LCS/TWU Community-Based Partnership

LCS/TWU Community-Based Partnership

Blog Landing chevron_right LCS/TWU Community-Based Partnership chevron_right

During the week of February 28-March 4, many of our LCS K-12 Teachers hosted week-long immersion practicum experiences with the TWU School of Education post-degree student teachers. Nina Pak Lui (TWU Assistant Professor of Education and Post-Degree Program Advisor) worked with our leadership team members in this community-based partnership. 

Community-based teacher education partnerships are deeply informed by Indigenous principles and Christian wisdom grounded in relationships and ideas in interconnected ways. There are several advantages when schools and universities commit to formative partnerships:

  • Active Collaboration – breaks down barriers between theory and practice and the realities of the classroom. 
  • Co-Constructed Learning Experiences – clarifies purpose and dynamics of partnership that are co-created, re-constructed and shared.  
  • Relevant Context – provides support to school personnel and feedback to student teachers in situated, timely, and practical ways.
  • Professional Learning – encourages mutually beneficial learning that bridges theory and practice together.  
  • Co-Teaching – invites teacher educators to share research-based ideas, co-plan learning, and learn from and with one another.

It was clear that this was a formative learning experience for our K-12 teachers and the student teachers. We have some amazing teachers at the school, so it was great to see the opportunities to build relationships and share our common interests in Christian education. 

Here are some reflections from our LCS faculty: 

“The TWU students are well supported by the staff at TWU. The program is well laid-out and allows appropriate scaffolding for the students before they are expected to teach. The time allows students to receive follow up recommendations, as well as time to self reflect on their own experiences. Students were set up to ask questions and observe. This allowed them to learn through hands-on experience” (LCS Middle School Teacher). 

“This has really built a meaningful connection between LCS and TWU. We’ve really gotten to know Nina and she has been able to speak into our professional development (even leading two sessions!). We have truly been able to form a professional relationship, learning from each other. We have also been able to really get to know the student teachers in a way that has never been possible before. They have a much greater presence on our campus and are able to connect with staff over lunch. It is in these moments where meaningful and formative conversations are able to happen. The fullness of the day allows student teachers to really see the rhythms of a school day and the pace of classroom learning. They are getting more than what are often experienced as disconnected snap shots with a short session once a week” (LCS Admin).

“It was a blessing to have a student teacher willing to help, adapt, and step in when needed. My student teacher was well prepared for her lessons and constantly sought feedback and comments” (LCS Elementary School Teacher). 

“Because the student teachers are here for more intensive periods of time, there is greater relationship building with teachers. This allows for more meaningful collaboration and planning for a meaningful context. I have seen student teachers attend our pro-d, staff meetings, and PLC as fits their schedule – these are amazing opportunities that have never been able to fit before. Student teachers have even been able to share their experiences and speak into staff discussions. I have been delighted to support and engage in this partnership; this has been really meaningful for both teachers and student teachers” (LCS Admin).  

“It was great having the fall observations and then having the full week immersion process. This layout allowed us time to get to know them and their strengths. It also gave time for them to get to know the staff and students. They were able to feel comfortable within our school when it came time to teach” (LCS Middle School Teacher). 

“Well prepared, knowledgeable, enthusiastic student teacher: active collaboration and co-construction happened seamlessly. The ability to provide relevant context for the students made acceptance of the student teacher almost instantaneous and very effective” (LCS High School Teacher). 

“The experience provided me with the opportunity to help the students grow in practical ways. Each step of the process (planning, presentation, hands on teaching, reflection) presented the student teachers with an opportunity to grow. At each key stage, we sat down together to look at what was relevant and realistic, and what might need modifying. Each time feedback was given, the students applied it immediately to craft a better lesson that fit the context of the grade level being taught and the content. By the time they had done this several times, the work was more refined, and they were better teachers overall.

Having two student teachers working together to plan and present the material was one thing that made this a successful teaching experience. By having the students collaborate, it gave them the opportunity to brainstorm ideas, find and share resources and  even observe each other at work. It is so rare that we as educators get to observe our colleagues at work. I encouraged them to take the opportunity to learn from one another (especially while watching each other teach) as much as possible. There were times when I could actually see things that they had incorporated from the other’s way of working that helped them to  be better teachers. For an initial shorter practicum experience, it might be worth considering for future years. Working together also gave them a taste for sharing ideas and resources, the way that departments/grade level teams often work together on new units or curriculum.”  (LCS Middle School Teacher).