Field Experience

The M.Ed. with Certification teacher candidate with a major in Special Education has three field experiences.
Beginning Field Experience (BFE) takes place during the candidate’s first semester in the program. Teacher Candidates are expected to select *diverse school settings for Beginning Field Experience observations.

The Intermediate Field Experience (IFE) is an assigned placement for 20 consecutive full-days in the fall semester. The IFE for special education teacher candidates is a bridged experience. The IFE placement is the same placement is used for the student teaching semester. The final semester before certification is Advanced Field Experience (AFE). Student teaching is approximately fifteen consecutive weeks.



The Beginning Field Experience at the University of St. Francis gives new teacher candidates an opportunity to observe for 40 hours in *diverse school settings of their choosing. This semester long experience offers candidates the opportunity to learn about what is expected of teachers and to reflect on how they see themselves teaching in the future.

Special Education Teacher Candidates must observe children with special needs in the following schools:
(1) at least one elementary school
(2) at least one middle school, and
(3) at least one high school.

It is strongly recommended that each special education teacher candidate observe in several different areas of special education e.g. LD resource, instructional settings, MMI, autism rooms, ED classrooms, life skill, co-teaching/inclusion etc.

*A school where twenty-five percent of students in a school are identified as members of a racial /ethnic minority group is considered diverse.



The Graduate Intermediate Field Experience at the University of St. Francis is a twenty consecutive full-day experience beginning approximately two months into the semester. Teacher candidates will be teaching and working at a designated school site with an assigned cooperating teacher and university supervisor. During this 20 full-day field experience, the teacher candidate will have the opportunity to apply theories and practice strategies learned in their method courses.



The Advanced Field Experience (student teaching) at the University of St. Francis is an experience that gives the teacher candidate an opportunity to observe and teach at a host school for approximately 15 consecutive weeks. This experience provides the teacher candidate a sustained opportunity to apply educational theory into a classroom setting. The teacher candidate is responsible for guiding and directing the learning of a group of pupils under the guidance and supervision of a professionally certified and competent member of the teaching profession and an assigned university supervisor.