The following practicum and community field experience FAQs are directed to teacher candidates, and are provided here for school advisors and faculty advisors.
Where will I be placed for my school-based practicum?
For secondary teacher candidates, every effort is made to place you in one of two requested school districts; however, depending on your teachable subject area(s), it may not be possible to accommodate your placement requests.
Moreover, certain cohorts have designated practicum sites. Therefore, be prepared to accept the placement deemed appropriate by the Teacher Education Office.
Elementary & middle years teacher candidates select a cohort at the time of registration. Each cohort is assigned to particular geographic areas for practicum placements.
How do I submit a practicum placement request?
Elementary & Middle Years: Complete the practicum placement request form after registering in your cohort. In September, teacher candidates meet with cohort program managers and faculty advisors to discuss practicum placement preferences.
Secondary: Complete the practicum placement request form.
There will be seminars for both elementary & middle years and secondary teacher candidates in September with further information regarding practicum placements.
Note: there is no guarantee that teacher candidates will be placed in a preferred area.
Where will I be placed for my community field experience?
During the initial registration process, teacher candidates will select their preference for a field experience in an international, rural or local context. With limited international and rural placements, teacher candidates are also required to provide a list of 5 to 15 preferred local community partners. If there are more teacher candidate requests for a specific site than available placements, teacher candidates will be randomly selected. Based on this information, teacher candidates should be prepared to accept a placement deemed appropriate by the Faculty of Education.
May I arrange my practicum placement?
Under no circumstances may you make your own arrangements for a practicum placement.
If you are placed in a school whose employees include a close friend or relative, or where you have been an employee or a volunteer, or where a family member is a student, or from which you have graduated, or in a district where your parent or relative is an administrator, the practicum program manager must be alerted as soon as the placement is posted.
Which schools offer practicum placements?
School participation varies from year to year and is dependent upon school district, administrator and teacher interest.
What if I have special circumstances that could affect my practicum placement?
If you have special circumstances that need to be considered, notify the practicum program manager early in September.
Do school districts hire based on where the practicum took place?
Hiring practices vary with each school district based on application packages and the needs of the district. Districts are free to interview and hire teacher candidates from any of our cohorts, so practicum location does not restrict where teacher candidates may eventually apply or work.
Can I be used as a teacher-on-call during the extended practicum?
You may not be used as a teacher-on-call (substitute teacher) nor may you accept payment for work in the schools. In the event that a school advisor is absent, it is expected that a teacher-on-call or an appropriate replacement appointed by the principal will assume responsibility for the students in your assigned classroom.
Am I expected to teach ESL or English as Additional Language learners (EAL) during the extended practicum?
Given the demographics of many Canadian urban regions, including BC’s Lower Mainland, most teachers teach ELL students in their classrooms. This is part of the rationale for UBC’s LLED 353 (Teaching and Learning English as an Additional Language: Elementary) and LLED 360 (Classroom Discourses and Teaching English Language Learners: Secondary). It is worth noting that, for many of these learners, English may be one of several languages they use in addition to their home language.
Many of the strategies that teacher candidates learn include how to break down instruction into comprehensible “chunks”, how to invoke a variety of methods and modalities when imparting new content and language, and how to work with the diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds of one’s learners. The elementary & middle years’ LLED 352 – French as an Additional Language course shares similar strategies.
Am I responsible for working with students with diverse needs?
When working with a teacher who has instructional responsibility for students with diverse needs, you will assume similar responsibility.
How often should I expect to be observed by my faculty advisor?
Elementary & middle years and secondary faculty advisors usually observe their teacher candidates a minimum of once every two weeks.
Teacher candidates concerned about the level of supervision by their faculty advisors should contact the appropriate practicum program manager in the Teacher Education Office at the earliest opportunity.
Do faculty advisors have experience teaching in schools?
Faculty assigned to practicum supervision in the Bachelor of Education program must have experience in school-based teaching.
Policies and Guidelines
What if a labour dispute occurs during the practicum?
If a labour dispute affects the staff of the school where you are placed, the general rule is to respect and follow the actions of your school advisor as directed by the BC Teachers’ Federation. This applies to in-class duties as well as extracurricular activities. Where questions arise, you should contact your faculty advisor and/or the practicum program manager.
Teacher candidates are advised to continue to conduct themselves in a collegial manner with all members of the school community, including teachers, administrators, staff, students and parents.
What if I witness an instance of child abuse?
Anyone who has reason to believe that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected has a legal duty under the Child, Family and Community Service Act to report the matter to the Ministry of Children and Family Development (Phone: “310-1234” – no area code needed). Teacher candidates are also directed to report any instance of abuse or neglect to the school administration. Teacher candidates are encouraged to contact a program manager if the teacher candidate requires support of their own well-being.
Am I required to complete course requirements during the practicum?
You need to devote your full attention to the responsibilities of the practicum set by the school and faculty advisors. Courses may not be taken during the practicum. Similarly, you will not be required to undertake practicum duties during courses after practicum is completed.
Instructors will not require you to undertake assignments unrelated to the practicum. There will, however, be opportunities to make links between coursework and your developing practice as a teacher.
Can I work part-time during the practicum?
In order to give your full attention to practice teaching, it is strongly recommended that you not work during the practicum. Please note that employment will not be considered when making practicum arrangements or when evaluating practicum performance.
What if I am absent during a practicum?
Teacher candidates are expected to attend and participate fully in all practicum experiences according to the attendance guidelines. Those who are absent from the practicum may be expected to make up all absences. In some cases, absence from practicum may cause a delay in completion of the program. Faculty advisors and school personnel (school advisor(s), administration, office staff) and the Teacher Education Office must be informed about all absences. Use the online Absence Report Form to submit a report to the Teacher Education Office.
May I arrange for job interviews during the practicum?
You may miss one day of practicum for job interviews provided you inform your school advisor(s) and faculty advisor in advance. Where possible, interviews should be scheduled for weekends or after school hours. For more detailed information, please refer to the attendance guidelines.
What if I encounter serious personal or medical problems during the practicum?
Consultation with your school advisor(s), faculty advisor and practicum program manager is required. Teacher candidates who are in good standing and who are unable to continue the practicum because of extenuating circumstances may be granted a Standing Deferred (“SD”). Documentation such as a medical statement will be required to support consideration for the SD. Circumstances regarding bereavement should be discussed with the faculty advisor and practicum program manager. For more detailed information, please refer to the attendance guidelines.
When and under what conditions do I finish the practicum if I am granted a standing of ‘SD’?
In most cases, teacher candidates will return to complete the practicum in the same placement at the next available opportunity. This usually occurs in the fall of the following school year. You may be required to provide evidence (e.g., medical documents) indicating readiness to proceed.
Is it possible to withdraw from the extended practicum or community field experience with the standing of ‘W’?
Withdrawal from practicum is governed by the regulations regarding withdrawal. You may withdraw voluntarily, with due notice and courtesy to everyone involved, up to the mid-point of the practicum. The practicum program manager in the Teacher Education Office must approve your withdrawal. A standing of “W” may have implications for student loans and tuition fees. If applicable, it will be important to consult with an Enrolment Services Advisor.
If I am granted a ‘W’ on the extended practicum or community field experience, may I take the practicum or community field experience again?
Teacher candidates who withdraw from a certifying practicum (EDUC 418, 419, 421, 495 or 496) or community field experience (EDUC 430) are granted only one more opportunity to repeat that practicum or community field experience and must wait until the next scheduled certifying practicum or community field experience (see UBC Calendar/Bachelor of Education/Academic Policies and Regulations).
Teacher candidates will meet with the program manager in the TEO to review their options.
What are the consequences if I am asked to leave my practicum (EDUC 315, 321, 323, 399, 418, 419, 421, 495, 496)?
When, in the judgment of the Faculty of Education, in consultation with the schools hosting their practicum, teacher candidates do not make satisfactory progress, their practicum may be terminated. Those whose practicum is terminated or do not complete their practicum satisfactorily, and who qualify for neither a supplemental practicum nor a deferred practicum, will be assigned a failing grade and will be required to discontinue or to withdraw from the program.
Teacher candidates will meet with the practicum program manager in the TEO to review their options. See the section titled “Concerns about a Teacher Candidate’s Performance” for further information.
Withdrawing from the practicum may have implications for loans and tuition fees. If applicable, it will be important to consult with an Enrolment Services Advisor.
How many times am I permitted to repeat the practicum or community field experience?
Teacher candidates who fail or withdraw from a practicum or community field experience are granted only one more opportunity to repeat that practicum or community field experience (see UBC Calendar/Bachelor of Education/Academic Policies and Regulations).
If I am unsuccessful on a practicum, what is required before I would be permitted to attempt another practicum?
If you withdraw from or fail a practicum due to unsuccessful performance, you will receive documentation from the TEO outlining what is required for re-instatement. In order to be re-instated, you must provide evidence of having met all set conditions. Once you are re-instated, you will be required to successfully complete an orientation practicum in addition to a certifying practicum.
When is a supplemental practicum granted?
The Faculty’s policy on extending the practicum as a supplemental practicum states:
The Faculty may prescribe a supplemental practicum, not to exceed six weeks, for teacher candidates who, at the conclusion of the certifying practicum, have made significant progress but who have not attained the required standard of teaching performance.
If have completed your extended practicum and your faculty advisor has recommended that you be granted a supplemental practicum by TEO, please see below.
- Contact the practicum program manager to discuss your situation.
- Obtain an application form from the practicum program manager.
- Complete the application and return it to the TEO.
The practicum program manager will schedule the supplemental practicum and inform you.
Can I appeal a decision regarding my practicum?
In accordance with university regulations, you may appeal decisions regarding practicum. Appeals should be initiated as early as possible. Appeals should be directed first to the appropriate practicum program manager. Often an informal resolution can be achieved.
If not resolved, appeals should be directed in writing to the Associate Dean, Teacher Education who will review the appeal and forward it, as appropriate, to the Committee on Curriculum, Admissions, Standings, and Appeals (CCASA). Arrangements will then be made for CCASA to hear your appeal in a timely manner.
If the appeal is still not resolved, you may, finally, appeal to the Senate Committee on Appeals and Academic Standing.