Book Review Supervising Student Teachers
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Book Review Supervising Student Teachers Book Review Supervising Student Teachers Document Transcript

  • Supervising Student Teachers The Professional Way:<br />A Book Review<br />Jessica Hollon<br />University of Wyoming<br />Book Information<br />The book I chose to read for my book review is titled Supervising Student Teachers The Professional Way: A Guide for Cooperating Teachers 6th Edition, written by Marvin A. Henry, W. Wayne Beasley, and Kenneth L. Brighton. It was published by Sycamore Press located in Terre Haute, Indiana in 2002. The book is 307 pages in length and its ISBN is 0-916768-10-4.<br />Overview of Content<br />This book was written for practicing teachers who will be not only continuing their teaching duties in their classrooms, but who will also be teaching a student teacher who is finishing their education program through a college or university. The purpose of this book is to educate teaching professionals on the duties, and responsibilities of being a cooperating teacher. Henry, Beasley, and Brighton (2002) define a cooperating teacher as “a teacher who agrees to supervise a student teacher who is completing their final directed field experiences prior to completion of the sequence of professional study” (p. 2). The book is organized into twelve chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of supervising a student teacher. They range from forging a relationship to supervision and reflection, to legal and ethical issues within this realm of adult education. With each aspect the authors take the viewpoint of the cooperating teacher and give scenarios and possible solutions or reactions that would be typical of both the cooperating and student teachers.<br />Evaluation of Book<br />In my opinion, this book is well organized and done so in a way that a cooperating teacher could read through the book and gain a lot of knowledge while simultaneously supervising a student teacher. The first few chapters cover what to expect and how to prepare before a student teacher arrives in your classroom. The following chapters go through chronologically what happens, or tends to happen, as student teachers begin to take over the teaching responsibilities in the classroom. <br />The authors are very successful in giving a true picture of how hard supervising a student teacher can be, but also how rewarding it can become for both the cooperating and student teacher, as well as the students in the class. One major theme in the early chapters of the book is that student teachers are experiencing a large role change. <br />Traditional student teachers are typically between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-three and have been living on a college campus for the past few years. Henry et al. (2002) points out that “socially, a traditional student teacher may be only a few days away from college life. They typically have some difficulty finding their identity during student teaching. Pupils may call them teacher, the university may refer to them as student, and the cooperating teacher may consider them to be a teacher one moment and a student the next” (p. 59). <br />There are also non-tradition college students who are over the age of twenty-five and sometimes have families at home. These students experience role changes as well. They may be displaced from their families, or be commuting to student teach each day. They also experience the change in commitment from college courses to being in a classroom teaching and planning each day.<br />One strength of this book is that the authors give examples of how to handle issues that may arise because of the role changes in the lives of both traditional and non-traditional student teachers. “Cooperating Teachers must plan an active role in monitoring and guiding student teachers’ emerging perceptions of what it means to teach. A balance must be struck between the idealistic and theoretical influence of the college and the reality of the public school environment” (Henry et al. 2002, p. 91). <br />The book also goes into determining the best approach for supervising a student teacher based on where they developmentally fit into a four quadrant ranking system of both conceptual abilities and abstract skills. Henry et al. (2002) states “persons with low levels of abstraction may be characterized by such factors as an inability to see more than one solution to a problem or tending to blame problems on external forces” (p. 125). Conversely, “persons with high levels of abstraction are more able to discriminate, differentiate, and integrate while seeing more alternatives to problems” (Henry et al. 2002, p. 125).<br />The level of commitment is the other factor, besides abstraction that comes into play in the quadrant system proposed by the authors to identify types of student teachers. Henry et al. (2002) defines commitment at the highest level as “being committed to the students being taught and an eagerness to make their teaching more effective” (p. 126). A low level of commitment would be “an indifference and perhaps even laziness, seeing teaching as a job rather than a profession” (Henry et al. 2002, p. 126). <br />Using these guidelines, the authors made the four quadrants. Either, low commitment and low abstraction, high commitment and low abstraction, high abstraction and low commitment, or high abstraction and high commitment. I thought this was an effective way of thinking about a student teacher. Once a cooperating teacher has the student teacher placed in the correct quadrant, the authors give examples and cases studies to help cooperating teachers effectively teach the specific student teacher they are working with. <br />Recommendations<br />I would recommend this book to anyone who will be, or is currently, a cooperating teacher. The authors give insight into situations both very typical and others more complex that cooperating teachers may face while trying to not only continue the education of their students, but also step into the role of an adult educator. There is great power in the fact that this book has many case studies and scenarios that readers can examine and relate to experiences that they may be having. The authors bring to light role changes and adult developmental issues that cooperating teachers may not take into account unless they are pointed out to them. Having read about these issues, I feel I am better prepared to supervise a student teacher, and know more about the types of changes and factors they will be working through in addition to student teaching. <br />In the field of adult learning I believe this book has great relevance. I think often times cooperating teachers are not well versed in the many factors that are unique to educating adults. This is probably due in part because cooperating teachers are already educators, and so they are perceived as knowing how to educate a student teacher. However, this book sheds light on the fact the educators acting as cooperating teachers are most effective when they also have some sort of knowledge of adult education, because student teachers are adults and are unlike many teachers’ classroom students.<br />Review Information<br />Reviewed by: Jessica Hollon<br />Review Date: June 11, 2008<br /> <br />Henry, M.A., Beasley, W. W., & Brighton, K. L., (2002). Supervising Student Teachers The Professional Way: A Guide for Cooperating Teachers 6th Edition. Terre Haute, IN: Sycamore Press.<br /> <br />