The Ten-Week Extended Practicum is the heart of the UBC BEd experience. During this challenging experience, teacher candidates take what they have learned and apply it in the classroom. The extended practicum provides teacher candidates with opportunities to demonstrate that they are capable of assuming the responsibilities of a beginning teacher.
There are three roles that school advisors play as part of the ongoing mentoring process. Initially, school advisors are consulting, offering suggestions and assisting in planning. Next, school advisors go into a collaborating mode, where direct instruction from the mentor is decreased in favour of a more open exchange of ideas. Finally, school advisors step into the role of coaching, where the teacher candidate is more or less carrying the ball, checking in with the school advisor but taking on the role of teacher without much from the mentor in the way of suggestions. (Lipton, Laura; and Wellman, Bruce.Mentoring Matters: A Practical Guide to Learning-Focused Relationships. Arlington, MA: Miravia LLC, 2001.)
The goals of the extended practicum are as follows:
- Teacher candidates attend a practicum of sufficient duration to demonstrate that they can independently plan, implement, and evaluate instruction in the manner expected of a beginning teacher.
- Immersion into teaching is gradual, permitting teacher candidates to assume increasing responsibility as they demonstrate proficiency.
- Within the framework of an extended practicum, teacher candidates participate in a variety of teaching and observational experiences.
- Teacher candidates are involved in the assessment of their own teaching practice.
- The practicum provides opportunities for teacher candidates to systematically and analytically reflect upon teaching in a professional and educational community.
- Because of the pivotal part they play in the preparation of teacher candidates for the profession, faculty and school advisors continually reflect on the nature of their own responsibilities.