ELKINS – Davis & Elkins College has been awarded a grant from the West Virginia Department of Education to enhance the teacher preparation program. The funds provide for an initiative to apply the concepts and strategies of co-teaching to the student teaching experience.
Co-teaching in student teaching is the practice of pairing a D&E student teacher with a classroom teacher to share the responsibilities of planning, instructing and assessing students. In this setting, the teachers are considered equally responsible and accountable for the classroom.
D&E Associate Professor of Education Dr. Jennifer Tesar, who serves as student teacher college supervisor, explained that the goal of implementing the co-teaching model into student teaching is to provide ongoing support for the D&E student teacher, ongoing professional development for the classroom teacher, and to positively impact the academic achievement of learners. This co-teaching model of student teaching allows increased opportunities for children to get help when and how they need it, provides greater student participation and engagement, and ultimately increases student achievement.
D&E student teachers were placed in mentor teachers’ classrooms in Randolph and Tucker County schools in fall 2019 to complete a year-long student teaching “residency.” The mentor teacher and student teacher attended training workshops provided by D&E’s Teacher Education program to learn how to incorporate co-planning strategies into student teaching. The workshops focused on relationship building, communication and collaboration, and research findings on co-teaching. In addition, the workshops included ways to incorporate co-teaching and co-planning strategies into the student teaching experiences.
D&E student teachers working in area public school classrooms during the spring semester are Jonna Burnside, Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School; Michael Holstein, Third Ward Elementary School; Liz Liptrap, Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School; Rhetta Persinger, Third Ward Elementary School; Hannah Shiflett, Midland Elementary School; and Skylee Watson, Midland Elementary School. In addition, Leneette Fincham is working as a teacher in residence at George Ward Elementary School.