Recently, Florida State University made the announcement that undergraduate students would have to complete experiential learning in order to graduate. This new requirement aims to help students gain more hands-on experience before entering the workforce. Alumni and current students from the College of Education might seem surprised that this wasn’t a requirement already. After all, many of our programs have included experiential learning from the beginning.
“Experiential learning has helped many of our graduates feel more prepared when they begin their careers,” says Dean Damon Andrew. “Whether working in a classroom, with a professional sport team or a Fortune 500 company, our graduates are ready to dive into their new positions.”
Play Hard, Work Hard
The FSU Sport Management program might have one of the most active and visible experiential learning programs on campus. Leveraging its extensive connections and national prominence, the program regularly sees students volunteer at major sporting events. Just this year, students traveled to the Women’s Final Four competition in Tampa, Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, and the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
They also started the year by traveling to the NCAA College Football Playoffs. “The trip was very beneficial to me personally as it helped me realize what I want to do in the sports industry,” says sport management student Chelsea Boretti.
At all of these events, students worked closely with staff and practiced for jobs they might land after graduating. They also listened to industry professionals deliver talks and insights on their own experience in the sport industry.
Students in the sport management program also regularly take on internships. Every semester, sport management students log hundreds of internship hours. This precious time spent with sport professionals and working for companies big and small gives our students confidence and experience.
As early as their first semester, students in our teacher education programs learn what it’s really like to be a teacher. Through a variety of placements in different educational contexts, they are exposed to a broad spectrum of students and environments that prepare them for their careers in the classroom and beyond.
"Our field experiences provide students with a rich diversity of placements," said Meredith Higgins, director of student teaching. "These include rural and urban school sites, title one schools, nationally recognized Blue Ribbon schools, and others. The experiences that our students receive in the field are essential to their growth as educators."
Through these hands-on experiences, our students learn how to implement classroom management strategies for different populations. They also engage in tutoring, small group learning, whole group teaching, and teacher tasks, like filling, grading, and attending meetings. The number of hours they spend in the field ramp up as they progress through the program, culminating in a semester-long student teaching internship.
Our students also learn how to work with individuals outside the classroom. They tutor English language learners (ELLs) in a variety of community settings, including the Boys & Girls Club, Ghazvini Learning Center, and the Leon County public library. This important work helps to ensure that ELLs get the support they need to succeed in school.
Starting this fall, our students will be able to utilize technology to enhance their field experiences and teaching skills. Through a program called GoReact, students can upload, record, or stream a video with a webcam or smartphone. Instructors will then give time-coded feedback on their video to allow students to improve their skills in a shorter amount of time. Through this software, peer-to-peer reflection, self-reflection, and supervisor reflection will all be housed within the same video. This will serve as an important teaching tool that allows for immediate feedback and continuous growth of our students.