Student teaching is the culminating experience for students in music education. This experience places Lawrence seniors in schools for a period of 18 weeks. During this time, student teachers work closely with a mentor teacher at the secondary and/or elementary level to gain the professional knowledge and skills that will prepare them for certification and licensure in Wisconsin and other states. A variety of projects, tasks, and events comprise the student teaching Senior Experience at Lawrence. As they work with their mentor teacher, students observe classroom teaching as they prepare to take responsibility for planning and executing classes, rehearsals, and lessons under the expert guidance of master teachers.
In addition to working with a mentor teacher in the schools, students also work with Lawrence faculty during student teaching, both as mentors and in a weekly seminar meeting. Seminar topics include examination of practical issues related to the classroom, (such as classroom management, lesson planning and execution, and working with young learners), broad matters related to functioning professionally in schools and the profession (licensure, administration, and community), and philosophical issues. One of the mechanisms for facilitating discourse in the seminar is the videotape that student teachers bring in to the seminar. These brief episodes facilitate group discussion of their concerns, questions, and wonderments while providing a glimpse into their distinct student teaching environment.
During student teaching, students engage the complete range of their Lawrence studies, including but not limited to the musical, pedagogical and technical coursework in the program. A culminating product of the student teaching experience is a final teaching portfolio that includes a teacher performance assessment (edTPA), reflective essay, and final student teaching evaluations, which together provide evidence that the student has met Lawrence's teacher education standards.