Policies & Expectations
practicum experiences and teacher induction
Academic Eligibility and Prerequisites for Full Practicum or Clinical Experience
Students must meet the following prerequisites to gain approval to register for and to begin the full practicum experience:
- Grade point average of B or better (3.0 or above) for graduate students
- Grade point average of 2.5 or better for undergraduate students
- Satisfactory completion of required pre-practica or waiver from the Director of Practicum Experiences & Teacher Induction
- Recommendation for full practica by the pre-practicum field supervisor(s)
- Completion of 80% of the course work related to required Education courses, including methods courses in the content area and courses required for Initial Licensure
- Students may NOT Register for or begin a Practicum if there are any outstanding INCOMPLETED COURSE REQUIREMENTS appearing on the Academic Record from previous semesters.
Appealing a Grade for a Practicum Experience
All grade appeals must be made in writing to the Associate Director of Practicum Experiences & Teacher Induction within one week after the grade has been given. The Associate Director will contact the student to make an appointment to hear the request after the written appeal is received. If the appeal is not resolved with the Associate Director, the student may appeal to the Director. If the appeal is not resolved with the Director, the student may appeal to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Student Services.
Application to Practicum Experiences
Student teachers are required to formally apply to the Office of Practicum Experiences & Teacher Induction to complete a pre or full practicum. This application is used to track students in a sophisticated database that allows the Office to monitor diversity of settings as well as having the most current address for each student. Applications are available in the Practicum Office or online and are due the semester prior to practicum experience.
Attendance (pre & full and spring break)
Students are expected to be punctual for all practicum assignments. The University calendar is followed for pre-practicum assignments; the school calendar is followed for full practica and for clinical experiences. Occasionally, the Practicum Office requires students to attend class sessions or meetings on campus. These are scheduled and announced in advance of each semester and so should be planned for ahead of time.
Students completing full practicum student teaching in the spring are not permitted to take the BC spring break. These students will benefit from the two greater Boston area school breaks which are normally scheduled for one week in February and an additional week in April, and should plan their travel plans accordingly. Special requests for approval of spring break must be presented in writing to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Student Services.
Car Pooling & Parking Permits
Parking permits for students in the Lynch School will be awarded to undergraduate campus residents only each semester by the Associate Director of Practicum Experiences & Teacher Induction. Eligibility for parking stickers is based on the student's need to fulfill academic field requirements of pre-practicum, practicum or extended practicum, and is restricted to undergraduate campus residents. Students should complete a parking application and return it to the Practicum Office.
Although a willingness to car pool is not a requirement for obtaining a parking permit, preference will be given to students who are so willing. A list of students who receive parking permits through the Practicum Office will be listed in a "Drivers To School Sites" notebook available in the office. The list is provided to Lynch School student teachers for their convenience only. Boston College has no control over and makes no representation as to the driving or vehicles of listed students. No inference that the students listed herein are acting as agents or employees of Boston College should be drawn from the listing or the issuance of parking permits.
Criteria for Selection of Schools and Cooperating Teachers
Schools are selected based on school partnership agreements with the Lynch School of Education and successful past experiences based on student and supervisor evaluation. Schools must demonstrate a commitment to working in clusters with both pre and full practicum student teachers.
Students are expected to dress appropriately and in keeping with generally accepted policy of the placement school community.
Employment during Student Teaching
Graduate students may be contract teachers completing the requirements for a licensure area. Students must be working in the field in which they are seeking licensure.
Housing & Early Access and Extensions
Student teachers who require either early access or extensions to campus residences to fulfill their student teaching requirements should contact the Practicum Office for assistance in making these arrangements.
Many schools require immunization to student teach. It is the student's responsibility to handle this well in advance so the practicum experience will not be delayed.
Making Up Missed Days
Students who miss practicum experience days for any reason are required to make them up. Clinical faculty and graduate supervisors may make recommendations to the Directors regarding individual students.
Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse
In the event student teachers suspect child abuse, or are aware of child abuse by anyone in the school or community, they should report the complaint immediately to the building principal, the clinical supervisor, and the Director.
Parking permits are approved by the Associate Director for students in practicum experiences. Each semester students must first apply in the Practicum Office. The application for Parking Permit is available on line. A list of students approved for parking permits is sent to University Student Services. Students then confirm their approved status on line with Student Services. Fees for parking permits are posted to the student's account each semester. Permits are issued for one semester. Although carpooling is not a requirement, pre ference is given to students who agree to carpool. Parking permits are restricted to undergraduate students who live on campus.
Every effort is made to place students in schools that require no more than one hour commuting time. In some cases, however, traveling by public transportation may require more time.
With the exception of students participating in the International/Out-of-State Program, students' requests for out-of-state placement will not be approved.
Procedures for Placement of Pre and Full Practicum or Clinical Student Teachers
All placement sites for student teaching are completed in Massachusetts public, private, or Catholic schools that have been approved by the Director of Practicum Experiences & Teacher Induction and meet the requirements for the Massachusetts Department of Education.
Placement sites are located in Boston and neighboring areas with the exception of international and out-of-state sites approved for students participating in that program.
Many variables are taken into account when a field assignment is established by the Practicum Office. Among them are day and availability of cooperating teacher, availability of appropriate grade level, transportation to the school, diversity of students, and relationship with the school.
Pre-practicum student teachers are placed in area schools based on successful past experiences with the school. Student teachers typically do not have a choice of assignment. Undergraduate student teachers complete a variety of experiences in diverse settings. Graduate students may opt to stay in the pre-practicum setting selected to create a year-long experience if the student population is considered diverse.
Full practicum students in undergraduate and graduate programs participate in a "Placement Week" process to allow the students some "controlled" choice about their assignment. After attending an Information Session and completing a reflective activity students are invited to make requests pertaining to their choice of placement.
Clinical faculty supervisors and the Director meet with each student individually to determine the placement that best meets with the student's goals for teaching. Requests for a change of placement (for any reason) during a pre-practicum is handled by the Assistant Director; and for full practicum and clinical experience, change of placement is handled by the Director.
Registration for Practicum Experiences
To receive course credit on the transcript, students are required to "register" for practicum experience through the usual registration process for courses. Pre-practica courses receive 1 credit for undergraduate and graduate students. Practicum is 12 credits for undergraduate majors and 9 credits for undergraduate secondary minors.
Student teachers unable to attend a practicum assignment because of illness or some other factor beyond the student's control are required to notify the cooperating teacher as far in advance as possible. The University supervisor and the Practicum Office (617.552.4206) must also be contacted.
Student teachers with questions or concerns related to possible sexual harassment at the placement site should contact the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Student Services and the Practicum Director immediately.
Strikes, Work to Rule, Work Stoppages
If a work stoppage or strike takes place during student teaching, the student teacher should not report to the school site. "Work to rule" is a condition for cooperating teachers working in a district. If a student has any questions about teaching in a work to rule district, contact the Director for advice.
Student teachers may substitute during the full practicum IN THEIR OWN cooperating teacher's classroom after the mid-term and with full permission of the cooperating teacher and building principal. Students must submit a written request to substitute teach to the Associate Director.
In emergencies, student teachers may substitute outside their classroom (without pay) for ONE day with the full approval of the school principal and Director of Professional Practicum Experiences.
Substitute teaching for payment must be approved by the Associate Director for ALL situations.
The supervision model includes the cooperating teacher, student teacher, and University supervisor working together to meet the required goals for teaching competency.
Formative and summative supervision are used with both pre and full practicum student teachers.
Formative supervision is used to foster growth and development in understanding the teaching standards. Through coaching, informal discussions, and responses to inquiry journals, the supervisors create relationships to guide the students to a deeper understanding of teaching and learning throughout the experience.
Summative supervision is required at the mid-term and the final using the Pre-service Performance Assessment (PPA) tool from the State Department of Education. At the mid-term the cooperating teacher with the college supervisor must review the PPA standards and indicators of competencies to document the success in the field. The final summative report is required by both cooperating teachers and supervisors in the form of their recommendation for either continuation of appropriate fieldwork for the pre-practicum student or full practicum student, or recommendation for licensure for the full practicum student.
Pre-practicum experiences serve as preparation for full practicum as well as a screening for reviewing candidates. Student teachers are placed in clusters to promote collegial conversation and group meetings on site with the supervisor.
Student teachers participating in pre-practica are supervised by graduate assistant supervisors with teaching experience. Observations lessons taught, a checklist of teaching activities, and an inquiry journal and portfolio are required in each pre-practicum.
Supervisors meet regularly with student teachers, respond to journals, and write extensive reports at the end of the experience to recommend the student for the next pre or full practicum experience.
Undergraduate students completing their second or third pre-practicum may be placed as "Pre-prac Pairs" or "Full prac/Pre-prac Partners" in the same classroom to encourage collaboration and co-teaching. Dialogue journals between sets of student teachers is encouraged.
Supervisors are on site for 1 or 2 days per week and observe a two lessons taught by the student teacher. Weekly contact with the students is required through the inquiry journal and during days when the supervisor is on site at the school.
All syllabi for pre-practica, full practica and clinical expiences are available online.
Student teachers are required to find their own transportation to the schools. Most schools are on public transportation routes. Car pools are available. Students accepting rides in carpools need to read the guidelines and policies printed on the booklet in the office. Download parking permit.
Videotaping required for completion of any Lynch School related activities must be done with the full permission of the school and must follow school guidelines for taping, i.e., permission slips, etc. If there is a problem in meeting requirements due to school policies contact the Office of Practicum Experiences and Teacher Induction.
Waiver of Practicum Experiences
Undergraduate students are not waived from practicum experiences. Graduate students who have completed an undergraduate practicum program at BC may be waived from the one required graduate pre-practicum with the approval of the Associate Director.
No practicum requirement can be waived without the approval of the Director of Professional Practicum Experiences. Each case will be reviewed individually.