Pre-Candidacy Field Experiences
Pre-Candidacy Field Experiences (PCFE) refers to the first stage of field experience required by KU's Secondary Education certification programs. During PCFE, students are observers and/or participants in a variety of education and education-related settings (e.g., classrooms, community organizations, professional development opportunities, tutoring programs). It is expected that these experiences occur with a focus on secondary schools (grades 7-12). These field experiences are meant to provide students with a broad scope of opportunities where they can learn as much as possible about learners and learning environments in the secondary school setting.
Students are expected to complete their PCFE by the time they reach 48 credits and earn teacher candidacy. Successful completion requires earning a minimum of 20 points across three different categories. Students can complete these requirements in any order. See the menu below for PCFE options.
Transfer students should meet with the department chair to determine a timeline for completion of PCFE and/or to evaluate field experiences completed prior to entry into the Secondary Education program at KU.
PCFE MENU OF OPTIONS
Section 1: Understanding the Profession of Teaching
Complete all experiences in this section.
- Visit Kutztown University’s Career Development Center (Stratton 113)
- Attend a school board meeting
- Interview a Secondary School teacher
- Secondary School (Grades 7-12) classroom observation
Section 2: Developing My Understanding of Diversity
Complete 3 experiences from this section.
- Secondary School (Grades 7-12) ESL classroom observation (read this article)
- Secondary School (Grades 7-12) Special Education (inclusion/self-contained) classroom observation (read this article)
- Attend a diversity-focused conference
- Attend three (3) on-campus cultural/diversity-focused lectures/film screenings
- Interview a Special Education teacher
- Complete a Teaching Tolerance module
Section 3: My Professional Self
Complete 3 experiences from this section.
- Attend a national, state, or regional/local education conference OR a university-sponsored or school-sponsored professional development conference
- Complete an education-based online training/webinar from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Standards Aligned System (SAS)
- Volunteer for an Organization (minimum 5 hours)
- Volunteer as a Student Facilitator
- Complete teacher Professional Development training at other websites
Documenting & Submitting Experiences
Students must document completion of their pre-candidacy field experiences and submit their work to
D2L. If you need to complete PCFE, you are automatically added to the D2L course titled Pre-Candidacy Field Experience Hours. Templates for sections 1, 2, and 3 are available on D2L to download. As you complete activities, fill in the details on these templates and then upload them in the correct submission area when you have completed a section’s requirements. You will need to make sure to upload all three sections before you take SEU 313.
Please review the answers to frequently asked questions regarding PCFE below:
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
1. What is PCFE and who needs to complete these requirements?
PCFE stands for pre-candidacy field experience. Students enrolled in a Secondary Education teacher preparation program who are seeking a teaching certificate must complete these requirements.
2. When is everything due?
The PCFE requirements are due by the time you reach 48 credits and earn your teacher candidacy. Completion of the program requires earning a minimum of 20 points across three different categories. You will upload your materials to D2L prior to the beginning of your SEU 313 course and your SEU 313 instructor will record you as having completed/not having completed the project.
3. Do I need to complete every task on the checklist?
No, you do not need to complete every single task on the checklist. The checklist provides a wide range of options to complete the requirements. For example, in Section Two: Developing My Understanding of Diversity, students must complete 3 experiences listed in that section. Please be aware that some of the requirements are mandatory to complete.
4. How do I confirm that I have completed a task?
Once you have completed a task on the check sheet, record the evidence needed for that task. The required evidence is listed in the full explanation for PCFE. You should record all of your items for each section in the provided templates available for download on D2L. As you complete activities, fill in the details on these templates and then upload them in the correct submission area when you have completed a section’s requirements.
5. Do I need to attend the programs sent in the PCFE digest or can I attend other programs?
No, you do not need to only attend the programs sent in the PCFE digest. As a biweekly email, the PCFE digest is to give you ideas and reminders about upcoming events that can be used to complete the requirements. You are encouraged to attend other events around campus/off-campus that meet the requirements. For example, in Section One: Understanding the Teaching Profession, one of the tasks is to attend a school board meeting. You can attend any school board meeting. This can be a board meeting at Kutztown Area School District, Allentown School District, or your hometown school district.
6. When interviewing a teacher, what types of questions should I ask?
When interviewing a teacher, you want to ask questions that are going to help you understand what it's like to work as a secondary education teacher. Below are sample questions you can ask in your interview.
- What inspired you to become a teacher?
- What strengths do you have that have helped you in your teaching career?
- Tell me about your teaching philosophy.
- How do you establish positive relationships with your students to build a sense of community within the classroom?
7. During the classroom observation, should I take notes?
Yes! If you’re able to, take notes about what you’re observing within the classroom. Keep the evidence for that task in mind when completing your classroom observation.
- Describe the students in the classroom.
- What instructional methods/strategies did you observe? Were they successful? How do you know?
- What did you learn from this experience?
- How did this experience change/affirm your perception of teaching and learning?
For More Information
Find the full directions for PCFE here. We also have checksheets for students to keep track of their progress:
The Secondary Education office will email students with upcoming events, reminders, and other information periodically to help students complete their hours.
Contact the Secondary Education office at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.