activities as well as carrying out the given learning exercises.

The practice period is supervised by the lecturers in didactics and education as well as by the teachers of the practice school.

The practice and learning exercise reports are graded as follows: passed – to be supplemented – failed.

‘Basic Teaching Practice’, 2nd part (2 credits)

The second part of the ‘Basic Teaching Practice’ is carried out in the University Practice School during the first half of the fourth year. ‘Basic Teaching Practice’ includes:

– at first, teaching practice in two curriculum subjects; later,
– practising the whole teacher’s day with special reference to primary instruction in mother tongue as well as streaming and integration of instruction, and
– familiarising oneself with the educational goals for the training class and carrying them out in practice.

Special attention is paid to familiarity with the pupils and planning of teaching entities (periods).

The second part of the ‘Basic Teaching Practice’ is preceded by and integrated with ‘Didactics 2’ and minor subject studies.

The practice includes activities as in the first part of the ‘Basic Teaching Practice’. In the second part, students also prepare an integrated plan for the teaching period. A self-assessment report is written on the basis of the provided material.

The practice is supervised by the lecturers in didactics and education as well as by the teachers of the practice school.

Practice is graded as follows: passed / to be supplemented / failed.

‘Advanced Student Teaching’ (4 credits)

‘Advanced Student Teaching’ is carried out in the University Practice School during the first and second halves of the fourth year as two teaching periods.

In ‘Advanced Student Teaching’ special emphasis is put on enhancing the trainees’ own teacherhood and better understanding of a school as a functioning whole. Counselling and self-assessment are based on, for example, the objectives mentioned below.

The goals of the ‘Advanced Student Teaching’ include:

– independent practice in all aspects of the teacher’s work together with other trainees,
– practising and implementation of reflective teaching, and
– familiarising oneself with a school community and its operations as an
organisation.

During the fourth year students take advanced studies in education as well as some minor studies. Exercises on the working community that are part of the third year course ‘Psychology of Educational Organisations’ are complemented during this practice.

In both teaching periods students give 25 – 30 lessons and carry out other duties of a class teacher. Practice is carried out particularly in those subjects in which the university have specialised lecturers in didactics.

During the practice students prepare a plan of action for the training class together with other trainees in that class.

In addition to comprehensive practice of the teacher’s work, students write an essay with self-assessment on their practice.

During their practice, students draw up a sample portfolio that is based on a working portfolio. The sample portfolio is then presented to other teacher trainees in the class as well as to the supervisors.

The practice is supervised by lecturers in didactics and education as well as by the teachers of the practice school.

Practice is graded as follows: passed / to be supplemented / failed.