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Student teaching/practicum

It is a good idea to visit some of the various public school program sites over the course of your studies at the University of Minnesota. This is important to know when you are requesting a practicum placement, when you are requesting student teaching placement, or when you begin your job search.

Student Teaching

Special Education Student Teaching Eligibility: Successful demonstration of competencies as specified in state and national standards is essential for effective teaching. As such, the Special Education teacher licensure programs are designed on a competency-based model. To assist in determination that students/teacher candidates have sufficient knowledge and skills for student teaching, students/ teacher candidates must meet minimum performance standards in licensure coursework. A student/teacher candidate must (a) attain a B (3.0) average across all licensure coursework completed prior to the semester of student teaching and (b) attain a minimum grade of B- in each of these individual courses.

Application process

Student teaching application materials are due:

For Spring Semester- the Tuesday after Columbus Day
For Summer or Fall Semester- the Tuesday of Spring Break Week

An email announcement with a link to the application will be sent to current students one month before the application deadline. You must submit all materials to be considered for student teaching:

Submitted Online-

  • Online application

Emailed to Alicia Vegell, Special Education Program Assistant-

On-The-Job Student Teaching

Policies for on-the-job student teaching vary by licensure area. Please see the notes below on specific policies and application forms.

  • DD - On-the-job placements of students in the developmental disabilities program are only given to students in special circumstances. policy statement and on-the-job application [.doc]
  • DHH – Please read and complete the application materials Policy Statement and On-the-job Application [.doc]
  • EBD - Currently on-the-job student teaching placements are not available for the emotional/behavioral disorders program.
  • ECSE - On-the-job student teaching placements are not available for the early childhood special education program
  • LD - Currently on-the-job student teaching placements are not available for the learning disabilities program.


Your student teaching placements will cover a variety of age ranges and settings.

  • EPsy 5751: DHH Student Teaching (6 credits) typically completed full-time one semester.
  • EPsy 5752: LD Student Teaching (6 credits) typically completed in two settings full-time one semester or part-time two semesters.
  • EPsy 5754: EBD Student Teaching (6 credits) typically completed in two settings full-time one semester or part-time two semesters.
  • EPsy 5755/5756: DD Student Teaching (3credits/3 credits) typically completed full-time for two semesters.
  • EPsy 5761/5762: ECSE Student Teaching (3credits/3 credits) typically completed part-time of two semesters with the 3 to 5 placement prior to Birth to 3.


EPSY 5701/3701: General Education Practicum (for students not currently classroom licensed)

  • part of the Standards of Effective Practice requirements
  • register for 2 semester credits or 1 credit for each of 2 semesters
  • minimum 120 contact hours = 2 semester credits
  • placements and supervision by academic adviser

EPSY 5704: Practicum in Middle/Secondary Settings

  • part of the Special Education licensure requirements
  • register for 1 credit
  • minimum 35 contact hours
  • placements and supervision by academic adviser

EPSY 5705: Practicum in ECSE/Elementary Settings

  • part of the Special Education licensure requirements
  • register for 1 credit
  • minimum 35 contact hours
  • placements and supervision by academic adviser

A minimum of 150 hours experience in a variety of classroom settings is needed prior to student teaching. This experience can be completed by (a) registering for the practica (5701, 5704, 5705) or (b) providing documentation of relevant work experiences (including time spent in all settings and grade ranges that include typical learners, learners with disabilities, K-5, and 6-12). Note- if you waive the practica you will need to demonstrate that you will be able to complete assignments in the required courses (5604, 5618, 5619, 5657). Further details will be available from course instructors.

Service Delivery Models to consider for Field Experiences

Inclusion programs

Resource room program model

In the resource room model, special education students are enrolled in a regular education classroom. In this setting, children will receive special education services while having opportunities to learn alongside their peers. In some cases, the classroom is co-taught by both a general education teacher and a special education teacher. In other cases, a general education teacher provides most of the instruction and a special education teacher delivers services at specific times during the day. When a special education teacher provides services in this model, service delivery may include specially designed lessons for the whole class, small group instruction in or out of the classroom, direct instruction with an individual child, and/or consultation with the general education teacher to provide assistance with understanding individual child needs, determining curriculum modifications, and choosing accommodations to enable greater child participation in class activities.

Consultant program model (DHH)

In the consultant program model, students who are deaf/hard of hearing are enrolled in their neighborhood schools. They qualify for indirect services from a teacher/consultant. Indirect services may include observing a student’s functional hearing in the classroom environment and providing consultation to regular education teachers, parents, peers, support personnel and administrators. Also provided are assessment program planning, materials and equipment determination, and procurement of needed materials and equipment. Coordination of related services, monitoring, periodic review and supportive administrative services are essential to the student’s success in regular education classes.

Itinerant program model (DHH)

In the itinerant model, students who are deaf/hard of hearing are enrolled in regular classes in their neighborhood schools. Supported by a combination of indirect and direct services, they demonstrate an ability to function at grade level academically. Direct services assist students in developing the special skills necessary to compensate for their hearing loss in the classroom environment and to maintain the highest possible hearing acuity. Basic instruction is provided by the regular classroom teacher with indirect support from the special education team. The special education team, including the teacher of deaf/hard of hearing students, speech/language clinician, school counselor, audiologist, sign language interpreter, etc., in consultation with the regular education teacher, determine materials and equipment essential to assist with the education program.

Self-contained programs

Self-contained classroom

In the class for special education learners, students are enrolled in a small, self-contained classroom for more than half of the school day, instructed by a teacher of special education students. These students require an intensive academic program and/or unique skills training. Their needs are such that major curriculum modification and mode of instruction are unique, precluding regular classroom placement. Whenever feasible, students should be provided the opportunity to participate in a regular program, either in school or in the community.

Special class program model (another disability) (DHH)

In the special class model, deaf/hard of hearing students are integrated in a special class of students with a primary disability other than hearing loss. Teachers of deaf/hard of hearing students assist the other special education teacher in a consultant, itinerant or resource capacity. Students are provided support services, including materials and equipment as needed. If students in this model are integrated into regular school activities and classes, the teacher of deaf/hard of hearing students is able to provide unique instruction designed to meet the needs of a learner with hearing loss.

Residential school program model (DHH)

Students who have a complexity of needs not readily met in the regular classroom or in a special class require the comprehensive services available in a residential setting. Services provided are multi-disciplinary spread over 24 hours a day and include daily living skills. Teachers provide direct instruction within special classes to meet educational requirements at the elementary and secondary level, including essential special skills associated with hearing loss.

Home-based programs

Home-bound model (DHH)

Occasionally, a deaf/hard of hearing student may require extensive medical treatment. Instruction on a daily basis at home or in the hospital may be necessary. If the treatment is on an intermittent bases at home or in the hospital and interferes with the education program, the student is eligible for assistance as well.

In-home program model (ECSE)

In the in-home program model, a special education teacher delivers services in the child’s home with the child and their family. In-home services are most often offered to children younger than age 3. When working in a child’s home, the special education teacher pays particular attention to how the needs of the child may be addressed within the natural routines of the family. The role of the special education teacher is to support the child’s care providers in caring for their child and addressing individual developmental and instructional needs along with aiding in service coordination for children with complex needs. As the child grows older, the special education teacher will work with the family to determine if an inclusion or self-contained program model may then be helpful in preparing the child to begin kindergarten.

See also

Clinical Experience Handbook (student teaching)