Diversity in Placement: Achieving Diversity in Each Candidate’s Field Placement Profile

 At UNC Charlotte, the Professional Teacher Education Unit, comprised of faculty from the Colleges of Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Arts + Architecture, seeks to provide our candidates with field experiences or clinical practice in a variety of diverse settingsAll teacher education candidates in initial licensure programs are expected to complete intensive early clinical experiences in school classrooms. These classrooms serve students at a variety of grades levels, those with exceptionalities, and those from diverse ethnic, racial, gender, and socio-economic groups. These classrooms also expose candidates to various school settings, such as urban and rural schools, large and small schools, magnet schools, and schools facing atypical challenges. This allows our candidates to develop and practice their knowledge, skills, and dispositions for working with all students.

What are the diversity requirements for the initial licensure programs?

  • Undergraduate initial licensure candidates are expected to participate and document clinical field experiences in threediverse school settings, with two of these occurring before the student teaching semester. Candidates complete these field experiences in required coursework. While the Office of Field Experiences will help to facilitate placements, candidates are responsible for seeking diversity in their field placements. Candidates are expected to complete a significant number of their experiences in a public school setting.
  • Graduate Certificate initial licensure candidates must participate and document clinical field experiences in three diverse school settings, with two of these settings occurring before the graduate internship. Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek a variety of diverse settings prior to the final semester of their programWhile the Office of Field Experiences will help to facilitate placements, candidates are responsible for seeking diversity in their field placements. Candidates are expected to complete a significant number of their experiences in a public school setting.

Candidates who wish to apply for student teaching/internship in a particular geographic area should plan ahead to make sure all diversity components are fully met.

What does “diverse setting” mean?

The Professional Teacher Education Unit's use of the phrase "every student" is inclusive of these attributes of multicultural populations: Age, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, geographic region, giftedness, language, race, religion, sexual orientation and socio economic status. UNC Charlotte candidates are expected to plan their clinical experiences so that, by the end of the student teaching semester, the candidate has experienced a variety of school settings and interacted with a variety of students.

Factors for candidates to consider when planning diversity in school experiences could include the following:

  • English Language Learners (ELL) enrollment in the school
  • Students of color enrollment in the school
  • Students from low income families enrollment in the school (characterized by percentage of students enrolled in free/reduced lunch programs)
  • Students with disabilities enrolled in the school
  • Geographic location of the school (urban, rural, suburban, etc.)
  • What kind of classes you are placed in, particularly regarding academic level (AP/Honors versus resource EC, for example)
  • Elementary / middle / high / alternative
  • Public / private / alternative / charter schools
  • Other pertinent factors

How are diverse settings verified?

When candidates apply for the student teaching (undergraduate) or internship (graduate) semester, faculty from the Office of Field Experiences will verify completion of three diverse experiences, based on the clinical record available from the OFE database (student teaching/internship placement may be included as one of the diverse settings). Candidates who arrange their own placements are asked to update the Office of Field Experiences each semester with the most current information so that the placement database remains current. Candidates who will not have completed three diverse placements by the end of the full-time student teaching/internship semester will be referred back to their departmental advisor for assistance in meeting diversity requirements prior to beginning the full-time student teaching/internship semester.

What resources are available to assist candidates in determining levels of diversity for a school site?

Recommendations for Graduate Students (lateral entry or advanced licensure) Currently Employed as Teachers

A candidate’s teaching position can serve as their clinical practice for implementing instructional practices implied by professional standards. It is strongly encouraged, however, for every candidate to also participate/teach in “different” placements (field experiences) in order to confront issues of diversity that affect teaching and student learning and develop strategies for improving student learning and the candidates’ effectiveness as a teacher. While lateral entry candidates and / or advanced licensure candidates may complete some clinical experience hours in their own classrooms, the expectation is that these candidates will acknowledge the value of seeking diverse experiences outside their classrooms and complete clinical requirements as outlined by the course instructor and course requirements. 

Advanced candidates are encouraged to take advantage of the different learning opportunities within or outside his/her own school setting: See suggested options below:

Within the school where employed:

  • Co-teaching or job swapping with the ESOL teacher
  • Co-teaching or job swapping with the special education teacher
  • Explore other opportunities to work directly with a diverse (different) population – options must be discussed with your course instructor.

Outside of the school where employed:

  • Job-swap with a cohort colleague: School in another area of the district or in a different district
  • Teach in an after school program, day care setting, or weekend setting
  • Work in an appropriate summer camp setting – options must be discussed with your course instructor
  • Teach within an established community program (boys and girls clubs, urban renewal programs, etc.)
  • Tutor student(s) in need of extra assistance
  • Explore other opportunities to work directly with a diverse (different) population – options must be discussed with your advisor.

Candidates are encouraged to participate in actual hands-on teaching or leadership experiences in established situations. The candidate’s course instructor must approve all options.