TRANSITIONING EARLY FIELD EXPERIENCES FOR PRESERVICE TEACHERS INTO ONLINE OPPORTUNITIES IN TIMES OF CRISIS
University of Northern Colorado (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
This presentation examines how one co-curricular teacher preparation program connected first year teacher candidates to English language learners and their families during the COVID19 pandemic. The presentation supports the conference themes by exploring how pre-service teachers, who are also pursuing an endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Education, worked with the program director and local CLD teachers to engage young English language learners (ELLs) and their families in weekly online Read Alouds.
As a result of the pandemic, it is estimated that over 55 million children missed out on in-person education in 124,000 U.S. public and private schools . As school closures endured during COVID19 access to online, learning while engaging for mainstream middle-class students, was not an equitable option for all students, and especially for underrepresented, minority and culturally linguistically diverse students. A recent analysis  found that “40% of African American students and 30% of Hispanic students in U.S. K12 schools received no online instruction during COVID-induced school shutdowns, compared to 10% of whites.”
Specifically, we examine the transformative design  of one Early Field Experience (EFE)  and explore how it potentially changes the status quo for future teachers and supports current educators through varied field experiences . The research addresses three interrelated questions: 1. How was the online field experience designed? 2. What types of learning did the pre-service teachers experience? 3. What are the implications of this project for early field experiences?
Using a qualitive case study approach  and data gathered from the teacher candidates’ written reflections and a focus group, we examine how the early field experiences impacted professional development. Informed by current teacher quality standards for CLD and the professional standards for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), data were analyzed and coded using thematic and discourse analytic approaches for recurring themes and relationships that exemplify teacher candidates’ learning.
Findings for the first question illustrate how the online EFE was founded on High Impact Practices , and how the partnership evolved, including how local teachers trained future teachers in virtual read aloud strategies. For question two, we review examples of preservice teachers’ reflections on delivering the Read Alouds and illustrate how their learning increased their professional knowledge, teacher identities and commitment to advocacy for English learners. We conclude the final question with a consideration of how this early field experience constitutes a replicable and adaptable model for other schools, not only during remote learning, but potentially post-pandemic.
This early field experience successfully illustrates how teacher preparation programs can bring together pre-service and in-service teachers to collaboratively “advocate for ELLs and their families, engaging in self-assessment and reflection…” . We invite audience discussion about the model, as well challenges and successes for teacher preparation programs with EFE, especially those designed to not only benefit candidates’ professional development but also to meaningfully serve K12 English learners, schools, and communities.
Keywords: Teacher preparation program, pre-service teachers, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Education, COVID, Early Field Experience (EFE).