Practicum Planning Guide

PACE 695: Practicum is one of two options for satisfying the culminating experience requirement for the Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution (GCCR).


Credit/Hours:

  • 1 credit = minimum of 25 hours
  • 2 credits = minimum of 50 hours
  • 3 credits = minimum of 75 hours

Major Practicum Steps

  1. Complete and submit a practicum proposal to your GCCR Faculty Advisor.
  2. Register for PACE 695: Practicum once you have obtained approval from your advisor and the site supervisor.
  3. Create a draft of your practicum plan. Your plan should identify five or six learning objectives and explain how your practicum experience will help you to attain those learning objectives. Discuss this draft plan with your GCCR Faculty Advisor and with your site supervisor. They may give you suggestions to improve the plan or to refine the list of learning objectives (examples are provided below).
  4. Revise the plan after the consultations. The goal is to ensure that you, your GCCR Faculty Advisor, and your site supervisor all agree on the learning objectives and the plan for attaining those objectives before you start your practicum.
  5. Complete and submit a practicum log. This form will help you keep track of your practicum hours. Make sure you regularly record your hours.
  6. Complete and submit your practicum report. This report is a reflection of your practicum experience. Summarize the work that you did and assess the extent to which you completed the practicum plan and attained the learning objectives. If unexpected circumstances prevent you from attaining all of the learning objectives, explain this in your report.

Identifying Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are the specific educational outcomes that you will work toward in your practicum experience. As you write your objectives, think about the work you will be doing and ask yourself:

  • What new skills, knowledge or insights do I want or need to acquire?
  • In what ways do I want to expand the skills and knowledge I already have?

The following categories represent broad areas of learning and examples of learning objectives.

  • Developing competencies: Learning particular work skills (such as training staff or preparing educational materials) or general skills (such as seeking new information, organizing facts into a persuasive argument, or relating academic knowledge to the demands of a particular job).
  • Exploring careers: Gaining insight into the daily work of professionals in an area of interest, knowledge of job opportunities that might be available, or familiarity with occupational literature and organizations.
  • Broadening horizons: Acquiring some particular knowledge related to your field, e.g., how the legislative process works, the bureaucracy of public agencies, factors that influence the functioning of social programs, or the role of businesses in community welfare.
  • Practicing interpersonal skills: Learning how to deal with pressure, tension, and stress in work relationships; how to communicate what you know to strangers; recognizing when to speak and when to listen; learning how to handle criticism; learning to convince a supervisor to try out an idea of yours.
  • Taking responsibility: Learning how to organize a complicated job, to monitor your time and resources, and to take initiative to accomplish a project.

Use action verbs to describe the outcomes you desire, for example: interpret, translate, perform, differentiate, analyze, write, prepare, explain, synthesize, develop, evaluate, identify, describe, articulate, conduct, apply, demonstrate, organize, operate, integrate.

For each objective, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you may need to revise your objective.

  • Is it observable? Will I know when I have completed the objective? Will others know?
  • Does it describe one desired learning outcome rather than a combination of several outcomes?
  • Is the objective relevant to my goal?
  • Is it really necessary to do the objective to get to the goal? Is it challenging? Is it a big enough step?
  • Is it understandable? Will I remember what I meant six weeks from now?

Examples of Vague and Concrete Learning Objectives

Vague:

  • I want to learn about domestic violence.

Concrete:

  • I will be able to describe the appropriate protocol for answering hotline crisis calls.
  • I will be able to demonstrate the use of empathic responses when speaking with victims of abuse.

Vague:

  • I will assist high-school students to resolve conflicts.

Concrete:

  • I will be able to describe techniques for teaching mediation skills to teenagers.
  • I will be able to prepare age-appropriate lesson plans for peer mediators.
  • I will be able to evaluate educational activities for peer mediators.

Vague:

  • This internship will give me experience in facilitating meetings.

Concrete:

  • I will be able to draft a meeting agenda
  • I will be able to serve as a recorder at a large public meeting.
  • I will be able to assist a seasoned facilitator in facilitating a large public meeting.
  • I will be able to facilitate small meetings on my own.