OverviewA Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) is an essential and mandatory academic qualification to become a government school teacher at the secondary and higher secondary school level, and though preferred for a teaching post in a private school, it may not necessarily be a requirement.
Now, while a B.Ed. course is basically a teacher education program that enables you to set out on the path of a teaching profession, it is not all about theoretical learning but also engaging in practical activities related to it to gain first-hand experiences within a school setting. One of the practical components of a B.Ed. course thus includes an internship.
B.Ed. internship requirements The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) has laid down the guidelines that are required for a school internship, which is mandatory for a B.Ed. course. Accordingly, the NCTE norms for an internship requirement for a B.Ed. course of two years' duration is (i) two weeks in the second semester of the first year of the program, for which you get four credits; and (ii) 18 weeks in the third semester of the second year of the program, for which you get 16 credits.
In the case of the four-year integrated B.A./B.Ed. and B.Sc./B.Ed. course, you need to complete (i) two weeks of internship in the fourth semester of the second year (two credits for this are given), (ii) two weeks in the sixth semester of the third year (two credits), and (iii) 16 weeks in the eighth semester of the fourth year (16 credits).
Before we delve into what are the features of a B.Ed. student-teacher internship, let us understand why such an internship is important.
Benefits and significance of B.Ed. internships By engaging directly with the ambiance of a school setting through a B.Ed. internship, you are not just getting the first-hand experience under the supervision of individuals who are already in the teaching profession. You also can foresee what a career in teaching will be like for you.
Whatever you learned in theory in classroom sessions during your B.Ed. course comes alive in the school setting. Keep in mind that you are not mere observers during a B.Ed. internship. Yes, as part of the internship there are sessions of observing the class teacher but this is a fraction of what you will actually do, as you will learn in the next section of this article. What you are benefitting from the internship is an understanding of, and insight into, the professional setup of both the classroom and the school. You will learn to convey concepts of a subject in offbeat ways and overall fine-tune your teaching abilities.
On a personal level, too, you benefit through a B.Ed. internship, as you gain a great deal of self-confidence and improve your own verbal and written communication skills, not to mention creativity coming to the fore in preparing informative charts, making presentations and other teaching-learning tools.
Features and highlights of B.Ed. internships As indicated earlier, a school internship is a compulsory component of a B.Ed. course and is to be done on a full-time basis during the hours of the school where you are doing the internship. Not only that, but you must also fulfill the 90% attendance criterion for it. It is not as though since you are not attending the college, you can skip the internship sessions now and then!
The activities related to the internship are also mandatorily to be completed and reports on them to be submitted on time, otherwise, you will be declared as failed. Right from Day 1 of your school internship, you must maintain a Reflective Diary which is a notebook in which you will diligently note down all that happened each day and your thoughts on them. Throughout the internship, too, you will also be writing out reports at the end of each part of the internship. The Diary as well as the reports will need to be submitted for evaluation.
Pre-internship activities Naturally, at the very beginning of the internship, you are not going to straight away start teaching school students. What happens is that in the initial weeks of the first year of the B.Ed. course, you will be involved in what is known as pre-internship activities. This involves observing the manner in which the regular teachers of the school conduct their classes and their interactions with parents and students. Other aspects at this time include an understanding of the school's organizational structure and its rules and regulations, the syllabus and textbooks, lesson plans, etc. You will later be required to prepare an analytical report of the school and its activities, based on your observations.
During the school internship, you will actively participate in the co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, such as sports events, cultural programs, celebrating National days, etc. Now, this is not for recreational purposes to have fun but to give you an insight into the unique facets of the school and its learning environment. Additionally, you are required to take up two activities out of the three that you will be given, these activities as decided by the internship school. Some examples - doing a case study of a student, writing a research project on a problem area of schooling, conducting a survey on a relevant topic, organizing a campaign for community service, addressing the school Assembly, etc.
Classroom teaching of a school internshipp It is during the second year of the B.Ed. course that you will get to the core of the internship, namely classroom teaching. The first step towards this is preparing the lesson plans for teaching specific units of two subjects that are taught in the school where you doing the internship. These lesson plans should be as per the prescribed syllabus and, like any regular teacher, you will be making the decision on what to teach and how to teach it. You will also develop conventional and digital learning resources, that is, teaching-learning aids. Examples - puzzles and diagrams (conventional tools), and animations and slide photos (digital tools).
Next, you will prepare assessment tools, such as multiple-choice questions, an assignment, questionnaires and interviews, etc. In-between your other internship work, you will be organizing co-curricular activities, such as essay writing or drawing competitions, maybe even planning and organizing a PTA meeting. Finally, you are required to submit a term-end paper on a specific theme.
Appraisal of the internship work Throughout your internship at the school, you will be under the supervision of the school Principal and one or more senior teachers, with one teacher being assigned as the Mentor. All the reports that you submit as per the requirements of the internship must be authenticated by the mentors and verified by the school's Principal. A detailed evaluation scheme for the school internship will be in place to assess all that you did, including preparing the lesson plans, conducting the class, organizing activities, etc. You will also be assessed for your personal traits, such as commitment to your work, honesty and discipline, etc. So being late to report to the school or forgetting to conduct a class as pre-scheduled will be a red mark to your name.
Selecting the right internship school When enrolling for the B.Ed. course, you should ideally check out if the institute has tie-ups with schools who are agreeable with taking in student-teachers (B.Ed. interns). Not all schools are willing to participate in the collaboration with the college that offers a B.Ed. course, though, as they may consider it an interruption of their normal schedule. In case of limited options, the college may assign the school to the student-teachers for their internship and there are a minimum number of students who can be assigned to one school. In case of multiple schools being available and the option to select an internship school, it is advisable to select one that is not solely having primary classes. A secondary school or even one having higher secondary classes would be your best choice for maximum benefits of your internship program.
It has also been advised to take up internship sessions in your second year of the B.Ed. course that is different from the one in your first year for a more varied experience. Hence it is suggested by NCTE to do an internship in both, a government school, and a private school, and even opting for getting involved with a school that teaches underprivileged children or tribal children. Stepping out of the conventional urban setting and heading into the smaller towns and villages to do a school internship will be an eye-opener too.
And don't worry about what to do and not do during the internship. Your college will be detailing out the specifics of every unit of the internship weeks and you just need to check the brochure which provides the detailed syllabus. In any case, a school that has been selected for, and accepted to be an internship school, will be provided with the Internship Handbook of NCTE that outlines the modules of the internship for the student-teachers, including the type of activities to be completed by them. The school also needs to monitor the classroom teaching session and other activities organized by the interns and assess their performance in collaboration with the mentor-teachers.
So get set to immerse yourself in a unique experience that forms a school internship and helps you towards taking that crucial step towards a rewarding teaching career. One day you'll be the one receiving the Happy Teacher's Day wishes!
All the best for a successful school internship!
At the start of this article, we mentioned the necessity of completing a B.Ed. course for taking up a school teaching post. Know in which cases you may not require it.
Footnote: As per the recent education policy, a new framework for teacher education will be created by NCTE in consultation with NCERT and by the next century, it will be mandatory to have a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree to be eligible to take up teaching.
Readers who have been student-teachers as part of the internship of their B.Ed. course are invited to share their personal experiences in the comment box below.
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.
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