Practicum and Clinical Experiences

As a teacher candidate in the Iowa State University Educator Preparation Program, you’ll find curricula that will prepare you to become an educator scholar. This includes structured field experiences. These experiences are connected to specific coursework and are called practicums. Field experiences are placements in educational settings that allow you to observe and participate in the ongoing teaching of birth to grade 12 students.

Practicum courses provide short-term placements in educational settings, experience in which Iowa State University teacher candidates observe teaching and learning in schools, and/or experience/practice short-term teaching under the direct supervision of a licensed teacher.

Purpose of Clinical Experiences

  • Gain professional insights and practical teaching experience through observation, planning, and practice under the guidance of an experienced teacher
  • Gain deeper insights into the professional responsibilities of a classroom teacher (instruction, classroom management, record keeping, building procedures, student evaluation, planning, organization, parent communication, following curriculum guidelines, etc.)
  • Gain experience in planning and implementing lessons using a variety of teaching strategies and methods, which must be differentiated to meet the individual needs of children in the classroom
  • Gain experience working with colleagues in the school setting, accomplishing activities under the direction of the cooperating teacher

Clinical Experiences Fall Into One of Three Opportunities

  • Observe effective teaching and speak with an experienced teacher
  • Observe effective teaching, work with an experienced teacher, and plan and implement at least one lesson
  • Observe effective teaching, work with an experienced teacher, plan and implement at least one lesson, and work with a supervisor for additional coaching and problem-solving opportunities

Time requirements and fees for specific practicum experiences can be found in the schedule of courses or the catalog. You can contact your program advisor or one of the Teacher Education Services clinical experience coordinators for additional information. An effort is made to provide students with diverse experiences, including districts that vary in size, socioeconomic status, location, and grade levels.

Student fees accompany these experiences. Practicum students need to plan to provide their own transportation within a 60-mile radius of Ames. Limited carpool assistance may be available.

Repeating Clinical Experience

Please refer to the “repeating pre-student teaching experiences” policy for repeating clinical experience information.