The constructivist philosophy is the foundation for the teacher education program. The divisions' instruction is
based upon constructivist inquiry in a caring, competent, Christian environment. The constructivist theory of
learning states that learners create their own learning from direct and indirect experiences with their environment.
Creating constructivist classrooms requires bold changes and breaks from the past modes of instruction to
implement new forms that include teacher-centered classrooms. Students are trained to be constructivist
practitioners who reflect upon the results of not only their performance but also the performance of their students.
The constructivist philosophy is based upon five guiding principles proposed by Brooks and Brooks (1993):
Principle 1: Posing Problems of Emerging Relevance to Students
Principle 2: Structuring Learning Around Primary Concepts: The Quest for Excellence
Principle 3: Seeking and Valuing Students' Points of View
Principle 4: Adapting Curriculum to Address Students' Suppositions
Principle 5: Assessing Student Learning in the Context of Teaching
With the constructivist philosophy as the underpinning of the teacher education curriculum, students seeking degrees in teacher education must complete coursework in three distinct units:
Unit I - General Studies for Initial Teacher Preparation
The general studies include the arts, communications, history, literature, mathematics, philosophy, sciences, and the social sciences. The general studies incorporate multicultural and global perspectives and an inter-disciplinary program of study that prepares pre-service teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions expected of beginning teachers. The minimum course requirements for The Interdisciplinary Program of Studies are:
English – 12 semester hours Social Studies-12 semester hours
Mathematics/Science – 21 semester hours Reading – 6 semester hours
Mathematics (required) – 9 semester hours Special Education – 3 semester hours
Science (required) – 9 semester hours Fine Arts – 6 semester hours
Computer (required) 3 semester hours
Unit II- Content Studies for Specialty Area Preparation
Content courses develop in students an understanding of the structure, skills, core concepts, ideas, values, facts,
methods of inquiry, and uses of technology in the specific discipline or subject area. While the division considers all students majoring in education as education majors, specialty content courses that make up the certification areas or majors in Business, English, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Biology, the elementary cognate, and the dual degree teacher education programs are determined by the respective divisions. The required content courses by major are:
All elementary education majors will have a concentration of 21 hours in reading and a second concentration of 21 hours to complete two cognate areas. (Some courses counted in the concentration may be General Education
Courses). The second concentration may be in (1) English, (2) Mathematics, (3) Science, or (4) Social Studies.
Unit III - Professional and Pedagogical Studies for Initial Teacher Preparation
Professional and pedagogical courses ensure that teacher candidates acquire and learn to apply knowledge and skills to become competent to work with all students. The professional studies component is a well-planned sequence of courses and experiences based upon INTASC and TIAI Standards. The INTASC standards outline ten principles that a student keep:
Principle 1: Understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structure of the Disciplines taught; creates learning experiences that are meaningful to students
Principle 2: Understands how children learn and develop; provides learning opportunities that support their development
Principle 3: Understands how students differ in their approaches to learning, creates instructional opportunities adapted to diverse learners
Principle 4: Understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies
Principle 5: Creates a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation
Principle 6: Uses knowledge of communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction
Principle 7: Plans instruction based on knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals
Principle 8: Understands and uses formal and informal assessment
Principle 9: Reflects on learning
Principle 10: Fosters relationships with colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community.
To further define the quality of pre-service teacher performance, the ten principles developed by the Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) are incorporated into six domains as the Teacher Intern Assessment Instrument (TIAI). The pedagogy and assessment of teaching performance is based on the six domains which are: (1) planning and preparation, (2) communication and interaction, (3) teaching for learning, (4) managing the learning environment, (5) assessment of student learning, and (6) professionalism and partnerships.
The professional and pedagogical component provides sufficient opportunities for the application and evaluation of the theories that are taught. This component is comprised of 35 semester hours that are required of all students regardless of certification area. The experiences are sequenced so that students move through stages of increased responsibility for classroom instruction or other professional roles in schools. This common core includes the following courses: