Standard P.4. Opportunities to Learn in Clinical Settings
An effective mathematics teacher preparation program includes clinical experiences that are guided on the basis of a shared vision of high-quality mathematics instruction and have sufficient support structures and personnel to provide coherent, developmentally appropriate opportunities for candidates to teach and to learn from their own teaching and the teaching of others.
Clinical experiences are guided, hands-on, practical applications and demonstrations of professional knowledge of theory to practice, skills, and dispositions through collaborative and facilitated learning in field-based assignments, tasks, activities, and assessments across a variety of settings. Increased calls to embed clinical experiences in real contexts of teaching illustrate the importance of learning through engagement in teaching (Ball & Forzani, 2009; Grossman et al., 2009; Lampert & Graziani, 2009). Furthermore, clinical experiences along with content knowledge and quality of the candidates, are the components of teacher preparation that are likely to have the strongest effects on outcomes for students (National Research Council [NRC], 2010).
An effective mathematics teacher preparation program provides clinical experiences that are developed mutually with school partners, are scaffolded to build in complexity, include opportunities to work in diverse settings and with a range of learners, and are supervised by qualified mentors. Each of these four critical aspects of clinical experiences is described in this section.