New Woodrow Wilson white paper focuses on clinical preparation for teacher candidates

Alternative pathways to teaching, national accreditation standards for teacher preparation programs, initiatives from teachers’ unions, studies from the U.S. Department of Education: More and more national stakeholders in teacher preparation are focusing on extended time in the classroom—up to a full year—as an alternative to traditional models of “student teaching.”

So how are teacher education programs in the nation’s colleges and universities changing to incorporate clinical preparation? How long are their teacher candidates spending in the classroom, how do those candidates engage with more senior teachers and mentors, what other elements (like community engagement) are important, and what does success look like?

In Why Clinical Experience and Mentoring Are Replacing Student Teaching on the Best Campuses, Woodrow Wilson Senior Fellow James W. Fraser and Audra Watson, the Foundation’s Director of Mentoring and Induction Strategy, take a look at emerging trends in clinical preparation for new teachers. This new white paper is based on experience with the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships, and includes observations from some of the colleges and universities partnering in the program.

“If the United States is to have the teachers we need for increasingly diverse schools with more and more students from high‐need backgrounds,” Fraser and Watson conclude, “and if we are to prepare 21st‐century citizens and workers with the knowledge and skills they need, it is time to replace 19th‐century student teaching with a 21st‐century in‐depth clinical experience.”


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