Collaborative. Reflective. Responsive. Innovative.
These four interrelated program themes provide lenses through which we filter our practice in the college classroom and to which we support your practice as teacher candidates during student teaching.
Learning is relational and communal. Responsive teachers create significant relationships with their students, colleagues, and community partners by developing learning communities. These nurturing learning communities provide a safe, trustworthy place where challenging and engaging questions can be considered. We model the kinds of learning communities that we expect our graduates to create. We share with our students a learning model that connects content, theory, and practice in an ongoing cycle. Students and their learning are the focus for responsive teachers. Therefore, we embrace and foster a progressive and constructivist orientation.
Reflection and Inquiry
Responsive teachers are reflective practitioners who are students of teaching and learning. Providing numerous frameworks through which to filter our experience encourages intentional and thoughtful inquiry. Through field placements, service learning, generative questions, and classroom experiences, students and faculty develop their perspectives about teaching and learning. Critical reflection allows us to examine content, theory, and practice in ways that transform our practice. We think it is important to understand and learn how to manage the many polarities inherent in the teaching and learning process.
Responsive teachers embrace diversity and intentionally work to ensure that all learners, especially those who for some reason have been marginalized, learn and develop in powerful ways. We recognize that each student is unique, shaped by culture and experience, therefore differentiating instruction is essential. The perspective of multiple intelligences, learning style theory, and teaching for understanding help us differentiate and enable us to provide choice, variety, and flexibility. Response teachers believe that all students can learn. They also have a sense of efficacy and believe that they can help all students learn.
Responsive teachers recognize that becoming a learning leader is a developmental process, which begins in pre-service education and continues throughout one's career. Teachers serve as innovative leaders within the classroom, and with experience, increased confidence, and professional development become leaders within the school, the district, and the community. Teacher leaders view themselves as life long learners. They become role models committed to their profession as a vocation rather than a job. Emerging teacher leaders keep student learning at the center of their work while advocating for instructional innovation, constructivist curricular development, and systematic change.