Initial Reflective Essay Illinois State Board

Catalog Description:


A weekly seminar in which students exchange information and share reflections derived from clinical experiences made in area high schools.

Note Well:

  • As of September 2015 all student teacher candidates must submit and pass the edTPA for graduation
  • As of Spetember, 2012 ACT/SAT Scores can now be used in lieu of the TAP for full admission to an Illinois Educator Preparation Program. Requirements and Procedures
  • It is strongly recommended that all PTE students take the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) Test by the end of fall semester of their sophomore year.
  • We have been notified that effective January 2010, anyone who wants to complete any clinical experiences in schools must have passed a Criminal Background Check prior to starting. Be certain to visit the ISU Teacher Education Center website for the latest CBC information.
  • We have been notified by the Illinois State Board of Education that individuals who will be applying for their initial teaching certification or additional endorsements as of 2/1/2012 must have a grade of "C" or above in all required coursework that is part of their program. This includes all math and science courses, as well as professional education.
  • Physics teacher education majors must take and pass the Illinois Certification Testing System examination for the physics designation. Most students complete this activity during the spring of their junior year. It is best (required?) that this assessment be completed by September 1 of the year prior to student teaching. The test consists of 18 content areas and about 125 questions. About 2/3 of the test consists of "general science knowledge" and 1/3 of the test deals with more advanced topics in physics. Begin now to prepare for this test by using the ICTS Physics Test Framework that was used to develop test questions.


Name: Ken Wester, Coordinator
Physics Teacher Education Program
Office Location: Moulton Hall, Room 322
Office Hours: drop in or by appointment
Telephones: (309) 438-2957 (office); 309-660-9902 (cell)
E-mail address:


Meeting Days/Times/Location:

The class meeting time has been set for Wednesdays from 6:00 to 6:50 p.m. beginning August 23 in Moulton Hall, room 307-b. An additional twenty-eight hours of independent outside clinical experiences conducted with a high needs school district and a high school physics teacher are required.


Clinical students will meet with seminar leader as a group for 50 minutes each week for the first part of the semester, and then only 50 minutes every other week later in the semester. During these seminars students will learn about teaching environments, experience model lessons, discuss professional teaching standards, review indicators for assessing teaching performance, and relate findings from clinical experiences as time permits. Clinical experiences (consisting of observations and interactions) will be assigned each week beginning the first week of class. Clinical students will turn in written reflections for each clinical observation following a structured format that includes three types of written information: descriptive, analytical, and reflective. This will help clinical students to think systematically about teaching and increases learning associated with each clinical experience.

There will be two frameworks for each student's clinical experiences : (1) an 8-clock-hour credit Urban Studies Field Trip introducing all students to the optional urban studies concentration, and (2) a 20-clock-hour credit Service Learning Project:

Urban Studies Field Trip: On an established day, PHY 209 teacher candidates will spend one day in the Chicago metropolitan area conducting a series of clinical observations in a high-needs urban high school and the surrounding community. These experiences are designed to advance teaching and learning in urban schools as a matter of social justice. These experiences also help teacher candidates better understand the problems of and potential for student teaching and teaching careers within a high needs urban setting. Teacher candidates should contact the instructors of their other autumn semester courses immediately to seek pre-approval for this all-day field trip. A letter seeking approval will be sent by this course's instructor to other course instructors upon request; please provide instructor names, departments, and courses with section number within the first week of class if necessary.

This course is supported in part by Illinois State University's Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline™ TEACHER+PLUS urban teacher education initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education and State Farm Insurance Co. Foundation. For an overview of TEACHER+PLUS goals and enrollment click on TEACHER+PLUS.

Service Learning Project: Clinical students will make a series of clinical observations and perform a series of clinical interactions in high school physics classrooms. (Clinical students will be asked for placement suggestions, so please come to the first few classes with names of teachers and schools if possible.) These experiences provide clinical students with an opportunity to learn more fully what secondary science teaching is all about. Participating schools, cooperating teachers, and school assignments will be announced early in the course. Please note that many of our clinical sites are out of town, and some form of transportation will almost always be required.

Students will be required to use Mallard for short quizzes on a regular basis. Mallard is a web-based application requiring only a web browser (Internet Explorer recommended). Access information (login, password) for the Mallard web site is provided in the Student Performance Assessments section below.

Course/Institutional Policies:

Emphasis in this course will be placed on an Assessment-for-Learning Policy. That is, assessments of student performance will be used not only to assign grades, but to improve student performance. Each submitted project will be assessed with the use of a scoring rubric. Unsatisfactory work will be returned to the student for improvement if requested and submitted before the deadline. A student's score can be improved by appropriate revision and resubmission, so long as all deadlines are met. This policy does not apply to quizzes. Each and every task in this course must be completed successfully (an 82% or above score) as a prerequisite for admission to professional studies. This constitutes a de facto course grade requirement of a "B" or better.

All students must wear a readily visible university ID tag when at the Urban Studies Field Trip school site or in attendance at the Service Learning Project site. (The badge itself is the university ID card; holders for the ID card can be found at area bookstores.

All students must maintain proper grooming and appearance while in the school setting because they represent Illinois State University as well as its Teacher Education program. Likewise, all students must maintain a professional demeanor when in the school.

Under no circumstances should clinical experience students agree to take on tasks for which they are unqualified (e.g., teaching for more than 15 minutes, supervising students in absence of teacher).

The course instructor reserves the right to remove any student from the Urban Studies Field Trip or the Service Learning Project site for legitimate reasons such as inappropriate classroom behavior, failure to follow directions of teacher, failure to follow course, school, and/or university policies, and failure to keep commitments, dereliction of duty, or discovery of disqualifying prior criminal offenses.

Course Goals:

The University's Teacher Education program provides pre-professional activities within school and community settings for all programs leading to teacher certification. The goals of pre-professional activities, including those identified as clinical experience and student teaching, are to help the clinical student:

  • to grasp more fully the dilemmas and opportunities presented by teaching in diverse settings, to discern career preferences, and to acquire practical experience prior to entering into the full responsibilities of the role of teacher.
  • to determine whether or not (s)he has the personal attributes required of a successful teacher.
  • to demonstrate to the Physics Teacher Education program coordinator the clinical student's suitability for candidacy in Professional Studies using the assistance of a cooperating in-service physics teacher.

Performance Objectives:

Clinical experience reports, quizzes, and essays are due as indicated below.

To be admitted to Professional Studies, each clinical student must demonstrate all of the following competencies at a B level or above:
(1) participate in a 8-clock-hour Urban Studies Field Trip and a 20-clock-hour Service Learning Project demonstrating by word and deed that (s)he can work within the University's conceptual framework Realizing the Democratic Ideal.

INTASC, IPTS, ISU Conceptual Framework


(2) complete a Service Learning Project portfolio documenting 20 hours of clinical experiences associated with the Service Learning Project, including data collection, analysis, and reflection.NSTA Teacher Preparation Standards, INTASC, IPTS, ISU Conceptual Framework


(3) complete an Urban Studies Field Trip portfolio documenting 8 hours of clinical experiences associated with the Urban Studies Field Trip, including data collection, analysis, and reflection. INTASC, IPTS, ISU Conceptual Framework


(4) elaborate on what it means to be an ISU teacher candidate. This includes writing two essays: "Why I (Don't) Want to be a Teacher" and "How I Will Implement the Democratic Ideal as a Teacher"NCATE Program Standards 1 & 2


(5) correctly explain and/or apply via online quizzes several pertinent sets of standards that characterize professional teaching performance in general and in science in particular.NSTA # 5 - Pedagogy
NSTA#10 - Professional Practice


(6) complete and reflect on a diagnostic test called the Teaching Personality Inventory in an attempt to self assess suitability as a teacher.ISAAPT Teacher Candidate Recruitment Guidelines


(7) participate fully in class discussions, sharing clinical experiences, analyses, and reflections as appropriate. 


IPTS Correlation






209B, 209C





Grading periods:

This course has three grading periods, each associated with clinical experiences lasting four weeks. Each Grading Period contributes roughly equally to the final grade in this course. The end of each grading period constitutes an absolute deadline for turning in clinical experiences work; missing or late work scores zero. If a clinical experience takes, say, two hours, it is still counted as one CE. The hours are reported separately.

Course outline/ Submission deadlines:

  • Read and prepare to discuss NSTA Standard 1
  • Prepare note card with 3 points of interest on NSTA Standard 1
  • Read and prepare to discuss Realizing the Democratic Ideal
  • Prepare note card with 6 points of interest on Realizing the Democratic Ideal
  • Read and prepare to discuss NSTA Standard 4
  • Prepare notecard with 3-6 points of interest on NSTA Standard 4
  • Quizz on NSTA Standard 3and 4
  • Discussion on NSTA Standard 3 and 4


  • Field Trip to Chicago. Be in the parking lot by 5:55 a.m.

The following items must now be complete and submitted by the end of the day (4:30) 10/20

Teaching Personality Inventory reflection, first draft of "How I Will Implement the Democratic Ideal as a Teacher" essay and Intro 1, 2 and 3 of the clinical experience requirement.

  • Discussion on chapter 2 Science Literacy
  • Discussion on NSTA standards 5 & 6
  • Discussion on the Chicago Trip
  • Read and prepare to discuss NBPTS brochures.
  • Read and prepare to discuss Chapter 3 "Teaching & Learning", Wenning & R. Vieyra
  • Discussion of NBPTS
  • Discussion Chapter 3

The following two items must now be complete and submitted at the start of class on 11/29/17
Why I want to be a teacher and How I will Implement the Democratic Ideal as a Teacher

    • Discussion of NSTA #10
    • Discuss Chapter 3 "Teaching & Learning", Wenning & R. Vieyra
  • Teaching Standards (brochures)

  • Completion of Urban Education Survey #2 (record responses on data sheet for pre-post comparison)
  • Complete all Service Learning Project activities and Documentation Folder submissions
  • Deliver completed SLP Evaluation Form to PHY 209 course instructor
  • Turn in signature sheet along with Documentation Folder

Service Learning Project Portfolio, Urban Education Portfolio

Final Evaluation by Cooperating Teacher Due from Clinical Student by End of Finals Week

Required Text and Other Resources:

The readings in this seminar course will come from online resources and a few brochures. Students are not required to purchase any textbooks for this course.

Student Performance Assessments:

Each student's course grade will be based upon the following tasks and assignments. Clinical students must do well enough (defined as a score of 82% or above) on each project to receive a positive recommendation from their cooperating teacher for Admission to Professional Studies. Without a positive recommendation, clinical students will not receive a recommendation from the PTE program coordinator to be admitted to Professional Studies.

Clinical students will participate in a minimum of 28 clock hours of Service Learning Project clinical experiences following specific Project Guidelines. Students will provide basic assistance to the cooperating teacher, and will conduct clinical observations and interactions. Clinical students' performances will be assessed by cooperating teachers using a Midterm & Final Assessment Form scoring rubric. It is the student's responsibility to see to it that the course's scoring rubric is provided to and completed by the cooperating teacher. It is the responsibility of each clinical student to return the signed evaluation to the course instructor in a timely fashion.

Students must individually describe, analyze, and reflect upon all 20 clock hours of Service Learning Project activities. During the SLP, clinical students will be required to make and document all observations/interactions based upon the 2004 NSTA Teacher Preparation Standards and the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (see Course Outline) as well as the Clinical Interactions Handbook. Documentation will consist of describing experiences, preparing analytical reports, and reflecting on the meaning of what has been observed and recorded. These written reports and reflections must be submitted in a folder. Students may turn in their reports periodically for review and recommendations as part of the Assessment-for-Learning Policy.

Students must, working in groups, describe, analyze, and reflect upon all 8 clock hours of an Urban Studies Field Trip as part of a required portfolio development process. This will include participating in urban school and community visits, working with urban high school students, meeting with school administrators and in-service science teachers, and completing and comparing notes. An urban studies portfolio assessment rubric is available that states all required elements and criteria. More specific information will be provided once the dates have been estabilished by CPS.

Students must complete two essays, "Why I Want to be a Teacher" and "How I Will Implement the Democratic Ideal as a Teacher." Each essay is worth 10% of the course grade. These essays should draw on clinical student experiences with the Service Learning Project. Review the Essay Guidelines and Scoring Rubric before beginning this work; be certain to reference your Urban Studies Field Trip as appropriate.

To be able to effectively discuss readings in class, clinical students will need to critically read and understand a number of assignments prior to coming to class. In order to increase the likelihood that assigned readings will be read and understood, there will be one or two online Mallard quizzes before nearly every class. Quizzes will address both knowledge and understanding. The quizzes for this course may be accessed at the following Web site: (secure server - note the "s" on "https"). Login names are the ULID (e.g., sroberts) and passwords are UID (e.g., 834578364). There normally will be 5-6 questions worth one point each. Caution: These are one-chance quizzes; quizzes may not be repeated for an improved score. Repeated tests automatically score zero; do not retry.

Students must complete a self-assessment dealing with their own personalities as teachers. The goal of the Teaching Personality Inventory is to help candidates determine whether or not they have the proper sort of personality required to be successful teachers. The inventory helps candidates examine five indicators closely associated with effective teaching. The TPI is password protected. Contact your course instructor for the password.

To be admitted to Professional Studies, clinical students must demonstrate the proper dispositions and the ability to use their knowledge to effectively participate in class activities. Clinical students will be evaluated on the degree of their contributions to in-class discussions and other group activities. Class participation will be assessed with the use of a Participation Rubric. While such participation will be evaluated, it will not be part of the course grade.


In order to ensure that all work is done in a timely fashion, the composite score upon which the final course grade is determined will consist of sub-scores from each of three scoring periods.The final course grade will be determined on the basis of a composite score according to the following schedule:

This grading scale might seem a bit high to the student, but it assumes that students will take advantage of the instructor's Assessment-for-LearningPolicy to obtain the highest possible scores.

Important Notification:

Now would be a good time to take the Enhanced Basic Skills Test and the ICTS Science Content Test (physics designation) for teacher certification. The Basic Skills Test must be passed and scores submitted to ISU before students will be admitted to Professional Studies; the ICTS Science Content Test must be passed and scores submitted to ISU before students will be admitted to Student Teaching. See the Teacher Education Center web site for details.

Academic Integrity:

Students are expected to be honest in all academic work. A student's name on any in academic exercise shall be regarded as assurance that the work is the result of the student's own efforts. Offenses involving academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, the following: cheating, computer dishonesty, plagiarism, grade falsification, and collusion. For more information about this important topic, visit the Student Dispute Resolution Web site.

Caution: Keep in mind as you progress toward student teaching that as a student teacher your students will have an interest in finding out about you. This will lead them to Internet searches. Don't put anything on a web page, uTube, Facebook, MySpace, etc., that you wouldn't want students, parents, teachers or administrators to see.

Important Note: NOW is the time to learn more about both the Physics Teacher Education and Professional Studies programs at Illinois State University. Be certain to visit the PTE home page and follow all important links.

Disposition Concerns: The College of Education, in an effort to ensure top quality graduates, provides faculty members and interested others with the opportunity to provide input into the teacher preparation process. One of these inputs is in the area of disposition concerns. Education faculty, in particular, are encouraged to bring to attention of CECP any significant problems associated with the following major areas. If three or more filed dispositions concerns have not been resolved, the teacher candidate will be blocked from advancing in Professional Studies.

  • Collaboration Issues: The ability to work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.
  • Honesty/Integrity: The ability to demonstrate truthfulness to oneself and to others; demonstrate moral excellence and trustworthiness.
  • Respect: The ability to honor, value, and demonstrate consideration and regard for oneself and others.
  • Reverence for Learning: Respect and seriousness of intent to acquire knowledge.
  • Emotional Maturity: The ability to adjust one’s emotional state to suitable level of intensity in order to remain engaged with one’s surroundings.
  • Reflection: The ability to review, analyze, and evaluate the success of past decisions in an effort to make better decisions in the future.
  • Flexibility: The willingness to accept and adapt to change.
  • Responsibility: The ability to act independently, demonstrating accountability, reliability and sound judgment.

Click here for latest listing of Teacher Education Requirements.

Continuing Education/Professional Development for Teacher Candidates:

As a science teacher candidate, you need to regularly update your knowledge about the worlds of science and education. Here are several weekly online journals to which you might consider reading, and some will allow you to subscribe to an e-mail newsletter format so you won't miss a thing:

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Aims & Scope

Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders (TLCSD) publishes articles that reflect current and exemplary scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) research in speech-language pathology and audiology.

Articles submitted to TLCSD may also reflect current trends in the format of SoTL work, including original research, quantitative or qualitative in nature, reflective essays and case studies, both grounded in the literature. We invite manuscripts which also fall within the umbrella of evidence-based education in CSD, including:

  • Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Research: These articles represent new investigations of teaching and learning and could include original research or meta-analyses. Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Research articles clearly reflect a systematic approach to studying teaching and learning that is data-based (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods) in nature.
  • Scholarly Teaching: Scholarly teaching articles report on the process or impact of a published SoTL studies. Scholarly teaching submissions extend the evidence-base for teaching and learning in CSD. Submissions in this category may include meta-analyses or reports of applying SoTL research from CSD or other disciplines to a clinical/academic context.
  • Pilot Studies: Pilot studies represent emerging and developing research on teaching and learning. Submissions in this category should include an explanation of early results from the investigation and should give provide explanations for any limitations in the study as well as report on plans for next steps for the future.
  • Reflections on SoTL: Reflections on the SoTL research process that illustrate the complexity of SoTL research and the thought processes involved in any/all steps of this type of inquiry are welcome. Reflections on SoTL must have application to other researchers/settings in order to be considered for publication.
  • Student Voices: Student voices articles include original research, reflections on the SoTL research process, reflections on student experiences with evidence-based learning, or the reporting of pilot data. This type of manuscript is reserved for articles that feature a student as the first author/director of the submitted paper.
  • Book Reviews: Book reviews represent critical analyses of SoTL texts specific to speech-language pathology, audiology, or other disciplinary fields.



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