|The Missouri Western Teacher Education program is
guided by the following core beliefs concerning learning and resulting
commitments to quality preparation for teacher leaders in the classrooms:
DEVELOPMENTAL LEARNING: Learning to teach is developmental – curriculum and field experiences must be structured in such a way as to allow candidates to mature and grow into teacher knowledges, skills and dispositions. From "Awareness" to "Developing Theoretical Knowledge" to "Investigation" and finally to "Finding Voice," all four phases of the program must move candidates to increasing opportunities to become teacher leaders and to take responsibility for student learning.
APPLIED LEARNING: Teachers learn to teach by teaching – teacher candidates must have rich, authentic experiences in actual classrooms and be guided and supported by master classroom teachers and professional education faculty through four phases of theoretical and experiential learning, including a true pre-student teaching experience during which our candidates assume all responsibilities of a student teacher.
CONNECTED LEARNING: Theory and practice should be connected – theory that is introduced in campus classrooms must be married with field experiences so that the former informs the latter and the latter illuminates the former. Thus, action and reflection play off of each other to contribute to thoughtful teacher candidates who take responsibility for student learning. In support of this core belief, all Education Department faculty must supervise, resulting in superior teaching, supervision and program improvement.
THOUGHTFUL LEARNING: Learning experiences—both on campus and in host schools—should involve formal critical thinking – Critical or reflective thinking is a necessary teaching skill that is represented graphically in our model by magnifying glasses. Critical thinking requires an object this is the focus of each course’s identified critical learning piece. Critical thinking also requires a process that is proven and consistent. The critical thinking process that has been adopted by MWSU and by the Education Unit is drawn from the work of Richard Paul.
RELEVANT LEARNING: Diversity and technology should be embedded throughout – The knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to take responsibility to ensure that all children learn must be embedded within all four phases of our candidates’ experiences, learned developmentally, and connected to professional practice in P-12 schools.
COLLEGIAL LEARNING: Collaboration is valued and experienced through multiple partnerships – Western Teacher Education was birthed in collaboration with area teachers and administrators. This collaboration must continue at multiple levels including parents, teaching colleagues, area businesses and industries and school administrators.
VITAL LEARNING: Success is dependent upon current relevancy, future vision and a community of trust – candidates and faculty alike must be aware of the current challenges facing education, know research-based teaching and learning strategies, be able to demonstrate proficiency with educational technology and possess knowledge, skills and dispositions to effectively teach a diverse student population. In addition, core principles must be shared among vital and effective faculty so that all are empowered to reach their full potential.
COMPASSIONATE LEARNING: Success
is dependent upon an environment of respect, trust and compassion that
is shared and modeled – Western teacher education has adopted the metaphor
of “The Deck” to illustrate a way of relating among instructors and teacher
candidates that models a way of being that includes respect, sensitivity
to diversity, listening, stories, and professional collegiality.