Prospective Teachersâ€™ Perceptions of the Value of an Early Field Experience in a Laboratory Setting
AbstractQuality early field experience is crucial for prospective teachers. Of particular importance is the need to expose future teachers to at-risk learners. This study evaluates a unique â€œlaboratoryâ€ field experience that places secondary education majors in an on-campus alternative school program. The researchers examined perceptions regarding to what extent the experience reinforced or changed prospective teachersâ€™ career plans, and what prospective teachers indicated they learned from the experience. Qualitative data in the form of end-of-course reflections were examined through the use of inductive analysis. Results indicated that the field experience reinforced most of the participantsâ€™ plans to become teachers, and that participants indicated learning the most about the characteristics of a good teacher and good teaching, and about student diversity. Future research should continue to document the characteristics of successful early field experiences in laboratory settings.