Prospective mathematics teacher preparation: exploring the use of service learning as a field experience
Fields Mathematics Education Journal
Perhaps the most traditional and iconic component of university teacher preparation programs in any discipline is experiential education (i.e., field experience), which is considered one of the most important and powerful components of teacher education programs  . Field experiences provide teacher candidates an understanding of the values, cultures, and styles of learning and school communities and are typically composed of student teaching, practicum experiences, community service, and
... vice learning  . In most traditional teacher education programs, the field-based experiences are designed to socialize prospective teachers into the school setting  . Field experiences range from brief, observation-based practicums to extensive, in-depth internships that require additional practice of pedagogical knowledge under supervision of an experienced teacher. The most common field experience is student teaching, which traditionally includes observation and practiced application of instruction as a part of a semester-long course  . Although the prospective teacher has opportunities to implement instructional strategies, engage students in discourse, and "practice" instructional styles during the field-based experiences, they are under the direction and supervision of their cooperating teacher. In other words, the prospective teacher adheres to the preestablished classroom rules, procedures, and curriculum, and follows the lead of the Abstract The See Blue Mathematics Clinic provides prospective teachers an authentic teaching environment via a service learning experience. In this qualitative study, the authors examine how a service learning course prepares prospective secondary mathematics teachers (n = 55) to teach students who struggle in mathematics. Data collected from reflection essays and interviews revealed the impact the service learning experience had on prospective secondary mathematics teachers and how it notably influenced their instruction. The results of this study add to the growing evidence for teacher preparation programs to create additional field experiences to better prepare future teachers.