Community Partner Guide

This guide is for community partners collaborating with the Faculty of Education to offer field experience for teacher candidates following their qualifying “long” practicum.

The guide provides:

  • The skills and experience of teacher candidates
  • Case studies (examples) of teacher candidate projects from past CFEs
  • What to consider prior to the CFE
  • Starting out on the three-week CFE
  • Setting expectations
  • During the field experience
  • Completing the field experience – wrap up and next steps

Goals and Learning Objectives of EDUC 430: the Community Field Experience

Goals for this field experience include developing in beginning teachers an enriched awareness and expanded understanding of the diverse settings in which education occurs.

Teacher candidates will be encouraged to:

  • observe in a variety of educational settings
  • participate in aspects of non-formal education which might inform their classroom practice
  • recognize and articulate educational community links to local public schools
  • develop questions to frame an inquiry into “places of learning” outside schools
  • collaborate with peers to share observations and develop questions

Skills and Experience of Teacher Candidates

Teacher candidates in EDUC 430 have completed a Bachelor’s degree and are completing their Bachelor of Education. They bring a broad range of skills and knowledge to their field placement. In general terms, a teacher candidate can be described as someone with:

  • Analytical skills
  • Collaboration skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Mentoring skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Planning Skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Teaching skills
  • Time management skills

In addition, many will have specific skills or knowledge related to prior experiences. For example some will have knowledge of IT systems, additional languages, or the creative arts. Community partners should discuss skills and prior experience with their teacher candidate during the Community Partner Day held yearly in either January or February.

What a Teacher Candidate Could Do on the CFE

The case studies below provide examples of different types of teacher candidate experiences.

1. Teacher candidates serve within the existing structure of the community partner.

Case study example: Burnaby Provincial Resource Programs (PRP)

The Burnaby PRP are schools operating from two facilities: the Burnaby Youth Custody Centre (BYCC), and the Maples Adolescent Centre (MAC).

Teacher candidates placed in the PRP for the Enhanced Practicum assist with the delivery of classes in both schools.  They also have first-hand experience with the process of student assessment--a major thrust at the Maples—as well as the day-to-day operations at the Burnaby Youth Custody Centre, the primary youth correctional institution in the Lower Mainland.

2. Teacher candidates work with a community partner to create a new component of a partner’s work.

Case study example: UBC Orchard Garden

The Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC recently created the Orchard Garden, a working garden behind their building. In the spring of 2012, they helped pilot the Enhanced Practicum by hosting teacher candidates interested in using gardens as classroom spaces. During the three-week program the garden was explored for its pedagogical potential. At the same time, the teacher candidates participated in Think&EatGreen@Schools, a local public school program working with classroom teachers and their students in school gardens. Based on this experience, the Orchard Garden group will host teacher candidates again in the spring of 2013.

3. Teacher candidates design educational tools that will be delivered by the community partner.

Case study example: Stanley Park Ecology Society The Stanley Park Ecological Society (SPES) – The SPES’s school programs team designs and delivers curriculum-based programs for young people and develops resources for science-shy teachers.

During spring 2012 SPES’s education team hosted two teacher candidates who developed program content as part of the Enhanced Practicum pilot. Initially, the host expressed concern that although the teacher candidates were excellent teachers, they didn’t have the background knowledge necessary to assist effectively in program delivery. At the end of the practicum the host wrote: “The experience was very rewarding for me, and for the teacher candidates. I feel strongly that this experience is aligned with our society’s mission of ‘connecting people to nature’, and is an important aspect of environmental education.”

4. Teacher candidates partner in a school setting substantially different from their qualifying “long” practicum.

Case study example: secondary teacher candidates participate in elementary immersion

Having completed their qualifying practicum in a secondary school, teacher candidates (e.g., History, Biology, Art, French, Music) completed EDUC 430 in a various elementary schools. Some teacher candidates took this opportunity to see how their teachable subjects are integrated in the generalist elementary model; French teacher candidates were presented with the valuable opportunity to enter a French Immersion environment in the elementary grades; and music specialists were given the chance to experience the life of the itinerant music teacher—a position many of them might be filling at one point in their careers.

Planning for EDUC 430: the Community Field Experience

Community partners are asked to provide teacher candidates with educationally-oriented activities and responsibilities that help demonstrate how teaching and learning can occur in diverse teaching and learning contexts. This often requires advanced planning on the part of the community partner. The following is a list of key questions that a community partners can ask themselves in preparation of their teacher candidate.

  • How will the work of the teacher candidate(s) support our mission/priorities?
  • If the teacher candidate is assigned a project, is it well-defined?  Is it in line with their learning objectives, skill-set(s), and interest(s)?
  • What can feasibly be completed in three weeks?
  • Who is the available staff contact person for the Teacher Education Office (TEO) to facilitate this field experience throughout its duration, including preparation, service, and reflection?
  • To what extent will our staff and organization be involved in the development and implementation of this project (i.e. how many staff or staff hours can we dedicate to this project)?
  • What resources will be required for this project?  Do we have the space?
  • How might next year’s EDUC 430 teacher candidates build on this year’s work?
  • Will the activities/project/responsibilities fit within the time constraints of the 3-weeks?
  • Will students need to be made aware of any extra costs and documents (e.g., TB Shots, First Aid Training, Criminal Record Checks)?

Timeline/Placement Process

Taking an Asset-Based Approach

In setting the scene for the field experience we encourage the community partner to focus on their organization’s assets. Emphasize the strengths within the organization and the community and help the teacher candidate(s) think through how they can capitalize on these during their field experience. Some asset-based questions that teacher candidates have found helpful to discuss before they start their experience include:

  • What is your organization’s vision?  What is it seeking to accomplish?
  • What are the strengths of your organization?
  • What experience and/or expertise do you have?
  • Which networks do you belong to?
  • Which populations do you serve?
  • Where do you feel you are making a difference or are having success?
  • How do you see the teacher candidate contributing to your vision?
  • What tools or skills could the teacher candidate gain by taking part in your organization?

Community Partner Day

Teacher candidates will contact their community partners to set up the initial visit on a designated day in January or February. During this visit, we recommend that community partners:

  • give a brief orientation to your organization’s mission, current priorities, programs, relevant policies and procedures;
  • give a tour of your facility, so they may learn about the overall work;
  • notify the staff at your organization about when the teacher candidates will visit (virtually/electronically or face-to-face) so everyone is greeted with respect and enthusiasm;
  • introduce key staff members assisting with the project;
  • sit down with the teacher candidate to discuss the overall goals for the field experience, as well as plans for regular check-ins and any milestones to be reached along the way.

This visit will help the community partner and the teacher candidate(s) articulate and share the reasons why each are involved in this experience. At a high level it will allow for the exchange of ideas, build a deeper understanding of each other’s motivating factors, establish ground rules and trust, and begin the process of aligning the work to best meet both the community partner’s needs and the teacher candidates’ learning outcomes. At an operational level it will allow for an understanding to be created about expectations for communication, project delivery and evaluation.

The following are examples a community partner could use to guide discussions with a teacher candidate around expectations:

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself — your background, and your future goals
  • What skills and knowledge do you bring to this field experience and how would you like to use them?
  • What are you hoping to learn during this field experience?
  • What are you hoping to achieve by the end of these three weeks?
  • Will there be tangible ‘outputs’ of the field experience?  - e.g. resources, tools, a report.
  • How do you like to collaborate? (Describe how you plan to oversee the role but then agree an approach that works for both you and the teacher candidate.)
  • How often will we check-in and how?
  • How will we deal with any challenges along the way?

Travel Dates

The community field experience is preceded by the teacher candidates' extended (or 10-week) practicum and followed by program coursework. Teacher candidates are required to plan departure and return flights that do not shorten their extended practicum or make them late for the coursework following their CFE. Teacher candidates are strongly advised to not leave their practicum early, or return to their coursework late, as this can negatively impact a strong 10-week practicum report or result in repeating a course.

During the CFE: Making the Most of the Three Weeks Together

During the CFE, there are many activities that community partners are encouraged to do with their teacher candidates to maximize the teacher candidates time and ensure they are meeting expectations. Examples include:

  • Hold regular check-ins — at least once a week. Check-ins can be used to provide feedback on the teacher candidate’s performance and to highlight issues that may arise.
  • Encourage teacher candidates to note down their questions or observations and bring them to check-ins.
  • Be available to answer questions.
  • Keep track of progress towards the final goal of the field experience. Sometimes the actual work might take a different course from what you originally planned. If this happens, discuss the situation with your teacher candidate and consider revising the goal.
  • Enable and encourage independence while participating in your organization’s objectives/activities.
  • Note teacher candidate contributions to the program and what kinds of qualities they bring.
  • Note teacher candidate’s learning and demonstrating of new ideas, information and skills.
  • Faculty advisors will provide you with their contact information (email address & phone number). Please contact the faculty advisor with any questions or comments.
  • You also have contact information for the community field experience program manager—please feel free to contact them with additional questions and comments

What hours are teacher candidates expected to work?

Over the course of a three-week CFE, teacher candidates are required to be engaged for a total of 15 days. Moreover, community partners are encouraged to keep teacher candidates engaged for a minimum of five hours per day, to a maximum of 8 hours per day.
The exact dates and working times, and location of these working times, are negotiated between the partner and teacher candidate (see also the section: "Travel Dates").

For example, in some placements such as after-school programs, the teacher candidates might be working from 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Some placements may include weekends or evenings; others will involve regular business or school hours. Teacher candidates will have to adapt to their community partner's hours.

The workday protocol should be established with the community partner on the first day. It is not appropriate for the teacher candidate to tell the community partner that he/she only works “teacher hours”.  At the same time, and because UBC TCs' time with a partner are governed by the regulations of Workers Compensation Board, if a partner runs a program where a teacher candidate works for more than 8 hours (e.g., some outdoor camps), the partner must clear all 'overtime' with the teacher candidate.

Teacher candidates are required to alert their community partner and faculty advisor as soon as the teacher candidate knows they will not be able to arrive at their CFE on time (e.g., buses not running, traffic jam, illness, etc.).

Teacher candidates are also required to discuss any required time off with their program manager and faculty advisor well in advance of the CFE start date. Teacher candidates must also ensure their faculty advisor, community partner, and the CFE program manager are aware of any missed days.

All missed time must be made up before the teacher candidate will receive a Pass/Fail grade for the CFE (EDUC 430). Teacher candidates will discuss options with the CFE program manager if the time cannot be made up (e.g., student returning from an international CFE).

Completing the CFE: Wrap Up and Next Steps

Past CFE community partners have indicated that the end of the CFE comes very quickly. They recommend that current partners plan ahead to meet with teacher candidates and:

  • Thank the teacher candidate for their time, energy and contributions.
  • Explain the specific impact the teacher candidate made through their field experience.
  • Offer the teacher candidate feedback – where did they excel?  Where is there room for growth?
  • Complete the online CFE Community Partner Feedback Form. Community partners will receive a link to this form via email.
  • Reflect on the experience and draw out the learning. Ask the teacher candidate(s): How did you apply your classroom learning during this field experience?  Did you achieve your learning objectives? What was reinforced for you?  What surprised you?  What skills or tools might you bring with you to the classroom?
  • Ask the teacher candidate(s) for feedback: What went well? What might be improved?

Following the CFE – Reconnecting with the TEO

  • Stay in touch with the TEO and give feedback about how to improve future experiences.
  • Discuss future involvement in the CFE. Could this year’s project lead on to future opportunities?
  • In June, complete a new CFE Recruitment Survey for the following year. This survey is emailed to existing partners each summer.

For further information

We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact the Teacher Education Office for further information, to pass along feedback, and to have your questions answered.

Tel: 604 822 5242