School of Education center hosts national Clinical Practice Commission session

October 24, 2016

Clinical Practice Commission group work

The School of Education's Center for Educator Preparation recently hosted the fall session of the Clinical Practice Commission with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. The session, held at Colorado State University on October 12 and 13, 2016, was the first university-hosted session in the commission's history.

CEP advisor and instructor, Derek Decker, was among the commission participants who were hand-selected by Rodrick Lucero, AACTE Vice President for Member Engagement and Support and CPC chair. Decker's experience partnering with local school districts and teacher candidates in CEP's unique teacher preparation, clinical practice and co-teaching model, combined with his eight years as a Poudre School District elementary teacher offers a firsthand understanding of the impact clinical practice has on a teacher candidate.

"We would never give a scalpel to a surgeon without having some extensive practice of how to do that, it's the same thing with teaching, why are there even programs out there (there's more than you would think) that their first time working with students is at what we call the clinical or student teaching experience," he says, "Clinical practice embeds application from the very beginning, so you're working with students at every single course throughout the entire program, at the schools, learning the work of teaching."

In 2011, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education released its Blue Ribbon Panel Report recommending standardized teacher preparation. The CPC was formed in 2015 as a result, bringing together a group of PK-12 and higher education leaders charged with creating a white paper on teacher preparation. The white paper includes theoretical frameworks and background information on clinical practice; the CPC is currently perfecting a standard, "Clinical Partnerships in Practice", that will benefit teacher candidates preparing to teach in the classroom and the children they will be teaching.

The CPC is a move toward professionalizing the field of teaching through standardization of practices and preparation across the nation; with CEP's unique teacher preparation model being shared as an example of how partnership between teacher preparation institutions and local school districts can yield benefits to schools, teachers, and students. "You can't learn brain surgery, for example, from a textbook," says Lucero. "You actually have to be in surgery and see it done. So what we're saying around clinical practice is that you have to see it done; you have to get your hands dirty and get in there."

While at CSU, CPC participants worked on perfecting the white paper, refining and condensing the material to central tenets with supporting sources. Every participant pressed for a set of guidelines for all teachers, arguing that this would help teachers to be at their best in the classroom from the very beginning. Next, the CPC will work towards a third draft of the white paper; a teleconferencing meeting is scheduled in November to work on subsequent stages of the process.

Visit the School of Education Flickr site to see additional photos of the CPC at work.

Contact:  Melissa Pickett

Telephone:  (970)491-3167