Intro and Overview
Lewis-Clark State College was created with a single purpose--to prepare teachers. Now, more than a century later, the LCSC Division of Teacher Education continues to draw recognition for its excellence in preparing highly-qualified teachers. Innovative programs in both elementary and secondary education are offered by a caring and dedicated faculty. These programs provide coursework and extensive clinical experiences that help students to become great teachers.
Introduction - A Tradition of Preparing Highly-Qualified Teachers
LCSC Teacher Education promotes high quality in teaching through a unique combination of student-centeredness, collaborative instruction, curriculum integration, professional partnerships, a dedicated faculty, extensive field experiences, and attention to performance assessment. For undergraduate students, LCSC offers Bachelor's Degrees in Elementary and Secondary Education. Completion under these disciplines also leads to an Idaho teaching certificate. For the post-baccalaureate student, our Elementary and Secondary Education programs lead to state certification. Numerous areas of specialization can also be completed.
Our Mission to Prepare Caring Professionals Who Teach for Understanding in Communities of Learning
Our teacher education programs are designed to prepare competent, caring teachers who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to be effective in helping all students learn.
Through the education experiences gained from college coursework and on-site field placements in schools, our teacher education students (referred to as teacher candidates) develop the knowledge and skills to become highly-qualified teachers. Coursework and field experiences revolve around a focused set of Professional Standards for Teachers. Continual attention to professional standards ensures that the teacher candidate remains focused on the right capabilities to perform successfully in shaping and facilitating the education of young learners.
The Conceptual Framework of our teacher preparation program at Lewis-Clark State College is "to prepare caring professionals who teach for understanding in communities of learning." The Conceptual Framework communicates the unit's shared mission and explains how curriculum, instruction, technology, assessment, and evaluation are related. It provides a theoretical construct for the program's conceptual meanings and generalizations, the policies and procedures, and actual activities and processes that systematically relate to how the physical, natural, social, and human realities of the unit are aligned into a coherent whole.
Our Conceptual Framework is further defined by describing each component of the framework statement:
- Caring Professionals
The term "caring" emphasizes our commitment to preparing teachers who recognize the importance of relationships in the teaching-learning process and who are committed to creating inclusive, safe, and supportive learning environments for all students. The caring teacher values and appreciates diversity and respects students' varied talents and abilities, and uses an understanding of individual and group motivation techniques to encourage positive interaction, active engagement, and self-motivation.
The term "professional" emphasizes our commitment to preparing teachers who are knowledgeable, dedicated to the profession, and reflective in their practice. Knowledgeable teachers are content area experts who understand the interaction of subject matter and effective teaching strategies in helping students learn. Dedicated teachers understand that teaching and learning extend beyond the classroom, that professional growth is critical, and that it is an ongoing process. In addition, they recognize the value of reflection in the teaching-learning process.
- Teaching for Understanding
The phrase "teaching for understanding" emphasizes in-depth learning, generative topics, understanding goals, performances of understanding, and ongoing assessment. Learners are able to demonstrate that they know more than rote-level material. Learning facts is an important aspect of understanding, but learning facts is not sufficient. Students must be able to connect information in meaningful ways and be flexible in applying their knowledge to a variety of situations and settings. In addition to a good repertoire of knowledge, they must have well-developed skills and an understanding of the meaning, significance, and use of what they have studied. Teachers use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills. These teachers foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
- Communities of Learning
Finally, the phrase "communities of learning" addresses our belief in the importance of establishing community, both in the classroom and beyond the classroom, and of maintaining professional partnerships and collaborations. Learning communities include all those with an interest in the education of children, adolescents, and adults -- our teacher candidates, our faculty, our on-site teacher educators (cooperating teachers), administrative and support personnel, parents, and laypersons. We believe that continual interaction and shared responsibility between and among members of the learning community are essential in the preparation of highly qualified teachers. We especially value the involvement of on-site teacher educators who provide opportunities for our teacher candidates to apply their formal pedagogical knowledge and skills in actual classroom settings. On-site teacher educators are also involved in providing our teacher candidates with new knowledge through on-campus presentations in their particular areas of expertise.
Our Eight Standards:
Through the educational experiences gained from classroom activities and on-site field placements, teacher education students (teacher candidates) develop the knowledge and skills of a highly-qualified teacher. This purposeful collection of knowledge and skills is defined by a focused set of Professional Standards for Teaching. The Professional Standards become the foundation of the teacher education curriculum. They ensure that the teacher candidate remains focused throughout preparation to become a teaching professional and can readily demonstrate these competencies to others. Our faculty members believe that in order to ensure the continuous intellectual, social and physical development of all learners, the qualified teacher must perform several roles. In preparing for these roles, teacher candidates must demonstrate knowledge, skills and dispositions related to eight main areas of professional competence. Successful candidates must be:
- A Dedicated Professional
- A Knowledgeable Professional
- A Content Specialist
- An Educational Designer
- An Educational Facilitator
- An Educational Evaluator
- A Culturally Responsive Educator
- A Reflective Professional
Through participation in our teacher preparation program, teacher candidates have opportunities to develop, to nurture, and to demonstrate their professional competence in each of these eight areas.
Integrative Themes: Technology and Diversity
Two themes are present throughout our teacher preparation programs: 1) the integration of technology; and 2) respect for responsiveness to diversity. These themes are the expression of certain priorities or areas of particular interest that are valued by the faculty.
Our faculty members believe that technology offers many possibilities to support learning and teaching in traditional and non-traditional environments. Technology is, therefore, integrated into a variety of courses in teacher education ranging from the initial entry-level course to the elementary and secondary internship courses. Teacher candidates are encouraged to consider how technology can enhance their learning and teaching, and references to the integration of technology are present in a number of program standards, indicators, and course syllabi. As a manifestation of the importance placed on the continuing exploration for effective ways by which technology can strengthen teacher education, our faculty members have adapted a significant number of courses for distance delivery.
Our faculty members believe that it is important to respect, value, and attend to individual differences and to provide experiences for teacher candidates to interact with higher education and school faculty, other candidates, and K-12 students who represent diverse ethnic, racial, gender, language, socioeconomic, exceptionality, and religious groups. Through instruction and modeling, our faculty members proactively encourage teacher candidates to accommodate the needs of the individual students, including students who are physically or intellectually challenged, and to provide instruction that is appropriate for each situation. In addition, candidates are encouraged to be sensitive to the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of their students and to the communities in which they teach. Ethnic and cultural diversity are to be recognized and celebrated for the invaluable contributions they make toward the enrichment of personal growth and the enjoyment of life for all members of society.
1. The program completer understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.
2. The program completer uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.
3. The program completer works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation.
4. The program completer understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.
5. The program completer understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.
6. The program completer understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.
7. The program completer plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.
8. The program completer understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.
9. The program completer engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.
10. The program completer seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.