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:
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. The complete list of standards and indicators of knowledge, skills, and dispositions associated with those standards can be found by reviewing the Professional Standards for Teaching (with Performance Indicators).
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.