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4d. Experiences Working with Diverse Students in P-12 Schools

4d.1.      Describe how the unit will ensure that candidates develop and practice knowledge, skills and professional dispositions related to diversity during their field experiences and clinical practice.

The unit, in cooperation with its partner school districts ensures that the teacher candidate develops and practices the knowledge, skills and professional dispositions related to diversity. The teacher candidate participates in diverse partner school settings for their field experiences and clinical practice.

The teacher candidate is expected to demonstrate behaviors that are consistent with the belief that all PK-12 students of diverse backgrounds, cultures, ethnicity, race, ability, and socioeconomic levels can learn.  During the Professional Core II and III, the teacher candidate takes EDU 320, Understanding Diversity, and EDU 468, Exceptional Learners.  Both courses emphasize the diverse population of learners in Pk-12 schools, and prepare the teacher candidate to plan lessons and develop appropriate strategies to help all PK-12 students learn.  This particular disposition is critical to the development of beginning teachers who are charged with helping all students learn.

The unit partners with 41 schools from 12 school districts in Southwest Georgia to place teacher candidates in field and clinical experiences.  The schools provide a wide diversity of student populations to ensure that the teacher candidate has broad and diverse field and clinical experiences. The Thomas University Partner Schools spreadsheet provides demographic and diversity information regarding the unit’s partner schools.  Of the 41 partner schools, 33 (80%) are identified as Title I schools.  The schools serve an average of 65% economically disadvantaged students.  The African American population averages 42%, white 49%, Hispanic 7%, and Asian 1%.  In the partner schools, the population of students with disabilities ranges from 6% - 37%, with an overall average of 12%.  Several of the unit’s partner schools serve migrant student populations and ESOL populations, as well as gifted learners.  Partner schools provide services for students with disabilities and exceptional learners in inclusion settings.  The Early Intervention Program provides needed services for qualifying students. These diverse populations make for rich field and clinical placement opportunities for the teacher candidate to develop and practice in the classroom setting the skills and knowledge studied in the unit’s methods and content courses. 

Key Assessments are used throughout the program to ensure that the teacher candidate is developing the necessary dispositions, knowledge, and skills relating to diversity to effectively teach all PK-12 students.  All assessment instruments use a qualitative analytic rubric so the data can be aggregated and disaggregated to identify individual teacher candidate performance or to look for trends across the program.  Diversity assessment information can be found in the Key Assessments for Diversity table.

 

4.d.2.      Describe the diversity of the P-12 students in the proposed settings in which candidates will participate in field experiences and clinical practice. Please complete Table 7 or insert a hyperlink to your own table at prompt 4d.4 (Although GAPSC encourages institutions to report the data available by school, if the unit uses more than 20 schools for clinical practice, school district data may be substituted for school data in the table below. In addition, data may be reported for other schools in which field experiences but not clinical practice, occur. Please indicate where this is the case.)

The unit partners with 41 schools from 12 school districts in Southwest Georgia to place teacher candidates in field and clinical experiences.  The schools provide a wide diversity of student populations that ensure the unit teacher candidates have broad and diverse field and clinical experiences. The partner schools represent urban and rural schools, and large and small schools. The Thomas University Partner Schools spreadsheet provides demographic and diversity information regarding the unit’s partner schools.  Of the 41 partner schools, 33 (80%) are identified as Title I schools.  Thirty four of the 41 (83%) of the unit’s partner schools met their AYP goals for the school year 2008-2009. The schools serve an average of 65% economically disadvantaged students, with 5 schools’ population over 90%.  In 39% of the schools, over 50% of the population is minorities.  The African American population averages 42%, white 49%, Hispanic 7%, and Asian 1%.  The population of students with disabilities ranges from 6% - 37%, with an overall average of 12%.  In addition, some of the unit’s partner schools serve migrant student populations, and ESOL populations, as well as gifted learners.  Partner schools provide services for students with disabilities and exceptional learners in inclusion settings.  The Early Intervention Program provides needed services for qualifying students. These diverse populations make for rich field and clinical placement opportunities for the teacher candidate to develop and practice in the classroom setting the skills and knowledge studied in the unit’s methods and content courses.  

 

4d.3.      Describe how the unit will ensure that candidates use feedback from peers and supervisors to reflect on their skills working with students from diverse groups. 

The unit ensures the teacher candidate receives feedback from peers and supervisors in all fields, and requires the teacher candidate to use this feedback to reflect on their skills working with students from diverse groups.  In Professional Core I courses, the teacher candidate participates in peer teaching and reviews using scenarios that replicate diversity placements and situations.  Peers provide feedback that helps the teacher candidate to evaluate and improve these skills.  In early field experiences, the teacher candidate works with other candidates to observe and critique each other using various Systematic Observation Instruments that target specific behaviors while working with diverse student populations. The teacher candidate uses video to record their interactions with groups of students, and works with a partner to critique the interactions.  The teacher candidate receives ongoing feedback from the field supervisor and the mentor teacher in the form of written observations using the Field Experience/Clinical Experience Formative Assessment.  Additionally, twice during each field experience and clinical practice the university supervisor collaborates with the mentor teacher to provide the teacher candidate feedback using the key assessment, Field Experience/Clinical Experience Mid-term/Final Summative Assessment.

The teacher candidate is expected to plan and implement lessons for all learners as they progress through the program using feedback from peers and supervisors. The Lesson Plan Assessment is used to evaluate how effectively the teacher candidate plans with diversity in mind.  The teacher candidate conferences with the mentor teacher and university supervisor regarding lesson plans.  Lesson plans are peer reviewed in class using the Lesson Plan Assessment. 

The unit’s Professional Dispositions Assessment is presented and used as a self-assessment and as an opportunity for division faculty to assess the teacher candidate each semester in education classes.  In addition, the teacher candidate keeps a journal to reflect upon their skills working with students from diverse groups, and sets goals for improvement as needed. 

 

 

 

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