The Highway represents developmental progress through the program and is representative of MWSU being at the crossroads of two major highways.
The diagonal highway divides the model vertically. The top half of the map (blue), the area above the highway, represents theoretical and foundational knowledge obtained largely through on-campus courses and experiences. The bottom half of the map (green), the ground below the highway, represents the acquisition of insights, skills, and strategies obtained through guided and connected field experiences.
Areas Above and Below the Highway:
Early in the program, the larger portion of sky above the highway indicates that much of the knowledge of foundations, instructional techniques, theories of learning and development, and management techniques takes place during the on-campus professional sequence courses, discipline-related content courses, and methods courses. The sky represents a focus on the theoretical foundations of teaching and learning.
Later in the program, the larger portion of ground below the highway indicates the application of this knowledge during field experience placements or other instances of application such as working one-on-one with P-12 students. As you move from left to right on the map, opportunities for application increase.
Strands Running Along the Highway:
Two strands, represented by the arrows on the highway, run through all of the phases. These learning “lanes” represent continuing focus upon diversity and technology that are embedded throughout our program and run through all phases.
A magnifying lens is located in the lower portion of each phase of the program. Each lens represents a tool, a mechanism for focusing intently upon applying theory and application in order to have a positive effect upon student learning.
Each lens is a reminder that learning is not a vague recounting of “what happened,” but is instead a process that requires certain critical components: (1) a specific tool of analysis, (2) an object on which to focus the analytical tool, and (3) a habit of mind that encourages a maturing of the analytical process and applications to teaching and learning.
The tools of analysis are specific assignments and course requirements such as the Critical learning Pieces attached to each course and Portfolio Assignments that teacher candidates must collect during all four phases of the program.
The Focus of Student Learning:
By focusing teacher candidates’ attention on the learning of the students in the host schools, critical learning assignments ensure that the application will be performance-based.
For example, in EDU 360, Assessing and Individualizing Reading, candidates work with an elementary reader who is struggling. They assess the reading difficulty and adjust their tutoring to maximize the student’s progress in learning.
Finally, the reflective lenses encourage a habit of reflection that addresses the following three critical questions: (1) what aspect of student learning do I wish to affect? (2) what evidence can I produce that the positive performance took place, and (3) what is the link between the evidence and my claim that I positively influenced student learning?
The Process of Critical Thinking:
While the Critical Learning Pieces provide the focus for the magnifying lenses, the process of analysis is Critical Thinking as defined in the literature by the work of Richard Paul and adopted by MWSU across the curriculum. Critical Thinking standards and tools of analysis provide the consistency necessary for growth in thinking critically and applying theory in the classroom.
The Way of Being of "THE DECK":