UK’s field and clinical experiences represent the heart of our education preparation program and provide a wide array of opportunities for teacher candidates and other education professionals to refine, hone, and strengthen practice. Each semester the Office of Clinical Practices and School Partnerships makes approximately 1,500 field and clinical placements which span programs related to initial and advanced certification. Classes requiring a field or clinical component serve as an integral part of all professional education courses, augmenting specific relevant issues. These classes are listed in the Field & Clinical Course Requirements Chart (PDF).
Field and clinical experiences are designed to provide teacher candidates with opportunities to view the entire scope of teaching in classroom settings and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective practitioners. If you are requesting a field or clinical placement, please read and follow the guidelines below carefully.
Field and clinical experiences begin with observations and build gradually to full responsibility as a student teacher under the close supervision of expert teachers and university supervisors. In the context of actual classrooms, expert professionals from schools in our partner network help candidates become reflective, effective decision-makers. These carefully planned experiences are woven into every aspect of the teacher education curriculum.
Teacher candidates fulfill state and university field experience certification requirements prior to beginning student teaching in a variety of ways, as noted in the Field & Clinical Course Requirements Chart (PDF). Students in classes which require a field or clinical component must adhere to the following guidelines.
When submitting applications:
- For Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) placements, candidates will complete and submit an online application. They should complete the Liability Release Form (PDF) for early field experience placements and return it to their course instructor.
- Most assignments are made in the Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS). If candidates wish to request a specific FCPS, they may do so from the drop-down box on the online application. Requests for a specific teacher should be entered in the box beside the school. Grade level requests can be typed in the Special Request box. Please note that we cannot guarantee that requests will be granted given the high volume of placements made each semester. Per request of the district office, candidates may not contact any teacher in FCPS to arrange a placement on their own; nor may they begin a placement without written confirmation of approval.
- Fayette County Public Schools requires all students in field experience placements to complete a volunteer application before entering the schools.
- Candidates may be allowed to arrange their own placement outside the FCPS system, but only if they have permission from the instructor. If candidates are seeking an out-of-county or private school placement, they will complete paper copy Form A. They will need to secure approval from all parties and take the placement form to the first class observation. Both the school principal and the supervising teacher must sign the form. Make two copies of the signed form, give one copy to the supervising teacher and bring the original form and the signed Liability Release Form (PDF) to the instructor.
When you receive confirmation of your placement:
- Contact the supervising teacher by e-mail or phone to introduce oneself, confirm the placement and arrange an initial meeting. During the initial visit, candidates will need to agree on the exact days and hours for classroom observations. If you choose to call, keep in mind that the supervising teacher might be in class, so it may be necessary to leave a name and phone number for him/her to return your call. If you do not hear from the teacher within one week of receiving the assignment, notify the instructor or the Office of Clinical Practices.
- Keep all appointments and arrive at school promptly each time you visit. If you find it necessary to change an appointment, or if you cannot fulfill your field placement observations, call the school office to notify the teacher of your change in plans.
- The first time you visit the school introduce yourself to the principal and office staff. Ask what policies and procedures you should follow when visiting, especially with regard to checking in and out of the school. Similarly, when you visit the classroom for the first time, be sure to ask about classroom policies and express appreciation to the teacher for agreeing to work with you. Proceed with your assignments efficiently with as little disruption to the class as possible.
- At the end of the placement period, express your appreciation in a letter to the supervising teacher. He/she has volunteered time and talent to provide you with a good experience.
- Direct questions about your field placement requirements to your instructor. Discuss problems with your instructor or with the Director of Clinical Practices in a confidential setting to maintain professional decorum. Remain objective in your evaluation of the experience. Generally speaking, negative criticism is unwarranted and should not be offered. Negative comments are only valuable when all aspects of the situation are understood.
- Be sure to maintain a professional demeanor at all times and adhere to school guidelines especially regarding dress. As a representative of the university and the profession, you are entrusted with upholding the spirit of professional cooperation that exists between school and college.
For additional information, contact Martin Mills.
The University of Kentucky is committed to preparing candidates for the teaching profession who use research to inform instructional decisions and reflect about their practice to promote high level learning for students they serve. To that end, and in order to meet certification regulations and program accreditation standards, candidates complete an array of carefully planned field and clinical experiences in diverse settings as they progress through the program. These experiences are systematically integrated into the teacher education program curriculum.
Achieving Diversity in Each Candidate’s Field Placement Profile
To meet the program standard that all candidates have diverse field experiences, program faculty members carefully consider each candidate’s previous placements as a basis for making placement decisions. Placement coordinators analyze placement and school demographic data using the database system which is maintained by the Office of Clinical Practices and School Partnerships (OCP). The database shows placements for all candidates as they progress through the program. This placement procedure ensures that during their program of studies, candidates complete field assignments in several different settings working with populations that represent different kinds of diversity including cultural, economic, ethnic, linguistic, and special needs.
Teacher candidates must complete the intensive field and clinical experiences (those associated with practicum and student teaching) at sites that are part of the Partner Network. Candidates are informed of this policy when they apply to the program. Partner Network sites are carefully selected by the program faculty that is associated with each candidate’s certification area. Most sites are clustered in central Kentucky; however, some sites are located outside the area in other countries. Partners in these sites participate in our international student teaching initiative. Sites are selected using specific criteria that are directly linked to program goals, accreditation standards, and certification regulations. The list of approved Partner Network sites is maintained by the Office of Clinical Practices and School Partnerships.
For additional information, contact Martin Mills.