Manulele New Student Teacher Site for ASCC-TED
October 3, 2014
By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer
Students in the final semester of their four-year Bachelors in Education (B.Ed.) degree program at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) put all of their accumulated skills into practice by spending 16 weeks working in a real classroom setting. This portion of teacher training in the ASCC American Samoa Bachelors in Education Program (ASBEP) has until now seen student teachers honing their instruction skills at Pava’ia’i Elementary School, but this semester ASBEP has also been welcomed into Manulele Tausala Elementary School, where Miss Amarantos Faalevao is serving as a student teacher.
B.Ed. candidates in the ASCC-ASBEP include both “in-service” teachers who are currently employed in local schools while upgrading their credentials, and “pre-service” students whose service in the elementary schools will be their first professional teaching experience. Miss Faalevao is a pre-service student, as is Miss Vanila Taai, another ASBEP candidate serving as a student teacher this semester at Pava’ia’i. The third ASBEP candidate in the field this semester is Mrs. Lena Matila Chanel, an in-service teacher at Tafuna Elementary, which is not a regular site for ASBEP student teachers but has agreed to let Mrs. Chanel carry out the final portion of her ASBEP curriculum as part of her regular employment.
ASCC Teacher Education Department (TED) instructor Mrs. Feleni Alainuuese, who also serves as field coordinator for ASBEP, says that the department has received positive feedback from the elementary schools which have agreed to include the ASCC student teachers. “Our association with Pava’ia’i Elementary dates back to the time ASBEP started,” she recalled, “and the Principal, Vice Principals, and mentor teachers have commented on the wealth of knowledge the student teachers bring with them to the learning environment. They appreciated the student teachers’ participation in school activities and involvement in staff professional development.”
ASBEP pre-service candidates gain their first experience in the elementary schools while taking 300-level courses and also spending time at the schools as observers and assistants. The 400-level courses lead towards the final 16 weeks of the program, when the ASBEP student teacher takes the lead in the classroom in carefully planned stages, working in tandem with a “Cooperating Teacher” (CT) from the school faculty. The first phase, Team Teaching, involves the CT introducing the lesson and the student teacher implementing the activity and assessing standards. Next comes Block Teaching, where the student teacher leads the class for the block of time either before or after lunch. Pre-Solo Teaching, the third phase, has the student expanding their teaching time to about 97% of the day, still under the aegis of the CT.
The final phase, Solo Teaching, lasts for four weeks, during which the student teacher follows a Thematic Unit Plan approved in advance by the CT, Principal and Vice Principal of the elementary school, and the student’s ASBEP instructor. The Thematic Unit Plan, designed by the student teacher, must align to the content standards of the American Samoa Department of Education as well as the program learning outcomes set forth by ASBEP. The final day of the Solo Teaching phase is a “culminating event,” typically in the form of the elementary school students giving a detailed presentation on a general topic they have studied under the student teacher.
“The culminating event is an opportunity to showcase what students have garnered from the four weeks spent with the student teacher,” explained Mrs. Alainuuese. While members of the elementary school administration, ASBEP faculty, and ASDOE personnel often attend the culminating event to give a summative assessment, family and friends of the student teacher are often present as well to lend a feeling of celebration to the occasion.
For their cooperation and assistance this semester, Mrs. Alainuuese credits the administrative teams at each of the schools which collaborate with ASBEP, and particularly principals Mrs. Laborday Atanoa of Pava’ia’i Elementary, Mrs. Foaese Fano of Manulele Tausala, and Miss Laloleva Polu of Tafuna Elementary. For more information on ASBEP, visit the ASCC website at: www.amsamoa.edu.