Beginning in Fall 2019, students in Chapman’s MACI (Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction) program piloted a new Teacher Candidate Fieldwork Model with partner district OUSD (Orange Unified School District).
The Chapman MACI students, who are part of the Attallah College of Educational Studies’ accelerated teacher education program, earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees and qualify for credentials in both general and special education in five years. After completing Chapman’s MACI program, graduates are eligible for both a special education (education specialist) credential and either an elementary (multiple subject) or secondary (single subject) teaching credential.
As part of the MACI program, Chapman teacher candidates benefit from a yearlong residency in OUSD schools during their fifth, graduate year. The new OUSD Teacher Candidate Fieldwork Model includes guided observations led by an OUSD instructional coach during the students’ undergraduate years, helping them identify high-quality education practices even before beginning their yearlong teaching residency. Following the successful pilot with MACI students, the OUSD fieldwork model is being implemented this academic year.
Innovative OUSD Fieldwork Model
Kristi Dorf, an OUSD instructional coach specializing in career readiness and inclusive practices, designed the OUSD Teacher Candidate Fieldwork Model with Chapman’s MACI student in mind. She says the model was established to allow the MACI students to observe firsthand how the theories and concepts they are learning in their Chapman classes translate to a real-world classroom.
“I love this partnership we have established between Chapman and OUSD,” said Dorf. “The fieldwork experiences allow the Chapman students to ask questions, dig deeper into their understanding, and connect to what they want their future classrooms to look like. We’re exposing future teachers to current, best practices so they can support all students.”
First piloted in Fall 2019, the fieldwork model was fully implemented during the Spring 2020 semester and is continuing this fall.
Amy Sara Lim, who graduated from Chapman with a BA in English and a minor in Secondary Education last spring and is now a fifth-year MACI graduate student, was in the first cohort to pilot the fieldwork model with OUSD.
“Touring these schools with OUSD administrators and professionals gives MACI students an inside look at daily classroom life,” she said.
Lim remembers the first time her MACI cohort stepped into an OUSD classroom. As part of the immersive experience, the Chapman faculty and OUSD administrators narrated the teacher’s instruction and activities, helping the teacher candidates better understand complicated but essential teaching concepts and strategies.
“It was an eye-opening trip because we had the chance to witness what was being talked about in the lectures in real life,” said Lim.
Pivot to Remote Instruction
Given widespread school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, MACI faculty and OUSD administrators were required to modify the OUSD fieldwork model to accommodate virtual observations this fall.
Kimberly Cameron, a senior MACI undergraduate student, is grateful for the opportunity to explore so many learning environments as part of the second MACI cohort to participate.
“Being a part of MACI has been a privilege,” she said. “What makes the experience much more rewarding is our fieldwork opportunities with OUSD.”
Her MACI cohort has been exposed to special day classes, inclusion classes, service providers, virtual lessons, and more at OUSD. She said getting a chance to watch real teachers at work in person or online “expanded our knowledge of the world of education.”
“I am grateful that even during such uncertain times, we can still observe teachers through recorded lectures and discussions,” said Cameron. “I look forward to the next few years in the program, and it only makes me excited for what my future holds.”
Display Image at Top: Alina Bitter (MACI ’21) is doing her student teaching at Canyon Rim Elementary in OUSD,