Prospective Teachers’ Perceptions of the Value of an Early Field Experience in a Laboratory Setting

  • Leah Wasburn-Moses Miami University
  • Thomas Kopp Miami University
  • Jill Hettersimer Miami University


Quality 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 “laboratory†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 teachers’ 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 participants’ 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.