Practicum Guide


PRACTICUM GUIDE

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL POLICY

SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES HUMANITIES AND ARTS

 

1. “EDUCATION OF PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS”


1.1. INTRODUCTION

The Department of Educational and Social Policy of the University of Macedonia has integrated a practicum in its Study Program (Practicum I & II). The Practicum is a compulsory course in the Study Program of the Department of Educational and Social Policy, which is taught during the two semesters of the last year of studies. The general objective of the course is to establish aneffective connection between the university and the labor market and to cater for the smooth transition of graduates into the production process.


1.2. Practicum Aims 

The aims of the practicum of the specialization of Education of People with Special Needswhich takes place in school units of the primary and secondary education or in structures approved by the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairsare the following:

  • Student familiarization with the school environment and with other related factors such as the school administration, the teachers, the school curriculum, the instruction methods, the parents.
  • Student familiarization with teaching in the Special Education school units of the primary and secondary education, i.e. Special Schools, Integration Classes, Special Needs Vocational Education and Training Workshops and other bodies of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, in which students/people with special education needs and disabilities are trained and supported.
  • Acquisition on the part of students of fundamental skills related to educational evaluation and formation of personalized educational programs for students with special educational needs and disabilities though the use of distinct educational methods and various means of data-and information collection. The latter are required for making important educational decisions and for planning relevant types of educational intervention.
  • Student participation and involvement into the class program and routine, while being trained by educators, and lesson preparation under the supervision of the teacher. More specifically, students should:

--determine the learning objectives according to a child’s/student’s profile or according to the group of students of the special class;

--differentiate and adapt the syllabus of the class according to a student’s or group of students’ special educational needs while choosing the appropriate teaching strategies and methodologies;

-- design, organize and implement activities (for instance, the creation of an individual/group assessment tool, an individual/group teaching plan, the application of teaching methods in specific occasions, etc.);

  • The creation of new educational intervention material for students with special educational needs or/and disabilities;
  • The assessment of individual or/and group teaching, as well as the reflection upon the short-term and long-term pursued aims of the students; 
  • The solution of educational problems arising during the implementation of students’ activities in schools 
  • The recording of the practicum  and the preparation of an assignment related to the practicum per semester


 1.3 Practicum Organization – Coordination 

Each trainee student has to select a member of the Research and Teaching Staff of the Department as a supervisor of the practicum. The selection has to be preceded by an announcement and personal contact with him/her.

The Practicum is planned, organized and implemented by the competent Coordinating Practicum Committee of the Department, which is composed of (i) one member of the Research and Teaching Staffin the area of specialization of “Education of People with Special Needs”, (ii) one member of the Research and Teaching Staff in the area of specialization “Continuous Education”, (iii) two members of the Laboratory Teaching Staff (one member of each area of specialization) and (iv) two members of the Special Technical Laboratory Staff.

For practicum participants an educational supervisor is appointed who undertakes to guide and monitor students on site

 

1.4. Requirements for practicum participation

According to the Study Program of the Department of Educational and Social Policy,ONLY students of the 7thand 8th semester of studies of the specialization “Special Education”- who fulfill all requirements for Practicum completion according to the provisions in the Study Guide, as specified per year of admission in the Department- can be enrolled in the practicum. The practicum is a compulsory course in the Fall and Spring Semesters of each academic year (Practicum I and Practicum II respectively). 

Specifically, the prerequisite for student participation in a practicumis 150 credits (ECTS) from the compulsory and optional courses they successfully passed (free elective or foreign language courses are not eligible. Students shouldalso have chosen and got a passing grade in 3 out of 5 prerequisite courses (see Study Guide per admission year). The practicum takes place during the whole semester,that is, during the 13 stipulated weeks of lessons, with the limitations that may arise from the operation of practicum units. Thepracticumcorresponds to 12 ECTSpersemester.

**An example of conditions of practicum implementation for students admitted in the academic year 2017/2018 onwards (Registration Number/18) (see Study Guide) is provided below: 

The students’ remaining courses should not be more than(8), i.e. they should have 150 credits from successfully completed compulsory and optional courses (free optional or foreign language courses are not eligible) and should also have selected and successfully completed 3 out of 5 prerequisite courses, among which are:

  1. Education of People with Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) / Autism (4th semester)
  2. Instructional methodology for the education of students with special needs/disabilities (5th semester)
  3. Teaching reading and writing  tochildren with special educational needs (5th semester)
  4. Education of individuals with mental retardation /intellectual disability (5th semester)
  5. Speech, language and communication disorders (6th semester)

 1.4.1. Requirements for practicum settings outside Thessaloniki

Specialization students, after consulting with their supervisor, undertake their practicum mainly within the Prefecture of Thessaloniki. Also, in accordance with the relevant decision of the General Assembly (No. 2/14-09-2009), students are given the option to complete their practicum outside the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, on condition that there are professional, health, parenting of minors and/or family-related obligations. The practicum supervision outside the Prefecture of Thessaloniki depends on the supervisors’ discretion. 

If the abovementioned conditionsdo not apply (i.e. the professional, health, parenting of minors and/or family-related obligations), a practicum outside the Prefecture of Thessaloniki can be undertaken provided that students will successfully complete 3 extra courses (compulsory or elective), as  stipulated in the Study Guide, i.e. students are required to collect 165 ECTS and to have less than five remaining courses for degree acquisition (excluding free electives and foreign language courses). 

According to the relevant decision of the General Assembly No. 19/23-01-2014, the required documents that should be submitted to the Secretariat of the Department for the two cases of practicum implementation outside the Prefecture of Thessaloniki are the following:

  1. A student application that has to be submitted by the end of May of the previous academic year before the practicum implementation. 
  2. A student solemn declaration that he/she is a permanent resident of a region outside the Prefecture of Thessaloniki. 
  3. A declaration of the school unit or the structure of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, stating that the student has been accepted for a practicum.


1.5. Student Obligations during Specialization Practicum 

  • Firstly, students should check that they have successfully completed the prerequisite courses, as these are specified / described in the Study Guide and then they should enroll online in the courses “Practicum I” and “Practicum II” during the Fall and Spring semesters. ONLY students, who fulfill the requirements at the beginning of the Fall semester, have the right to start their practicum.
  • Upon their placement by the supervisors in the respective School units of the primary and secondary Education or in the approved structures of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, students have to engage in practical trainingin the host entity in which the practicum takes place for a duration of two days per week (days are usually appointed by the host entity), according to the timetable of the school unit. The duration of the practicum for each student is set at 26 visits, which are proportionally allocated in the 13 weeks of the academic semester (e.g. for Fall semester, the months October, November, December, January and for Spring semester the months February, March, April and May). If the trainees need to be absent, they have to notify in time the instructor in charge in the host entity as well as their supervisors in the Universityabout their absence. It is mandatory that students make up for their absence day while a new date has to be arranged immediately.
  • Also, students should be aware that they are actual members of the host school community, and as a result they have to adapt to each obligation that may arise, always in the framework of legitimacy. Compliance with working hours is an essential obligation. In addition, a behavior consistent with the role of the special educator is also of great importance. 
  • Each student, on his/her arrival and departure from school, reports to the school principal. Students should complete the Attendance Sheeton a weekly basis.he Attendance Sheetis signed by the professor in charge and stamped by the practicum entity. After practicum completion, the signed and sealed Attendance Sheets are handed to the person in charge of the Practicum.
  • Students are expected to receive classroom training by observing teachers, contribute to class operation, develop trust relations with their colleagues teachers and students, use protocols, observation sheets, formal or informal existing assessment tools, as well as relevant bibliography or other documents that may assist them as much in observing and assessing students with special educational needsas in drawing up educational programs.
  • Students may address their supervisor for any type of specialized assistance- support regarding the respective disability and they also have to compulsorily participate in the feedback meetings of the University Practicum. 

 

1.6. Practicum procedures and student responsibilities

The first visits aim at:

  1. a. contact with the teaching staff and familiarization with the rules applying to the operation of the school unit where the Practicum will take place. Students must respect the conditions of operation of each school unit, and obey them; indicatively, they should respect working hours, assist in the escorting of children to/from the school bus, assist in the supervision of children in the schoolyard during school holidays and excursions, etc.
  2. b.                  systematic observation of school unit students. In order for students to be facilitated in this process of systematic and precise observation, it is advisable that they keep notes (observation sheet), in which they will record information mainly concerning the student(s) of their selection, by entering data in all relevant fields (e.g. cognitive, psychosocial, activity, basic reading skills, writing and mathematics skills, communication, interaction, etc.).  Practicum students should also keep records on the overall profile of all class pupils. This information will form the basis for pupil assessment and for the design of an educational intervention program. 

Students should be well aware of the sensitive nature of all personal data related to people with special educational needs or disabilities. Therefore, the information collected should be considered confidential, and be used exclusively for educational purposes.

 

1.7 Design and Implementation of Educational Interventions

Based onthe information collected by practicum students in cooperation with the teacher of the special class or of the Integration Department, the abovementioned students will choose a pupil or a group of pupils, in order to design and organize a personalized or group intervention program.

The pedagogical/ personalized educational intervention shall include the following five stages: 

a)   Initial pupil assessment; 

b)   Design and implementation of a personalized program; 

c)   Intermediate or corrective pupil assessment; 

d)   Final student assessment; 

e)   Assessment of the educational intervention program (i.e. the degree to which the short-term and long-term goals set by the Department’s students for their pupil(s) have been achieved).

After the selection of pupil(s), practicum students should proceed with their assessment of individual pupils, which will be based on: 

  1. The collection of all data deemed useful towards the drawing up of the educational program in accordance with their Practicum supervisor guidelines. Students can also make use of an existing expert opinion, providedthey were granted a permission to act accordingly. 
  1. The precise recording and systematic observation of the strengths and weaknesses for specific students’ characteristics and behaviors at specified periods of time or for specified activities. For any sub-objective, students must choose specific strategies, practices and techniques and also use specified material, which will contribute to the implementation of the personalized educational program. 

 

The final assessment of the educational program by the students is an additional requirement.This assessment should evaluate the degree to which the objectives initially set and implemented by the students themselves or modified after the corrective assessment of their students have been actually achieved.). Students should make a special effort at implementing the general principles and the specialized techniques which have been outlined in various study program courses which focus on the education of students with disabilities or special educational needs. In case of non-implementation of the objectives, there should be provision for structural changes, amendments and adjustments (intermediate corrective assessment).

 

1.8.      Implementing Bodies of the Specialization Practicum 

 According to Law 4559/3-8-2018, issue 142, article 22, par.1,2 the Undergraduate students of Universities- hence, also the students of the Department of Educational and Social Policy- have the right -within the context of the study program courses to be trained ONLY in school units of the primary and secondary education or in structures of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs. Pursuant to the decision of the Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs,the procedure, terms, criteria, conditions of implementation and any other matter relevant to the practicum are specified. The decision is issued following a review by the Institute of Educational Policy. 

 

** Note: Host entities of the specialization students are approved every year by the Directorate of Special Education of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs.

 

2. SPECIALIZATION: “CONTINUOUS LEARNING” 


2.1 Introduction

The Department of Educational and Social Policy of the University of Macedonia has integrated a practicum in its Study Program (Practicum I & II). The practicum is a compulsory course in the Study Program of the Department of Educational and Social Policy, which is taught during the two semesters of the last year of studies. The general objective of the course is to establish aneffective connection between university education and the labor market and to cater for the smooth transition of graduates into the production process.


2.2 Practicum Aims 

The practicum of students attending the specialization of “Continuous Learning” is implemented in lifelong learning bodies, bodies related to the vocational training and consultative support of adults, as well as in school units of the Secondary Education, e.g. Vocational Schools or structures approved by the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs such as Second- Chance Schools and Vocational Training Institutes. The practicum aims at the following:

  • Student familiarization with the operating conditions and the administration of the corresponding body, the educational programs implemented and the characteristics of participants in the educational programs;
  • Acquisition on the part of the students of basic skills indesigning, implementing and assessing educational programs;
  • Student familiarization  with the teaching process in school units of Secondary Education or in structures of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, which fall within the scope of Adult Education or Vocational Education and Training.
  • Students’ systematicobservation and recording of methods and teaching/ learning strategies applied by the body; 
  • Development of students’ ability to design and implement lesson plans,and to participate in teaching, under the supervision of a mentorin the responsible body, who observes and supports them;
  • Students’ observation, recording and participation in Professional Counseling Services - Career Guidance Services provided bythe body;
  • The practicum recording, through the completion of special forms and the undertaking of an assignment per practicum semester.


2.3    Practicum Organization – Coordination

Each trainee student has to select a member of the Research and Teaching Staff of the Department as a supervisor of the Practicum.The selection has to be preceded by an announcement and personal contact with him/her.

The practicum is planned, organized and implemented by the competent Coordinating Practicum Committee of the Department, which is composed of (i) one member of the Research and Teaching Staff, in the area of specialization of “Education of People with Special Needs”, (ii) one member of the Research and Teaching Staff in the area of specialization “Continuous Education”, (iii) two members of the Laboratory Teaching Staff (one member of each specialization) and (iv) two members of the Special Technical Laboratory Staff.

An educational supervisor is appointed who undertakesto guide and monitor students on site. 

 

2.4. Requirements for practicum participation

According to the Study Program of the Department of Educational and Social Policy ONLY students of the 7thand 8th semester of the specialization “Continuous Learning”- who fulfill all requirements for Internship completion, according to the provisions in the Study Guide,as specified per year of admission in the Department- can be enrolled in the practicum. The Practicum is a compulsory course in the Fall and Spring Semesters of each academic year (Practicum I and Practicum II respectively). Specifically, the prerequisite for student participation in a practicumis 150 credits (ECTS) from the compulsory and optional courses they successfully passed (free elective or foreign language courses are not eligible). Students should also have chosen and got a passing grade in 3 out of 5 prerequisite courses (see Study Guide per admission year). The practicum takes place during the whole semester,that is, during the 13 stipulated weeks of lessons, with the limitations that may arise from the operation of practicum units. Thepracticumcorresponds to 12 ECTSpersemester.

 

**An example of conditions of practicum implementation for students admitted in the academic year 2017/2018 and onwards (Registration Number/18) (see Study Guide) is shown below: 

The students’ remaining courses should not be more than (8) , i.e. students should have 150 credits from successfully completed compulsory and optional courses (free optional or foreign language courses are not eligible) and should also have selected and successfully completed 3 out of 5 prerequisite courses, among which are:

  1. Continuous Vocational Training (3rd semester)
  2. Design and implementation of vocational training programs (4th semester)
  3. Lifelong guidance and career management skills (5th semester)
  4. Group dynamics in adult education: Theory and practice (5th semester)
  5. Teaching methodology in continuing education and Implementation of microteachings (6th semester)

 

 2.4.1. Requirements for practicum settings outside Thessaloniki

Specialization students, after consulting with theirsupervisor, undertake their practicum mainly within the Prefecture of Thessaloniki. Also, in accordance with the relevant decision of the General Assembly (No. 2/14-09-2009), students are given the option to complete their practicum outside the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, on condition that there are professional, health, parenting of minors and/or family-related obligations. The practicum supervision outside the Prefecture of Thessaloniki depends on the supervisors’ discretion. 

If the abovementioned purposes do not apply (professional, health, parenting of minors and/or family-related obligations), a practicum outside the Prefecture of Thessaloniki can be undertaken, provided that students will successfully complete 3 extra courses (compulsory or elective), as stipulated in the Study Guide, i.e. students are required to collect 165 ECTS and to have less than five remaining courses for degree acquisition (excluding free electives and foreign language courses). 

According to the relevant decision of the General Assembly No. 19/23-01-2014, the required documents that should be submitted in the Secretariat of the Department for the two cases of practicum implementation outside the Prefecture of Thessaloniki are the following:

  • A student application that has to be submitted by the end of May of the previous academic year before the practicum implementation. 
  • A student solemn declaration that he/she is a permanent resident of a region outside the Prefecture of Thessaloniki. 
  • A declaration of the school unit or the structure of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, stating the student’s acceptance for apracticum.

2.5. Student Obligations during Specialization Practicum 

  • Firstly, students should check that they have successfully completed the prerequisite courses, as these are specified /described in the Study Guide and then they should enroll online in the courses “Practicum I” and “Practicum II” during the Fall and Spring semesters. ONLYstudents who fulfill the requirements at the beginning of the Fall semester have the right to start their practicum.
  • Upon their placement in the respective bodies by the Practicum Committee, students have toengage in trainingin the host entity,in which the practicum takes place for a duration of two days per week, mainly on Tuesdays and Thursdays (except if otherwise specified by the competent body). The duration of the practicum for each student is set at 26 visits, which are proportionally allocated in the 13 weeks of the academic semester (e.g. for Fall semester, the months October, November, December, January and for Spring semester the months February, March, April and May). If the trainees need to be absent, they have to notify in time the responsible host entity as well as their supervisors in the Universityabout their absence. It is mandatory that students make up for their absence day and a new date has to be arranged immediately.
  • Students should be aware that they are actual members of the host body, and as a result they have to adapt to each obligation that may arise, always in the framework of legitimacy. Compliance with working hours is an essential obligation. In addition, a behavior consistent with the role of the adult educator is also of great importance. 
  • Each student, on his/her arrival and departure from the host body,  reports to his/ her mentor. Students should complete the Attendance Sheet on a weekly basis.The Attendance Sheet will be signed by the mentor and stamped by the practicum entity. After practicum completion, the signed and sealed Attendance Sheets are handed to the members of the Practicum Committee.
  • Students  are expected to receive classroom training by observing mentors, contribute to the smooth functioningof the body, and develop trust relations with the members of the staff. They should also exploit the appropriate means (bibliography, further documents, etc.) that may help them in the systematic observance and reporting in relation to the educational programs’ design, implementation and assessment as well as in the process of adult teaching and learning.  
  • Students may address their supervisor and the Practicum Committee for any kind of supply of specialized assistance- support regarding  their practicum and they also have to compulsorily participate in the feedback meetings of the University Practicum. 

2.6. Practicum procedures and student responsibilities

The first visits aim at:

  1. contact with the staff and familiarization with the rules applying to the operationof the body- in the facility of which the Practicum will take place. With great care andcomplying with professional ethics, students observe how the staff of the body to which they are assigned works, the performed functions, the workflow, public interaction, etc.
  2. a systematic observation of the body’s particularities. In order for students to be facilitated in this process of systematic and precise observation, it is advisable that they complete the Record Sheet of the Body’s Activities, which contains information relevant to the body’s profile (legislative framework, subject, target groups) and to the type of educational programs applied in terms of their objectives, content, methodology and assessment. This information will form the basis for the preparation of that part of the students’ final assignmentwhich involves the presentation of the body and the indicative selection and description of an educational program.

Practicum main subject- matter

a) Based on the collected information, during the first visits to the body, and always in cooperation with the mentor, students will be trained in the processes ofdesigning, implementing or/and assessing of the educational programs, which are going to be implemented by the body during a specific period of time. In addition, they may be involved in the process of communicating and selecting trainees, in creating records for trainees and trainers, and in other tasks related to the above subjects of the practicum.

b) The familiarity of students with the teaching process in the facilities of responsible bodies or school units of Secondary Education or in structures of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs that fall within the scope of Adult Education or Vocational Education and Training, constitutes a further subject-matter of the practicum. In this case, students:

i) systematically observe an experienced Adult trainer/educator and record the methods and teaching and learning mediums he/she uses. 

ii) have the opportunity to design a teaching unit, under the supervision of the mentor and to engage in instruction as part of the teaching implementation.

c) In case the Practicum body offers Vocational Guidance Services, students become familiar with the process of counseling intervention, the targeted population, the methods and tools used. The body's professional advisors describe their work and the material they use during meetings arranged for this purpose and, if acceptance is granted, allow the trainee student to attend individual or group counseling sessions. 

The systematic presentation of all the activities in which students engaged during the practicum, along with the presentation of the body and the critical evaluation of the practicum (e.g. relevance to the subject-matter of studies, professional interest in the related subject, etc.) form part of the subject of the final assignment, which is prepared by students and submitted upon semester completion to the Coordinating Practicum Committee of the Department.

 

2.8   Implementing Bodies  of the Specialization Practicum 

The Practicum of the specialization of “Continuing Learning” is implemented in the facilities ofresponsible bodies dealing with lifelong learning, vocational training / adult counseling or in businesses and organizations which providetraining sections for their executives.

 In addition, according to Law 4559/2018 (Government Gazette 142 / A / 3-8-2018, Art. 22, par. 1): “Undergraduate students of Universities… can -within the context of the study program courses- be trained in primary and secondary school units or in structures of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religions Affairs".  The bodies that fall under the above category and into the fields of Vocational Education and Training, Adult Education and Lifelong Learning are: Vocational High Schools, Second Chance Schools and Vocational Training Institutes. 

 

** Note: Implementation of Studentspracticum in the above public bodies is approved each year by the General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning (regarding second chance schools and vocational training institutes) and the Directorate of Vocational Education (regarding vocational high schools) of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religions Affairs. 

[1] When a practicum is implemented in a body of adult education or business, the duration of each training session is set at 5 hours. In case of practicum implementation in a school unit, the trainee follows the unit’s time schedule.