Elementary & Middle Years Practicum

Winter Term 1

Winter Term 1: September to December

Practicum Preparation
Seminars Terms 1 & 2 on Campus

Seminars are conducted during EDUC 315 and EDUC 321/323. They may take place in school districts as well as on campus and provide a forum for teacher candidates and faculty advisors to explore and discuss:

  • Planning for teaching and learning
  • Instructional models and strategies
  • Creating engaging and supportive learning environments
  • Communication skills
  • Other topics that arise from the practicum experiences

EDUC 315 – Weekly Visits & Two-Week Practicum

EDUC 315 provides teacher candidates opportunities to first observe and then gradually engage in leading teaching activities through weekly one-day visits and a two-week practicum early in the school year. Weekly visits for EDUC 315 continue until the end of Winter Term 1.

The school placements for EDUC 315 usually become the settings for EDUC 321/323 and the certifying practicum, EDUC 418/419. Teacher candidates are encouraged to observe various classrooms and settings throughout the school in addition to those of their school advisors.

EDUC 315 Expectations

Typically, elementary & middle years teacher candidates observe for the first few days and then begin gradually engaging in teaching activities. The focus for teacher candidates is on cultivating professional relationships and understandings toward teaching, learning, inquiry and reflection.

The EDUC 315 experience will vary from school to school.

Elementary & middle years teacher candidates are expected to take part in several of the following activities during the weekly visits and the two-week practicum:

  • Review school health and safety protocols.
  • Observe in classrooms at many grade levels.
  • Learn about the philosophy and culture of the school.
  • Become familiar with the school library and resources.
  • Observe students at work and at play in a variety of contexts (e.g., classroom, gymnasium, playground).
  • Engage with the school community (e.g., students, teachers, staff and parents/guardians).
  • Learn about the philosophy and culture of the school.
  • Offer assistance with extracurricular activities.
  • Lead classroom activities with other teacher candidates or with the classroom teachers.
  • Engage with individuals or small groups of students.
  • Design lessons/activities to teach to small groups or the whole class.
  • Team teach a lesson with the support of the school advisor.
  • Discuss observations and experiences with school and faculty advisors.
  • Participate in seminars with school and/or district personnel (e.g., teacher-librarian, principal, district coordinators).
  • Begin to set goals for professional development.

During the second week of the two-week practicum, an appropriate minimum teaching workload of 20% (one hour per day) is assigned. The EDUC 315 experience will vary from school to school. Teacher candidates are required to prepare and discuss planning for teaching activities or lessons in advance with their school and faculty advisors. If supported by all advisors, teacher candidates are welcome to teach more during this time.

Weekly visits for EDUC 315 resume after the two-week practicum and ends with Winter Term 1. School advisors and teacher candidates engage in dialogue about the units, themes, and topics for which teacher candidates will be responsible during the certifying practicum (EDUC 418/419/495).

Teacher candidates have opportunities to consult with the Education Library and teacher education mentors and access resources and events to prepare for practicum.

EDUC 315 Grading Policy

Evaluation for EDUC 315 is based on observed performance in the above activities, demonstration of professionalism, suitability, and on full attendance.

Although satisfactory performance in both academic coursework and in practicum placements is a prerequisite to advancement, it is not the sole criterion in the consideration of the suitability of a teacher candidate for advancement or graduation. The Faculty and the host school reserve the right to require a teacher candidate to withdraw from the Faculty if they are considered to be unsuited to proceed with the study or practice of teaching. A teacher candidate may be considered unsuited to proceed with the study or practice of teaching if he or she engages in unprofessional conduct.

With the exception of those cases where the practicum has been terminated, a teacher candidate who withdraws from EDUC 315 prior to the two-week orientation practicum will have the course removed from their transcript.

With the exception of those cases where the practicum has been terminated, a teacher candidate who begins but withdraws prior to the scheduled conclusion of the two-week orientation practicum will receive a W (“Withdrawn”) standing for EDUC 315.

In those cases where a practicum has been terminated, or a teacher candidate has completed the two-week orientation practicum unsuccessfully, a grade of F (“Fail”) shall be assigned for EDUC 315.

Winter Term 2

Winter Term 2: January to March

EDUC 321/323 – Weekly Visits

In EDUC 321/323 (Term 2) teacher candidates return to their practicum schools, continuing to participate in the activities listed for EDUC 315. It is expected that teacher candidates will design and teach a few lessons during this period. This weekly experience is an opportunity to prepare for the certifying practicum and also try out ideas learned in teacher education courses, experiment with various strategies and receive support and feedback from their school and faculty advisors.

To demonstrate readiness for the certifying practicum, teacher candidates are expected to submit to their advisors overviews, unit plans, and related lessons.

Evaluation for EDUC 321/323 is based on observed performance in the above activities, demonstration of professionalism, suitability, and full attendance.

Winter Term 2: March to June

EDUC 418, 419 & 495 – Certifying Practicum

The certifying practicum provides teacher candidates with opportunities to demonstrate that they are capable of assuming the responsibilities expected of a beginning teacher.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of all coursework, including practicum, is expected prior to the certifying practicum.

The following principles provide guidance for the certifying practicum:

Teacher Candidates

  • Attend a practicum of sufficient duration to demonstrate that they can independently plan and implement instruction, and evaluate learning, in the manner expected of a beginning teacher.
  • Are gradually immersed into teaching, permitting them to assume increasing responsibility as they demonstrate proficiency.
  • Participate in a variety of teaching and observational experiences.
  • Engage in a feedback process with their school and faculty advisors.
  • Are involved in the assessment of their own teaching practice.
  • Are provided with opportunities during practicum to systematically and analytically reflect upon teaching in a professional and educational community.
Teaching Load

Teaching Load: All Programs

An 80% teaching load means 80% of any school day or 80% of the school week. Once teacher candidates have successfully completed a minimum of four consecutive weeks at an 80% teaching load:

  • Their teaching load may be reduced in the final week(s) in consultation with their advisors.
  • They assist or observe their school advisors in the classroom.

Throughout the certifying practicum, teacher candidates prepare lesson and unit plans according to the guidance of both school and faculty advisors, and they will share their lesson plans at least 24 hours in advance with advisor(s) so that changes may be made if necessary. Lesson preparation should be done during the school advisor’s assigned preparation block or outside of instructional time.

School Placement

School Placement

Placement decisions are made by the practicum program manager in collaboration with faculty advisors and school administrators. Teacher candidates should raise any questions/concerns about placements as early as possible in the program to their faculty advisor and/or the practicum program manager in the Teacher Education Office.

Practicum placements for the Extended practicum (EDUC 418/429/495) are in schools in the Lower Mainland and in selected locations throughout the province. The availability of placements in some areas may be limited and students must be prepared to accept placement for the two- and ten-week practica anywhere within 125 km of the UBC campus. Students make their own arrangements for and bear the cost of personal transportation and accommodation during practica.