4a. Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Curriculum and Experiences
4a.1. Describe the proficiencies related to diversity that candidates are expected to develop and demonstrate.
Our vision, mission, and other key elements of our conceptual framework reflect our commitment to challenge our candidates to develop an understanding of how topics such as diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice intersect with our schools. This entails understanding the historical and contemporary dimensions of the personal and systematic forms of oppression associated with categories such as race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. It also involves critically appraising the validity of all perspectives, including ones personally held beliefs as well as those of others.
Program curricula include assignments that encourage our candidates to adopt approaches to teaching and learning that embrace all learners. Our candidates must come to understand that their students’ families and their communities are resources that must be cultivated, appreciated, and included in the learning process. As a result, we believe that our candidates must understand how to create inclusive and caring learning environments and how to foster genuine and meaningful interactions with students, their families, and the broader community.
The Thomas University Advanced Outcomes and Proficiencies focusing on facilitating learning for all learners includes:
I. Advanced Professional Knowledge
Candidates use research-based, discipline-specific knowledge and pedagogy in coordinated and engaging ways to facilitate student learning. Each candidate:
1.1 Possess a deep understanding of learner development and learner differences to ensure learning environments where all learners meet high standards.
1.2 Utilizes a comprehensive body of content knowledge as well as the knowledge and ability to represent the content in meaningful ways for all students.
1.3 Employs curriculum planning and instructional strategies that facilitates learning for all students at the highest levels.
1.4 Embraces and utilizes socially just principles and practices that fully and authentically incorporate students in the learning process.
II. Research and Inquiry Skills
Candidates design and implement research and assessment practices to improve teaching and learning for all learners. Each candidate:
2.1 Utilizes research and data to improve teaching and learning for all learners.
III. Professional and Ethical Practice
Candidates possess and practice a core set of professional and ethical dispositions and model practices that embrace the importance of life-long learning. Each candidate:
3.1 Advocates for learners, the school, the community, and the profession
3.2 Collaborates with learners, families, colleagues, and other professionals and provides leadership to ensure learner growth and to advance the profession.
3.4 Demonstrates professional and ethical practice.
4a.2. Describe the required coursework and experiences that will enable teacher candidates and candidates for other school professional roles to develop:
Awareness of the importance of the diversity in teaching and learning and
The knowledge, skills and professional dispositions to adapt instruction and /or services for diverse populations, including linguistically and culturally diverse students and students with exceptionalities.
Multiple courses in the advanced programs support candidates' development of the knowledge, skills and dispositions to work effectively with diverse populations. Across the program of study, diversity experiences are embedded in course assignments and are designed to insure program candidates have an appreciation of the importance of working with students with exceptionalities and those who are culturally and linguistically diverse.
EDU 600 Best Practices in Teaching and Learning (3 credit)
This course includes a critical examination of research and theories relevant to effective teaching andthe study of teaching and learning strategies associated with effective teaching practices that ensures inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards. Emphasis is placed on the relationships that exist between student development, instructional practices, educational environments, continuous reflection and assessment, learning communities, and dispositions of the profession. The course is designed to develop teachers’ abilities in improving student learning within their classrooms through the cyclical process of analysis of data on student learning, evaluating available resources and strategies for the appropriate intervention, and continued assessment of the results of the intervention on future learning.
EDU 620 Applying Technologies for Effective Instruction (3 credit)
This course focuses on current practices and issues related to the research and practice of educational technology. This course introduces the design and facilitation of learning environments that apply technology-enhanced instructional strategies that address each student’s diverse learning strengths and needs and creates opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning in different ways. The course involves learning about, from, and with instructional technologies. This course will explore the role and potential of emerging technologies, and the praxis of technology and contemporary learning theory. The goal of this course is not only to learn how to use various tools and technologies, but also to develop critical thinking skills regarding how and why we use technologies and how our uses impact learners.
EDU 622 Current Issues and Trends in Education (3 credit)
This course is designed to examine current issues and trends in education that could affect teaching, curriculum, motivation, families, students, teachers, administration, school reform, school policy, and school law. Through research efforts, instructor and student presentations, discussion groups, collaboration, and interaction, teachers will expand their implicit and explicit knowledge of education and educational practice. Emphasis will be placed on exploring, interpreting, and evaluating educational experiences. Insight and analysis will be used to design, explore, and conduct research into the issues and concerns of education today. Thus, participants will create new learning experiences and a knowledge base that will enable them to resolve educational and diversity issues now and in the future.
EDU 623 Educational Assessment and Decision-Making (3 credit)
This course is designed to further develop the knowledge, attitudes, conceptual and technical skills needed by the PK-12 teacher to use assessment and assessment results in instructional planning, teaching, curriculum development, student learning, and school improvement. Assessment information that drives decisions about the classroom student, the effectiveness of the instructional program, and the instructor is derived by studying a) achievement targets and assessment design, b) test construction within the context of validity, reliability, and fairness, c) analysis of test results and progress monitoring, and d) assessment reform and district, state, and national assessments. Additionally, attention will be paid to multicultural assessment procedures and concerns relevant to external assessment programs.
EDU 690 Strategies in Nonviolent Communication
The purpose of this course is to teach students the concepts and skills related to nonviolent communication. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) assists students no matter what their academic focus, as it provides individuals with a unique way of communicating and connecting even in the most difficult situations. The NVC process helps people deal with major blocks to communication such as demands, diagnoses, and blaming. With NVC, students learn to express themselves honestly without attacking, minimizing the likelihood of facing defensive reactions in others. NVC skills help individuals make clear requests and receive critical and hostile messages without taking them personally, giving in, or losing self-esteem. These skills are useful in every area of the human experience — including transforming our classrooms and organizations, improving productivity in the workplace, transforming anger and emotional pain, and creating efficient, empowering organizational structures
EDU 691 Curriculum Design and Development for Student Achievement (3 credit)
This course prepares teachers to develop curriculum and instruction that is universal in design and based on best practices, not only in general education, but also for students with exceptionalities and those who are culturally and linguistically diverse. This course will examine and analyze the following core elements of curriculum design: conceptual purpose, content, coherence, articulation within a subject area across grade levels, and across subjects, alignment with both achievement standards and achievement assessments. Program assessment will be examined with particular attention to how it differs from but is relevant to student performance assessment. As a result of this course, students will demonstrate advanced ability to design, implement, and evaluate curricula that promotes student learning.