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Redesigned common-content courses for teacher candidates debut

As part of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative, the "foundation" courses that our initial licensure teacher candidates typically took before clinical work and student teaching have been redesigned as Common Content courses. The new courses span two to three terms, so field experience is embedded in each.

Initial licensure teacher candidates recently completed the first sequence of three of the re-designed courses:
EDHD5000 Cultures, Schools, and Communities
EDHD5013 Child and Adolescent Development
EDHD 5015 Teaching Special Needs Students in Inclusive Settings

EDHD 5000 Cultures, Schools, and Communities

This course was developed from combining two previous courses (School and Society, and Human Relations). Expanded over a full academic year, the course provides ten "Great Lessons" covering a broad range of topics, such as "Competing Norms and Ideals of U.S. Public Education" and "Professionalism, Teacher Leadership, and Adaptive Expertise." The teacher candidates interact and complete course assignments in professional learning communities (PLC) facilitated by specially prepared doctoral students. The course includes a teacher identity self-study and professional rotations.

Peter Demerath and Michael Goh from the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development were part of the team that developed EDHD 5000.

"Teachers are joining a profession with a long history," says Goh. "We ask the questions: Why schools, and why teach? And how can a teacher lead in a culturally diverse classroom? The course reflects what we believe to be the foundational philosophy of teaching and the human relations qualities and behaviors that will be the hallmark of teachers who graduates from CEHD."

On the first day of the new course this summer, the room was abuzz as nearly 150 students and their 11 graduate assistants assembled. The lesson was delivered by Harriet Bishop, Minnesota's first public school teacher, via the Minnesota Historical Society. Bishop brought them back to her makeshift classroom of 1847, where students spoke English, French, and Ojibwe. She carried a trunk full of teaching tools of the period, such as an illustrated primer and slate, and engaged students in classroom exercises and conversations about teaching principles and values.

As the summer sequence wound up, here are some of the teacher candidates' comments:

"This is an amazing class. Thank you for helping me to discover more about myself culturally and as an individual."
"[I] like the topics covered in the Great Lessons and then breaking into our smaller, comfortable groups to discuss."

"The small community within the PLC has given me great time and resources to dive deep into these subjects. We've had great conversations and activities."

Sequence Two begins in September. Topics will include "Culture and Learning" and "Race, Culture, and Education."

EDHD 5013 Child and Adolescent Development

This course provides teacher candidates with valuable opportunities to observe students, to think critically about teaching and learning, and reflect on their roles as professional educators so that they may continually improve their practice. In particular, candidates will learn about students' pathways toward successful adulthood, including how social, psychological, emotional, and educational factors diverge upon entrance into school. Candidates participated in mini-lectures, readings, group discussion, case writing, and online and face-to-face classroom discussions.

The course was developed by Vichet Chhuon from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

A comment from a student in EDHD 5013: "I loved this class--we moved around so much--it was very student centered. The pedagogy was great. Three hours is hard for anyone (adults or kids) to sit still and this class flew by and more importantly, I learned a ton!"

EDHD 5015 Teaching Special Needs Students in Inclusive Settings

This new course provides an overview of the areas of exceptionality defined in federal and state regulations. During the two sequenced terms, candidates will learn the historical perspectives, definitions, etiology, characteristics, needs, and service delivery systems for each area of exceptionality as well as the general educators' role in collaborating with special education personnel in order to meet the needs of students with special needs.

Kathy Seifert from the Department of Educational Psychology originally developed this course.

Students completing the first sequence shared:

"This class has been very practical and hand[s] on, I've appreciated the projects and that the assignments have been meaningful and not busy work."

"I am finally engaging with special education! This is Big! I am addressing the topic and I have sparked an interest to do more investigating."

Up next

The second sequence for these three courses will begin in the fall. In addition, EDHD 5017/18 Academic Language and English Learners will make its debut in September.

For more information about TERI, see http://www.cehd.umn.edu/TERI .

College of Education & Human Development
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