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REL Central Ask A REL Response

Teacher Preparation

August 2019


What are effective field experiences for teacher candidates?


Following an established REL Central research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles to help answer the question. The resources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic databases, and general Internet search engines. (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. We have not evaluated the quality of the references provided in this response, and we offer them only for your information. Also, we compiled the references from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant sources may exist.

Research References

DeVillar, R. A., & Jiang, B. (2012). From student teaching abroad to teaching in the U.S. classroom: Effects of global experiences on local instructional practice. Teacher Education Quarterly, 39(3), 7–24. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract:

“The general premise of the student teaching abroad experience being that it will provide future teachers with experiences that will enable them to interact effectively and productively with the increasingly diverse student population that comprises U.S. schools (Martines, 2005). It is understood that teacher preparation programs must provide effective platforms and settings for pre-service teachers to develop, express, and refine the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will, collectively, establish their foundational competence as culturally responsive teachers. Toward this end, the student teaching abroad experience is projected to provide a substantive platform and setting for student teachers to engage in a multifaceted, culturally distinct experience outside the United States to develop, and even transform, their professional and personal perspectives, and related knowledge and skill bases. The authors have previously addressed the effects of student teaching abroad experiences. The purpose of the current stage of their ongoing research was to determine the influence of former student teachers’ student teaching abroad experiences along three dimensions of their teaching practice within U.S. classroom settings: (a) instructional practice, (b) cultural responsiveness toward diverse student populations, and (c) curricular approach. The research was an extension of the researchers’ three previous years of on-site and electronically-based investigations regarding the instructional, cultural, and professional development of student teachers in Belize, China, and Mexico (Jiang & DeVillar, 2011).”

Gaudino, A. C., Moss, D. M., & Wilson, E. V. (2012). Key issues in an international clinical experience for graduate students in education: Implications for policy and practice. Journal of International Education and Leadership, 2(3), 1–16. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“This study examines international clinical experiences in England with graduate education students from The University of Connecticut (UConn) and The University of Virginia (UVA) in the United States of America. Limited research available about international clinical experiences in the field of Education focuses primarily to only describe programs and provide authors’ anecdotal evidence about the benefits and challenges of these experiences. This study is significant because it provides data about both the anticipated and actual benefits and challenges of an international clinical experience in education.

Focus group interviews were chosen as the method of data collection to best explore and understand the full range of perceptions of the students. Data yielded findings not reported in previous information about international placements: significant differences existed between the benefits and challenges anticipated by the graduate students and the actual benefits and challenges they experienced; and developing skills to self-reflect and reflect with peers and supervisors about their professional practice was a significant actual benefit experienced by all students. Students further reported that they did not anticipate developing reflective skills because it had not been a significant benefit of their undergraduate clinical experiences in the United States. In contrast, literature about teacher and teacher candidate development cites that the ability to reflect on professional practice is one of the most successful means of professional development.

Based on information in the literature and analysis of the focus group discussions, the conclusion outlines implications for policy, practice, and future research to improve clinical experiences in education both locally and internationally. The significance of the benefits of developing reflective skills during clinical experiences is also discussed.”

Guise, M., & Thiessen, K. (2016). From pre-service to employed teacher: Examining one year later the benefits and challenges of a co-teaching clinical experience. Educational Renaissance, 5(1), 37–51. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“The research study described in this article is an extension of a yearlong mixed methods study of eight co-teaching pairs (four English and four science) and their implementation of coteaching during the clinical experience. A year after these eight pre-service teachers participated in the co-teaching research study while enrolled in a teacher education program, they were interviewed at the conclusion of their first year of employed teaching with the goal of exploring the impact that the co-teaching experience had on their development as a teacher. Findings reveal that co-teaching during the clinical experience provides an opportunity to shape pre-service teachers to be collaborative, reflective practitioners who seek out opportunities to collaborate and position themselves as lifelong learners. However, teacher education programs that implement co-teaching during the clinical experience have a responsibility to ensure that co-teaching occurs with fidelity and that pre-service teachers are supported to transition to full-time employment where the day-to-day co-teaching opportunities may be more limited.”

Jozwik, S., Lin, M., & Cuenca-Carlino, Y. (2017). Using backward design to develop service-learning projects in teacher preparation. New Waves: Educational Research & Development, 20(2), 35–49. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“Service-learning is a pedagogical approach with documented effectiveness for building civic engagement and promoting awareness of social justice issues. Little attention is given in the literature to the design processes that undergird the development of effective service-learning projects. In this case study, authors report on their application of the backward design process to develop and implement a service-learning project. Thirty-seven preservice special education teachers participated in the project to support community needs at an afterschool program. Data sources included planning notes, project meeting notes from the university instructor and the afterschool program director, preservice teachers’ guided written reflections, student attendance logs, and responses to open-ended survey questions from community center stakeholders. Participation in service-learning affirmed preservice teachers’ readiness for meeting the needs of diverse learners. Community stakeholders reported satisfaction with the project’s goals, procedures, and outcomes. Implications relate to the utility of using the backward design process to develop service-learning projects.”

Meyer, S. J. (2016). Understanding field experiences in traditional teacher preparation programs in Missouri (REL 2016–145). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Central. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract:

“The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics of field experiences in traditional teacher preparation programs completed by first-year teachers in Missouri and how experiences vary by teaching certificate type. This descriptive study is based on data from a survey administered in early 2015 to first-year teachers in Missouri public schools who completed traditional teacher preparation programs. Findings show that first-year teachers had field experiences that varied substantially in duration and diversity and that experiences varied for teachers with different types of teaching certificates. Most first-year teachers reported that their student teaching experiences aligned with their career teaching plans and first teaching assignments. Perceptions of the quality of resources and support in field experience schools were generally positive and first-year teachers reported frequent professional collaboration. Parent and community interaction during field experiences was less frequent. Observation and feedback activities during field experiences were frequent and first-year teachers engaged in a variety of instructional activities. Findings suggest that state and program administrators in Missouri and elsewhere may wish to monitor field experiences closely to ensure that expectations are met. Survey data suggest potential areas of focus including interaction with parents and community during field experiences; selection, training, and expectations of teacher candidate mentors; connections between course pedagogy to field experiences; and collaboration between teacher preparation programs and preK–12 schools. The survey developed for this study provides a data collection tool that can be adopted or adapted by state and teacher preparation program administrators and used as part of a system for monitoring program implementation. Detailed information about the implementation of teacher preparation programs may be used in future research on aspects of teacher preparation that are associated with more positive outcomes for program completers and their preK–12 students.”

Olson, J. D., & Rao, A. B. (2016). Becoming a culturally responsive teacher: The impact of clinical experiences in urban schools. Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research, 12, 133–141. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“This study focuses on elementary and secondary teacher candidates’ perspectives of how their clinical experiences influence their preparedness in becoming effective culturally responsive educators. Clinical experiences in urban schools embedded within teacher preparation programs have the potential to develop students’ ability to become culturally responsive educators, yet it is unknown how these experiences contribute to teachers’ development in enacting culturally responsive pedagogy. Qualitative data was collected through open-ended survey responses and focus groups with teacher candidates in urban focused elementary and secondary teacher education programs at one college of education. Findings indicated that connecting with students’ cultures and communities, the school/classroom context, and university-school partnerships and alignment impacted teacher candidates’ feelings of preparedness on becoming culturally responsive educators.”

Silva, T., McKie, A., & Gleason, P. (2015). New findings on the retention of novice teachers from teaching residency programs (NCEE evaluation brief). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“ This brief updates earlier study findings (Silva et al. 2014) regarding the extent to which teachers trained through teaching residency programs (TRPs) funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Quality Partnership grants program are retained in their districts and schools. TRPs prepare new teachers primarily through a year-long residency in a high-need school and integrated coursework leading to a master’s degree. This brief examines two cohorts of novice TRP teachers–those who were in their first year of teaching and those who were in their second year of teaching during the 2011–2012 school year. It looks at the rates at which the TRP teachers were retained in the same district or the same school as of fall 2013. To provide contextual information, the study also includes a representative sample of teachers who were in their first or second year of teaching during the 2011–2012 school year and were trained through other (nonTRP) programs. The retention analyses focus on teachers from six districts served by 12 TRPs. Key findings from the study include:

  • TRP teachers were more likely to remain teaching in the same district than non-TRP teachers with similar teaching placements.
  • School-retention rates were similar between the two groups of teachers.
  • TRP teachers who moved to different schools in the same district tended to join ones where a similar proportion of students were from low-income families, a lower percentage were black, and achievement was higher.”

Silva, T., McKie, A., Knechtel, V., Gleason, P., & Makowsky, L. (2014). Teaching residency programs: A multisite look at a new model to prepare teachers for high-need schools (NCEE 2015-4002). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from

From the IES website description:

“In Fall 2009 and Spring 2010, 30 teaching residency programs received funding through one of 28 Teacher Quality partnership grants awarded to establish or expand residency programs. These programs follow a model of teacher preparation in which prospective teachers complete graduate-level coursework alongside a year-long fieldwork experience in the district in which the prospective teacher will be hired. This report provides descriptive information regarding the 30 residency programs. For a purposefully-selected subset of 12 of the programs, in-depth information is provided regarding program participants and the retention rates of teachers once hired by the district.

The residency programs provided a fieldwork experience with a mentor teacher, along with integrated coursework. On average, residents reported being fully in charge of instruction for 21 days during the first half of the residence and 37 days during the second half. The programs included the equivalent of 10 courses, on average. The programs somewhat broadened the pool of people entering the teaching profession in the participating districts. For example, novice teachers from the residency programs were more likely than teachers from other programs to report having worked in a full-time job other than teaching (72 percent versus 63 percent). However, novice residency program teachers and teachers from other preparation programs had similar demographic characteristics. Novice teachers from residency programs had similar retention rates to other novice teachers. Approximately 90 percent of teachers from both groups reported staying in the same district from spring 2012 to fall 2012; about 5 percent of teachers were no longer teaching.”


Keywords and Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Clinical AND experience AND yearlong
  • Field AND experience AND yearlong

Databases and Resources

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and Google.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the Publication: References and resources published between 2009 and 2019 were included in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority was given to ERIC, followed by Google Scholar and Google.
  • Methodology: The following methodological priorities/considerations were used in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types–randomized control trials, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive analyses, literature reviews; and (b) target population and sample.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Central Region (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Central at Marzano Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Central under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0005, administered by Marzano Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.