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We Build the Skills and Competencies Essential for Independent Teaching

Teachers in the first year of the program participate in a residency at one of our partner schools where they receive intensive and practical experience.

Watch our video below.


UW Tacoma teacher candidates undertake a full residency year, during which they complete a concentrated program of graduate coursework aligned with practice teaching in a partner school.

Three broad attributes define the UW Tacoma field experience:

  • Fieldwork is closely integrated with coursework. Teacher candidates learn in their coursework what they will see in practice. Practice experiences, in turn, support and inform our coursework. Fieldwork is coherent, intentional, and systematic.
  • The field experience reflects our dual track approach (general and special education). Our partner schools all use multi-tiered systems of support, and working with them, teacher candidates develop the abilities to teach students with different instructional needs in a variety of settings — from small group instruction to general education classrooms.
  • Teacher candidates work alongside instructional coaches who monitor their progress and provide strategies and resources to improve their teaching. Coaching is a personalized and supportive process to bring evidence-based practices into the classroom.

Throughout the residency year, we provide opportunities for candidates to achieve a gradual release into the role of independent teaching. This process begins in the fall as candidates make connections with our partner schools. It builds as candidates observe, teach in small groups, and progressively achieve the skills and competencies to teach independently.

Our fieldwork is characterized by a fast-paced and demanding schedule. In this environment, teacher candidates develop a strong grasp of evidence-based practices such as Direct Instruction, strategies for teaching academic language and background knowledge, and positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS).