A study examining the early field experiences of student teachers in the area of secondary math education took a unique turn when COVID-19 prompted the closure of schools and a move to online learning.

The shift gave a University of Delaware research team the unique opportunity to look at how the change impacted student teachers, while evaluating the effectiveness of an online-teaching field experience compared to one typically conducted in an in-person classroom setting. 

Two key findings offered important insights for secondary math teachers.

1) Having student teachers join small breakout Zoom groups where they could work with students and answer questions was an important opportunity to help the math students and the student teachers. As the Zoom breakouts were recorded, it gave student teachers a chance to review and reflect on their interactions with students, while providing instructors a tool for providing feedback.

2) Encouraging young students to keep their web cameras on can stimulate engagement in the online setting, both between students and teachers and students and their peers.

UD's Michelle Cirillo, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences with a joint appointment in the College of Education and Human Development, can speak to the findings

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