What Field Experience Methods Produce the Best Results?

Why is this question important? An important component of most teacher preparation is field experience, often referred to as student teaching. A national survey of state teacher-preparation requirements shows half of all new teachers receive at least 8 weeks of field experience. If we assume there is a need to assist new teachers integrate educational theory, knowledge, and skills in practice and because over half of teachers currently receive some form of field experience, it is reasonable to ask what type of field experience offers new teachers the best training.

See further discussion below.


Source(s): (1) Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Related to Achievement; (2) Laboratory Experiences in Teacher Education: A Meta-Analytic Review of Research; and (3) Student Achievement Through Staff Development

Result(s): Hattie (2009) found a 0.88 effect size for microteaching. This technique offers preparation programs an effective tool for training new teachers before they begin working in typical service settings. Metcalf (1995) found a 0.7 effect size for on-campus laboratory experience. Joyce and Showers (2002) found an effect size of 0.83 for coaching teachers in real classrooms with real students, suggesting that this is one of the most effective methods for ensuring that new skills are actually used in the classroom.

Implication(s): Practicing teaching skills with real students or in controlled settings is an important method for integrating skills taught in preparation programs. The three studies—by Hattie, Metcalf, and Joyce and Showers—provide evidence that field experience is an important component of building competent teachers. It offers new teachers the chance to become facile in using teaching skills and also provides the coaching that new teachers need to improve their performance.

Author(s): (1) John Hattie, (2) Kim Metcalf, and (3) Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers.

Publisher(s): (1) Routledge, (2) American Education Research Association (AERA), and (3) Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Study.

Study Description: (1) Over 800 meta-analyses, 4 of which (consisting of 402 studies) were on the topic of microteaching; (2) a meta-analysis consisting of 60 studies; and (3) an examination of case studies of successful programs, evidence from research, and examples from Joyce and Showers’ experience.

Field Experience: A set of training experiences that occur in actual school settings or in a clinical or laboratory environment. Also known as student teaching.
Laboratory Experience: Teaching training method in which new teachers practice teaching lessons with students or in a controlled setting.
Microteaching: Teaching a small group of students followed by video feedback, analysis, and debriefing.


    1. Hattie, J., (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses related to achievement. New York: Routledge.
    2. Metcalf, K. K. (1995). Laboratory experiences in teacher education: A meta-analytic review of research. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, 1995. Retrieved July 11, 2011, from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED388645
    3. Joyce, B. R., & Showers, B. (2002). Student achievement through staff development (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.