Saint Leo University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 7157-7161
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
During this session the presenters will discuss strategies linking leadership theory and field experiences for students enrolled in an online state approved education leadership program. The presenters will discuss the duality of completing an online course and field-based experiences to acquire the instructional, operational and school leadership skills necessary for Florida licensure. The presenters will share exemplars of student application assignments, reflective journals and field experience video.

Cordeiro and Smith-Sloan (1995) identified the importance of linking theory and practice in education field experiences. State Board of Education Rule 6A-5.081 “provides for field experiences in K-12 schools designed in collaboration with Florida public schools or school districts, during which program knowledge is applied and candidates are provided with opportunities to demonstrate required competencies.” The Department of Graduate Studies at Saint Leo University has developed a state approved online education leadership program. In compliance with State Board rules and under the guidance of school-based mentors and university faculty, graduate students complete two semester-long field experience courses linking relevant learner experiences to leadership theory and online course content.

Assignments include completing weekly reflective log and leadership modules; and technology based presentations for parents and best practice math and reading workshops for teachers. Students begin each course with an online introductory self- identification power point presentation as a vehicle for the professor to make individual connections with students.

Cordeiro and Smith-Sloan (1995) and Tubbs (2008) emphasized on the importance of reflection as an important component of education leadership field experiences. All students provide evidence of completing 120 – 150 hours of field experience with mentor support. Each student works closely works with his or her mentor - a high performing school leader - to complete the experiences; university faculty guide the student through the experience linking it with theory. Using online reflective journals in private discussion forums on online conferencing tools, students document their experiences and engage in interactive dialogue with university faculty. Students’ descriptions of events and experiences are clarified and learning linked to relevant experiences and theory.
Using integrate skills from previous technology course, students develop a presentation to communicate with parents in a leadership role. The presentation provides course participants experience in preparing, presenting to and engaging parents. Principals have asked, and students have presented their presentations at parent meetings and uploaded them on school websites. For many of the graduate students, the best practices workshop is their first creation of a workshop, agenda and professional development activities that incorporate high-level skill and learning. The assignment provides the students the opportunity to develop, implement and make available a job-embedded research based staff development tool designed to increase teachers’ instructional knowledge and skills. Course assessments include the mentor summative evaluations and faculty assessment of the application assignments.
Technology, field experience, leadership theory.