INTRODUCTION TO THE INTERNSHIP
The internship represents the culminating experience in the university's teacher preparation program. Candidates have the opportunity to synthesize and apply theoretical knowledge from their professional education courses in K-12 schools.
Teacher candidates are learners. Planning for full-time instruction means assigning some immediate, easily-accomplished responsibilities with a gradual induction into the various phases of teaching. This should lead to full teaching responsibilities for the teacher candidate.
Teacher candidates participate in all activities normally expected of regular faculty members, including non-teaching duties, communication with parents, faculty in-service and other meetings, and extracurricular activities. Teacher candidates may adapt assignments to the pupils, content, and instructional methods of their cooperating teachers. However, teacher candidates are at their best when initiating, negotiating, and successfully implementing their own teaching ideas.
The internship is more than simple practice. Rather, it is learning the art of teaching under supervision. In this context, supervision is defined as helping prospective teachers improve their instructional performance through systematic cycles of planning, observation, and intensive intellectual analysis of teaching performances. Thus, the internship experience represents hard work with a definite and worthwhile purpose – the improvement of instructional performance.
Because of the special significance of the internship experience in the professional preparation of our teacher candidates, the UAH Department of Education is particularly indebted to the schools and to the master teachers and their administrators who make this clinical experience possible.
PURPOSES OF INTERNSHIP
Three compelling purposes support the desirability of an internship program. The first purpose is to help prospective teachers become skillful and creative teachers, depending less and less on direct supervision, in preparation for their first professional teaching assignment under limited supervision.
The second purpose of the internship is to provide many opportunities for prospective teachers to raise questions, problems, and issues that should provide the basis for determining further needs and study. Thus, the internship should provide growth experiences, with each experience furnishing the basis for the next step in the continual process of professional growth and development.
The third purpose is to ensure that teacher candidates exhibit the competencies (knowledge, abilities, and dispositions) of effective teachers. The Department of Education was granted full accreditation of all programs by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in March 2006. The programs are framed by six competencies that reflect the mission and vision of the department and are defined in the UAH conceptual framework. These competencies are aligned with professional organizations such as the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), Alabama Quality Teaching Standards (AQTS), EDUCATE Alabama, and the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).