Course work and field experiences are equally essential components of the Master of Arts in Education: Teacher Preparation Program. Coursework and field experiences are, in concert, geared to prepare candidates to become teacher as change agents who have significant impact on the academic success of their students through direct experiences with children and youth under the supervision of teacher-mentors in partner schools and university instructors. The candidate will complete field experiences each semester of enrollment, the first three semesters and summer in the form of practica in school and community settings, and the final two semesters through student teaching in general and deaf education. Field experiences are designed in ways that are integral to their program of studies, including meeting the requirements for licensure, and are directly linked with specific courses and/or a seminar each semester. They provide candidates with authentic experiences with which to apply content, concepts, and learning theory, and over time develop as critical thinkers, problem solvers, and agents of change. Over the course of five semesters and one summer, the candidate should expect to have a range of K-12 experiences, including experiences in deaf education and bilingual education as well as experiences in the area of general education focus (i.e., Early Childhood, Elementary, or Secondary). Reflection is an integral component of all field experiences, including student teaching, and candidates will be required to show evidence that they are able to critically reflect to improve as effective teachers. Weekly face-to-face and/or online seminars are conducted by university instructors to guide these reflections as well as to guide candidates in their practices and completion of required assessments for licensure. Additionally, during seminars, the candidates are guided in completion of the performance assessments that allow them to transition within the program, and ultimately be recommended for licensure through DC.
The foci of the first semester (Fall-1) of field experiences is on the home, school, and community, and candidates are afforded a broad range of experiences with families and community resources, and with visitation to various and diverse school settings with the DC Metro area. During the second semester of study (Spring-1), the focus of field experiences becomes the classroom. Candidates will have three rotating field experiences, each for a period of four weeks. The candidate will work in each classroom under the direction of the teacher-mentor, observing and assisting the teacher by working one-on-one or in small groups with students. Semester three (Fall-2) consists of two placements of six weeks each, and the candidates begin to apply their content and pedagogical knowledge in specific areas of teaching within the K-12 framework. Candidates will actively participate in the schools, teach and assess students, and reflect on their teaching and the students' learning. In the second spring semester or study, candidates will student teach in their general education content area-the first of two capstone experiences. Finally, during the fifth semester (Fall 3) of study, the candidate will student teach in deaf education, and will have an on-the-job option for completing this requirement. For both student teaching experiences, the candidate must be prepared to set up learning goals taking contextual factors under consideration, plan and assess learning affectively, and show evidence of and reflect upon their impact on the learning of every child. (Candidates who enter the program with general education degrees will complete one field experience and one semester of classroom-focused practicum followed by one semester of student teaching in deaf education.)