ELEMENTARY EDUCATION CERTIFICATION PROGRAM APPLICATION
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION – October 29, 2010
Phase I field experiences introduce role orientation and conceptualization.
In role orientation ED 201/301 ((Introduction to Education/Dimensions of American Education), the candidate learns what becoming a teacher requires and is introduced to the profession of teaching. Field experiences at this stage involve visits to schools and classrooms to observe the nature of schooling and teaching to get a general knowledge of the role of the schools, classrooms and teachers. In ED 201/301 students have a field experience requirement of spending one-half day in a K-12 classroom. This brief exposure is to help candidates to better know if teaching is for them. They are required to interview the teacher they observe concerning their roles and responsibilities and their feelings about teaching
ED 230 (Teaching and Learning in the Elementary Classroom meets in an area middle school and candidates spend 30 hours in a classroom. Candidates are required to complete some of these hours by visiting a Native or urban school. The purpose of these field experiences are to provide a significant measure of contact with students in a school setting in order to better understand the course content. As the first significant field experience in the education program, this assignment also provides candidates with a beginning opportunity to understand the dynamics of teaching and learning. Each candidate is expected to establish a working relationship with classroom teachers during this field experience. Professional demeanor is both learned and practiced in this field experience.
Phase II Field Experiences result from experiences that allow the candidates to practice various aspects related to teaching, such as lesson planning, teaching small groups or micro-teaching. Phase II of teacher education is characterized by learning to become a teacher by allowing opportunities to practice in a learning community.
Some elementary methods classes are offered in blocks to allow candidates to combine and better integrate field experiences and the content of these courses. The first block of courses consists of ED 306/311/316/361 and 483. Candidates in this methods block integrate technology, assistive technology, English/language arts, and reading in a K-4 classroom setting. Field placements are a combination of on-site courses taught and supervised by a professor and 30 scheduled classroom hours beyond course meeting times where the candidate works with a classroom teacher. Reflections for the 30 hour independent field experience are monitored in an online forum by faculty and graduate students. The on-site teaching is monitored and critiqued by the candidate and the professors in the methods block. The second block is ED 307/310/312/318 and MA 353 where candidates observe student behavior and content delivery from master teachers in a middle school setting in the areas of literature, science, reading, social studies, integrated arts and math. These observations are purposefully used by the professors to drive instructional and behavioral plans for middle school classrooms. These observations and reflections culminate in a one week teaching experience (30 hours on site) where candidates deliver and assess integrated units taught to middle school students. These week-long units/lessons are assessed by classroom teachers and teacher education faculty. ED 318: Elementary Reading Instruction II requires a separate 30 hour placement in a 5th grade classroom. Candidates assess students’ reading and plan lessons accordingly under the guidance of the professor, classroom teachers and literacy coaches.
The K-8 schools and faculty assist each other to advance the art of practice, i.e., both faculties support the teaching and learning of K-12 students and of candidates preparing to become teachers. The school sites for the courses delivered on site function like “teaching studios” for “pressing” the artistry of practice and developing teachers who “reach” to other educational communities.
The courses situated in the schools create a setting for faculty to engage the candidates in reflection on the knowledge-base for what they are doing and what is being learned by the candidate prior to Phase III - Student Teaching. When the candidates begin the semester of student teaching away from these sites, they will not only demonstrate proficiency in the PSMT through the Final Evaluation of Student Teacher, but will also carry with them new ways of extending learning for all students, diverse students included, and new ways to utilize the various curricular frameworks and standards.
During the Phase III 16 week student teaching experience, the Director of Field Experiences, the Teacher Education Advisory Council (TEAC), and the university/classroom supervising faculties discuss issues related to maximizing the candidates’ practice teaching field experience in Phase III. These include the Professional Standards for Michigan Teachers (PSMT), the preparation of candidates, roles and responsibilities of the university and classroom supervisors, and the kind of expectations to be made of the candidate such as teacher-parent conferences, after-school responsibilities, and uses of technologies to reflect upon practice. Also, the Unit schedules ED 586: Supervision of Student Teaching to support the classroom supervising teachers in their role. These reflections and the planning that result are carried forward to the candidate to drive reflection and revision in the four required student teaching seminars.
The student teaching experience allows for candidates to teach in a 16 week placement or two 8 week placements dependent upon availability of quality classrooms in the requested areas. Selected candidates may also teach out of state or overseas.
All elementary candidates receive instructional content and methods courses in each of the five endorsement areas; Integrated Science (ED 312 Science Methods and Materials), Language Arts (Language Arts Methods and Materials), Mathematics (Methods and Materials for Elementary School), Social Studies (Social Studies Methods and Materials), and Reading (Elementary Reading Instruction I & Elementary Reading Instruction II). All candidates are required to complete the following courses in support of instructional methods: MSED 250 Physical Science for Educators, MSED 251 Life Science for Educators, MSED 252 Earth/Space Science for Educators, MA 150 Math for the Elementary Teacher I, MA 151 Math for the Elementary Teacher II, ED 483 Educational Methods in Technology, MU 149A Music for Elementary School I, AD 310 Art for the Elementary Classroom Teacher, ED 307 Integrated Arts for the Elementary Curriculum, HL 150 Health for the Elementary Teacher, and PE 224 Developmental Physical Education for the Elementary Teacher.
One unique characteristic is that NMU is a mobile device university. The Mobile Initiative, beginning in 2000, has provided every student and faculty member with a mobile device. Our entire campus is wireless and supports the use of collaborative software to engage students with content and social networking from around the world. Use of these technologies is evident in the design of the classrooms in Whitman. Each is equipped with data projectors, document cameras, stereo equipment, and wireless access. These technologies permeate the teaching and learning in our Teacher Education Unit. Faculty work diligently to extend these technologies to the local schools we partner with. The addition of WiMax, emitting a 20 mile wireless signal, has allowed candidates to continue to extend their teaching and learning into the local classrooms of which we are such an integral part through a more consistent university supported platform.
All elementary education candidates begin the integration of technology during Block I methods. ED 361: Special Education for the General Education Classroom requires students to incorporate assistive technology and Universal Design into lesson planning. ED 483: Education Methods in Technology requires all candidates to utilize appropriate software and hardware as it relates to lesson planning, communication, assessment, professional portfolios and content area specific strategies and resources related to teaching and learning.
All elementary candidates have courses throughout their program that access a web-based platform to facilitate reflection and discussion related to teaching and learning. Past practice has been to utilize WebCT/Blackboard though a switch to EduCat/Moodle occurred in the fall of 2010. ED 316: Elementary Reading Instruction I, for example, requires candidates to participate in an online discussion board where the candidate responds to and leads discussions in issue related to their practice. In addition, candidates create podcasts, Power Points, digital storybooks, grading programs, newsletters, professional communications, web pages, etc. when applicable to the teaching and learning within the program.
Candidates and faculty are supported in their use of technology for teaching and learning in the following ways: Help Desk to address software and hardware concerns; Center for Instructional Technology in Education where faculty can go to learn about, experiment with, and get advice and assistance with a variety of instructional technology tools; Instructional Media Services which provides access to instructional media, equipment, support services and works to improve the classroom environment; online communication and information resources related to the program clearly modeled and posted on the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service website. Technology integration is assessed through individual courses and assessed on the Final Evaluation of Student Teacher through specific indicators related to technology.