Role of Faculty Advisor
The following is reprinted with permission from Henry and Weber (2016). Minor changes have been made to fit ATA style.
The faculty advisor’s role is to work in partnership with the faculty, school leaders, cooperating teachers and student teachers in all aspects of school experiences. Moreover, faculty supervisors play several roles, and these may vary depending on the institution they represent.
Below you will find the many roles faculty advisors may take on:
- Placement consultant for student teachers: liaises with receiving schools and cooperating teaching personnel regarding student teacher placements
- Orientation advisor: disseminates relevant information to cooperating teacher and student teacher pertaining to field experience requirements and responsibilities (includes ATA Code of Professional Conduct and Alberta Education Teacher Quality Standard). Equally familiar with faculty and jurisdiction policies and procedures on such matters as antiracism, gender equity and sexual harassment
- Instructor: provides individualized instruction, mentoring involving dialogue, complex analysis, ongoing constructive written and oral feedback, formal formative and summative evaluation of student teacher’s performance
- Seminar coordinator: facilitates educational seminars on professional topics for groups of student teachers
- Counsellor: responds to professional or personal concerns impacting the student teacher’s success in the field experience
- Liaison: acts as go-between for the postsecondary teacher preparation program and the host school ensuring understanding and agreement by both stakeholders
- Mediator: provides ongoing feedback and conveys concerns related to respective teacher education programs personnel. Understands and conveys procedures for Notification of Concern as detailed in field experience regulations. May serve as an advocate for the student teacher or for the cooperating teacher
- Supervisor: responsible for the professional growth of the student teacher; supervisory role includes instruction, lesson plan analysis, classroom observation, data collection and conferences
- Consultant: enhances school community with a breadth and depth of professional knowledge and experience, providing new ideas and information
- Evaluator: working with the cooperating teacher and the student teacher, formative and summative assessments are completed by the faculty advisor, which meet program requirements, and a coordinated and collaboratively written final evaluation is submitted to the postsecondary institution
- Representative: represents the postsecondary institution, the teacher preparation program within it and the Alberta Teachers’ Association
- Model: models the importance of ongoing inquiry and professional learning and assisting student teachers in developing their own paths for professional growth
Henry, M A, and A Weber. 2016. Evaluating a Student Teacher. Book 1 of Student Teaching: The Cooperating Teacher series. Lanham, Md: Rowman and Littlefield.
Responsibility to the Student Teacher
Faculty advisors are chosen on the basis of their professional experience and expertise as educators to assist student teachers through their field experience, a challenging yet rewarding experience. Faculty advisors use their own in-depth knowledge of andragogy, pedagogy, classroom management, professional experience, communication and consultation skills in guiding and evaluating student teachers. Acting as mentor and coevaluator can be challenging for the faculty advisor. Clarification and mutual understanding of your role as faculty advisor early in the field experience with the cooperating teacher and student teacher is critical. While maintaining regular communication with the student teacher, and during periodic meetings, faculty advisors assist the student teacher to establish clear goals and priorities for success, provide ongoing feedback, provide opportunities for reflection, improve planning and instruction and assist in identifying successful strategies, cite evidence, analyze why strategies were successful, identify strategies that were not successful, noting why they were not successful and discuss possible changes.
As the student teacher assumes increasing responsibilities, independence in teaching, classroom management and other professional responsibilities, the faculty advisor encourages the student teacher to draw on their knowledge of education research and theory.
In completing final field experience evaluations, the faculty advisor considers the student teacher’s self evaluation comments.
Responsibility to the Cooperating Teacher
Faculty advisors are expected to develop a professional relationship with the cooperating teacher and work in tandem with the cooperating teacher to ensure a successful field experience for both the student teacher and the cooperating teacher. In providing relational support for both the cooperating teacher and the student teacher, the advisor encourages the cooperating teacher to support the student teacher in developing their teaching style, sharing demands of classroom teaching by modelling effective practices and by mentoring the student teacher over the course of the field experience.
Clarification and mutual understanding of your role as faculty advisor early in the field experience with the cooperating teacher and student teacher is critical. Maintaining regular communication with the cooperating teacher (as well as school leader) is equally important and will reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and will help in resolving any differences that may occur.
Completing final field experience evaluations collaboratively with the cooperating teacher and in consideration of the student’s self-evaluation is a valuable support to all three participants.
Responsibility to the School Leader
University faculty advisors play key roles in supporting field experiences within the schools they work while liaising with the university teacher preparation programs Field Experience Office. School leaders and faculty advisors share a common goal to provide a positive, meaningful experience for school personnel and student teachers alike.
Faculty advisors are responsible to the school leader prior to the field experience in communicating teacher preparation institution field experience expectations, policies and regulations (Field Experience Handbook) and making this information known to the associated school personnel as required (school coordinator, cooperating teachers and student teachers).
Faculty advisors can further assist school leaders within the field experience in meeting with school leaders on a regular basis, provide timely advice and information, encourage cooperating teachers’ participation in the field experience, maintain regular collegial contact with cooperating teachers, assist with suitable student teacher placements and evaluation, and communicate professional development opportunities to cooperating teachers.