We value our community partners as they play an important role in the education of our Bachelor of Education students (referred to as candidates or interns). The community partner provides a challenging opportunity to increase the student’s knowledge of teaching, learning, program design, implementation and/or curriculum development outside a traditional classroom setting.
EDUC 442: Community Field Experience takes place every May. This date is not flexible as it’s part of the Bachelor of Education program schedule.
Community Field Experience from the community partner perspective
The Bachelor of Education students (referred to as candidates or interns) will expect a clear outline of the project or experience the community partner has planned for the CFE and specifically, what the candidate’s role(s) will be in it. That project could be program development, program execution, instruction, curriculum development, research, etc. Further, the candidate will appreciate a clear set of expectations for such things as daily protocol (e.g., start and end times), dress code, parking, workspace, possible on-site partnerships (e.g., other staff that the candidate will be working with), teaching/instructional opportunities or duties, possible job shadowing, etc. They expect to be involved in a new educational situation, to be able to contribute, and to learn new ideas, information, and skills.
The candidate is responsible to arrange an initial meeting with the partner in early February to introduce themselves and begin the process of getting to know their partner and the plan for the CFE.
Our expectations are that the partner will develop a project that will benefit your organization, require the skill sets our candidates possess and are refining, and that can be initiated and/or completed during the Community Field Experience (CFE) timeframe. Prior to the start, and during the CFE, we ask that you establish and maintain effective communication with the candidate and, as necessary, with the CFE Coordinator.
We also ask that during the first few days of the placement that you and the Candidate review and complete the WorkSafeBC Orientation and Checklist.
Near the end of the placement, we ask that you complete a brief online comment form, designed to provide us with feedback about how the CFE worked for your organization. We encourage you to complete this form with your candidate.
You are not expected to evaluate or grade the candidate.
Community partners are asked to provide candidate with educationally-oriented activities and responsibilities that help demonstrate how teaching and learning can occur in diverse teaching and learning contexts. This often requires advanced planning on the part of the community partner. The following is a list of key questions that community partners might ask themselves in preparation for their work with candidates.
- How will the work of the candidate(s) support our mission/priorities?
- If the student is assigned a project, is it well-defined?
- What can feasibly be completed during the three-week experience? Can it be completed online if necessary?
- Who is the contact person in our organization that the Okanagan School of Education can communicate with throughout the duration of this experience, including preparation, service, and reflection?
- To what extent will our staff and organization be involved in the development and implementation of this experience (e.g., how many staff or staff hours can we dedicate to this experience)?
- What resources will be required for this project? Do we have the space?
- How might future students build on this year’s work?
- Will the activities/project/responsibilities fit within the time constraints of the three-week placement?
- Will candidate(s) need to be made aware of any extra costs, documents, expectations, and protocols (e.g., TB Shots, First Aid Training, etc.)?
- If you are an organization not located in the Okanagan, you may need to assist the candidate with finding accommodation or with transportation.
There can be many different types of community field experiences. Possible scenarios that illustrate what these experiences might look like include:
Students serve within the existing structure of the community partner Example: The student completes their CFE at the Clubhouse Farm facilitating school visits and supporting daily work at the farm.
Students work with a community partner to create a new component of a partner’s work
Example: The student completes their CFE at the local art gallery working with the educational program team to develop a teacher’s guide for upcoming exhibits.
Students design educational tools that will be delivered by the community partner
Example: The student completes their CFE at the local science centre to design an online learning activity to complement a new virtual exhibit on reducing single-use plastics.
Students are placed in a school setting substantially different from their Formative Practicum
Example: The student completes their CFE in the school’s library to better understand the role of the library to the overall educational focus of the school’s program.
At this point in their educational program, Bachelor of Education students (referred to as candidates) will soon be considered professional teachers. As a result, you should expect professionalism from them – punctuality, commitment, engagement, curiosity, and a willingness to teach and learn.
Candidates can be asked to write curriculum specific to your program requirements. They can also be asked to test new curriculum and participate in revisions. Community partners are encouraged to recognize the candidate’s curriculum development contributions by citing the candidate and UBC Okanagan School of Education in the documents produced.
You are encouraged to have candidates work on various projects or curricula during the experience. If applicable, you may ask for a report or an accounting of these completed projects.
After completing this experience, which involves participation in one of a variety of non-traditional educational settings, the candidates will be able to:
- imagine aspects of non-formal, alternate, or international education that might inform their classroom practice;
- develop questions to frame an inquiry into “places of learning”;
- engage in inquiry and reflection on practice; and
- improve on their research skills.
Candidates have previously completed a Bachelor’s degree in a subject area of their choice and are currently completing their Bachelor of Education. They bring a broad range of skills and knowledge to their field placement. In general terms, a candidate can be described as someone with emerging competency in areas such as:
- Program development
- Problem analysis
- Project leadership
- Curriculum development
- Learning facilitation
- Public speaking and presentations
- Planning and organizing
- Time management
- Collaboration and teamwork
In addition, many will have specific skills or knowledge related to prior experiences. For example, some will have knowledge of IT systems, additional languages, or the creative arts.
Organizations are asked to submit a short online form to confirm your organization’s details, including number of Bachelor of Education students (referred to as candidates) you wish to host, and provide us a brief description* of what candidates can expect during their three-week experience. These descriptions will be placed on our website to help our candidates decide if a placement is right for them.
*If your organization submitted a placement description last year, you can find it on our website. You may leave this section of the form blank if there are no changes.
Providing this information is very important as it helps to ensure you attract a student(s) with the skills and interests needed to complete your project successfully. It also will help students have a clear understanding of what will be expected of them, what they can expect, and how to best prepare for their CFE.
Here are a few things you might consider when completing the form or updating your information:
- The type(s) of work to be completed (e.g., program development, program execution, instruction, curriculum development, research, etc.)
- The student skill sets you anticipate would be needed to successfully complete the work
- If applicable, the expected product at the end of the CFE (e.g., program content, a report, curriculum materials, a video, etc.)
- An overview of what a typical day (and week) would look like (e.g., days of operation (e.g., Monday to Friday, Tuesday to Saturday etc.), hours, expected interactions, etc.)
You are encouraged to keep your candidate engaged for a minimum of five hours per day, to a maximum of eight hours per day. The exact dates and working times, and location for these working times, are negotiated between you and the candidate.
For example, in some placements such as an after-school program, the candidate might be required to work from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm. Some placements will include weekends or evenings; others will involve regular business or school hours. Teacher candidates will have to adapt to their community partner’s hours.
The workday protocol should be established well in advance of the start of the placement. The candidate’s time with you is governed by the regulations of the Workers Compensation Board, if you run a program where a candidate works more than eight hours (e.g. some outdoor camps), you must clear all overtime with the candidate.
Candidates are required to alert you and the Community Field Experience Coordinator as soon as possible anytime they discover they will not be able to arrive to the CFE on time or at all (e.g. illness, family emergency, buses not running, traffic jam).
All missed time must be made up before the teacher candidate will receive a Pass/Fail grade for EDUC 442: Community Field Experience. The candidate will discuss options with the Community Field Experience Coordinator if the time cannot be made up (e.g. teacher candidate returning from an international Community Field Experience).
In the vast majority of placements, no costs are involved. In cases where the Partner and UBCO are unable to cover required costs (e.g. a TB medical exam), the teacher candidate will be made aware of these costs before the Community Field Experience begins.
Teacher candidates are required to have Accident Insurance either through UBC or through their own coverage.
WorkSafeBC coverage is provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education. Although these students are covered by the Ministry, UBC continues to have responsibilities in relation to ensuring the safety of these students and working with the clinical placement organization to ensure that students are provided required training as outlined in part 3.22 – 3.25 of the BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (training and orientation).
During the first or second day after the candidate starting their Community Field Experience site, all occupational safety education must be provided to the Candidate by their Community Partner Host. The Host and Candidate must review and complete WorkSafeBC Orientation and Checklist and send a copy to the Community Field Experience Coordinator at the Okanagan School of Education.
The Coordinator serves as the conduit between the community partner and the Okanagan School of Education. The coordinator’s role relative to the candidate is one of oversight, rather than supervision, and communication rather than evaluation. Tasks include:
- Monitor (generally) the partner’s satisfaction during the CFE.
- Celebrate accomplishments as seen from the partner’s point of view.
- Provide suggestions (as necessary) about maximizing the experience.
- If necessary, troubleshoot with a partner struggling with a candidate’s possible lack of fit.
|September 2022||Invitation of returning and potential partners sent|
|September – October 2022||Community Partners (CP) submit their forms|
|October 15, 2022||Form deadline if partner wishes to participate|
|November, 2022||Candidates submit partner requests to CFE Coordinator|
|January 2023||Candidates and partners are notified of pairings|
|Early February||Initial meeting between candidate and partner (arranged by candidate)|
|February – April||Additional meetings as necessary (arranged by candidate)|
|May 1||Community Field Experience begins|
|May 1 – 4||Candidate and partner submit WorkSafe BC Orientation & Checklist form|
|May 17 – 19||Candidate and partner jointly complete and submit the online Community Partner Feedback Form|
|May 19||Last day of Community Field Experience|
Steps for a successful community field experience
- Create an idea (a project/task(s)) that would provide a meaningful experience for the candidate while using their skills and energy to advance your organization.
- Fill out a short online form that describes your organization and the project you have created. This form is due mid-October the year prior to the CFE start date.
- Develop a sample daily protocol to share with the candidate that outlines your expectations e.g., start and end times, dress code, parking, on-site workspace, etc.
The candidate will contact their community partners to set-up an initial meeting, either in-person or via a video chat platform, on a mutually agreed upon day in early February. We encourage you to notify the staff at your organization about the candidate’s meeting and role so everyone is greeted with respect and enthusiasm.
During this meeting, it is recommended that community partners:
- give a brief orientation to your organization’s mission, current priorities, programs, relevant policies and procedures;
- if possible, give a tour of your facility, so that the student may learn about the overall work of your organization;
- if possible, introduce key staff members assisting with the project;
- sit down with the student to discuss the overall goals for the field experience, as well as plans for regular progress meetings and any specific milestones to be reached along the way; and
- collect names and contact information for both the student(s) and their advisor(s).
This visit will help the community partner and the student(s) articulate and share the reasons why each are involved in this experience. At one level, it will allow for the exchange of ideas, build a deeper understanding of each other’s motivating factors, establish ground rules and trust, and begin the process of aligning the work to best meet both the community partner’s needs and the student’s learning outcome expectations. On another level, it will allow for an understanding to be created about expectations for communications, project delivery and evaluation.
- If necessary, is there a workstation ready for the student?
- Are any needed electronic communication connections in place (e.g., internet access, remote/VPN access, username & password, telephone, long distance PIN, etc.)?
- If any special training is required, has it been arranged?
- Has the mandatory WorkSafe BC form been reviewed for easy completion on the first or second day of the CFE?
- Have other staff been reminded of the date of arrival of the candidate?
- If a parking pass or registration is required, has it been arranged?
- Other site-specific considerations?
During a Community Field Experience, there are many activities that community partners are encouraged to do with their candidates to maximize the candidate’s time and to ensure that they are meeting expectations. This includes:
- On the first or second day of the CFE, complete the WorkSafe BC Orientation and Checklist form with your candidate, and submit it to the CFE Coordinator.
- Hold regular Check-in Meetings – we suggest at least once a week. These can be used to provide feedback on the student’s performance and/or to highlight issues that might arise;
- Encourage students to note their own questions or observations and bring them to these meetings. In addition, they should document the outcomes of the meeting in some way;
- Give clear direction regarding expectations, resources, limitations
- Keep track of progress towards the final goal of the field experience. Sometimes the actual work might take a different course from what you originally planned. If this happens, discuss the situation with your student and consider revising the goal;
- Enable and encourage independence while participating in your organization’s objectives/activities;
- Note the candidate’s contributions to the organization and what kinds of qualities they bring;
- Note the candidate’s learning and demonstration of new ideas, information and skills
Most community partners will feel that the end of the Community Field Experience comes very quickly. As a result, it is recommended that community partners plan ahead for a final meeting with their candidate to:
- Explain the specific impact the candidate made through their field experience;
- Offer the candidate constructive feedback. Where did they excel? What contributions did they make? Where is there room for growth and contribution?
- Reflect on the experience and how to advance the candidate’s learning. Ask the candidate(s): How did they apply their classroom learning during this field experience? To what degree have they achieved their learning goals? What was reinforced and/or brought into question for them? What surprised them? What skills and tools did they gain from the experience that they might take with them to the classroom?
- Ask the candidate for feedback. What went well? What might be improved and in what way?
- Thank them for their time, energy, and contributions to the organization.
On the last day or two of the CFE, complete the Community Partner Feedback Form, you are encouraged to work on this with your candidate. Note: The candidate cannot receive a PASS for their Community Field Experience until this feedback form has been completed and submitted by the partner.
Advise the CFE Coordinator if there are any questions, concerns or feedback for next year.
Questions? Contact Rob Johnson, Community Field Experience Coordinator
Rob Johnson is an Associate Professor and the Community Field Experience Coordinator at the Okanagan School of Education.
Contact: email@example.com or 250 807 8426.