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Clinical Experiences in Elementary Education

The Elementary Education Program at NIU requires teacher candidates to complete multiple field experiences over the course of 4 semesters.  These experiences are designed to provide candidates with a variety of opportunities to observe and interact with diverse groups of students while applying the content, theories, and methods learned in their coursework.  The TLEE 382, TLEE 385, and TLEE 383 clinical experiences are considered early field experiences.  The TLEE 485 clinical experience is a culminating student teaching experience.

The initial clinical experience provided in TLEE 382 occurs during the first professional semester following acceptance into the Elementary Education Program. This clinical experience is considered a pre-student teaching practicum, and traditionally occurs in a public school setting, for a three-week period, for five full days per week. In addition, candidates spend one day a week in their assigned classrooms during the two weeks prior to the three-week clinical experience.  The focus during this semester is to link the content of the Literacy, Technology, and Management Courses to real classrooms.   Candidates teach literacy lessons while in the field.  TLEE 382 teacher candidates attend four mandatory seminars facilitated by the instructor of TLEE 382; this instructor will also serve as the Supervisor in the field, and will visit each student one time.

The second professional semester clinical experience, TLEE 385, traditionally occurs in a public school setting, for a two-week period, five full days per week. In addition, teacher candidates spend one day a week in their assigned classrooms during four weeks prior to the two-week clinical experience.  The focus during this semester is to link the content of the ESL, Philosophy, Community, and Literacy courses to linguistically diverse classrooms.  Candidates teach differentiated lessons while in the field.  TLEE 385 teacher candidates attend four mandatory seminars facilitated by the instructor of TLEE 385; this instructor will also serve as the Supervisor in the field, and will visit each student one time.  

The third professional semester clinical experience, TLEE 383, typically occurs throughout an entire semester, with teacher candidates in classrooms two full days each week.  In addition, candidates spend a full two week period in the classrooms.  The focus during this semester is to link the content of the Assessment, Special Education, Math, Science, and Social Studies classes to real classrooms.  Candidates will teach content area lessons while in the field.  In many cases, this semester experience serves as the first half of the “year-long” experience with one Cooperating Teacher.  Candidates attend 4-7 mandatory seminars, facilitated by the instructor of TLEE 383; this instructor will also be the Supervisor in the field, and will visit each student two times.

The fourth professional semester clinical experience, TLEE 485, is a 16 week, full-day student teaching experience.   In many cases, the student teaching experience serves as the second half of the “year-long” experience with one Cooperating Teacher.    TLEE 485 teacher candidates attend three Professional Development seminars, facilitated by experts in the field of Elementary Education.  University Field Supervisors will visit each student a minimum of 8 times.

Contact Us

Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Gabel Hall 147
815-753-8556
815-753-8563 (fax)
CIDepartment@niu.edu 

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