The program is committed to and invests in strengthening and improving the education profession and the P-20 education system. Each program’s context (or multiple contexts) provides particular opportunities to engage the field’s shared challenges and to foster and support innovation. Engagement with critical issues is essential and must be contextualized. Sharing results of contextualized engagement and innovation supports the field’s collective effort to address education’s most pressing challenges through improvement and innovation.
The university’s mission of “boldly educating and empowering its students for success” comes through its prerequisites and/or professional preparation coursework, as the Single Subject Teacher Credential program provides opportunities for candidates to examine how selected concepts and principles are represented in contemporary educational policies and practices in California schools. Working collaboratively, course instructors, program field supervisors, and district support personnel explain and illustrate a variety of models of teaching and the application of these models contextually. They also instruct and coach our candidates to use and reflect on their understanding of relevant theory and research in making instructional decisions and improving pedagogical practices and how these theories and practices inform school policies and practices in order to “prepare them to be the next generation of teacher leaders.”
Guided by our School’s vision for an “inclusive and equitable” future, our credential candidates discuss the social and cultural issues that impact or are impacted by schooling. These include issues related to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, immigration, school safety, and problems of youth, e.g., teen pregnancy, drug use, and teen violence (CI 151). As they plan instruction in their methods classes (CI 161) and plan and teach in field experiences (EHD 155A/154A/155B/154B), they are asked to reflect on how their decisions and actions will serve long-range goals, solve social problems, and/or reduce inequalities in the outcomes of schooling. They also learn about the cognitive, social, and moral development of students and how to apply this knowledge to classroom practice (CI 152). Candidates also develop lesson plans and explain how these plans are accommodating of cultural diversity in initial and final student teaching, so that our credential candidates can “function more effectively and productively in a mutable and increasingly diverse society.”
Because Kremen places considerable emphasis on developing educators who can function effectively as leaders in a “culturally and linguistically diverse society,” candidates in the Single Subject Teacher Credential Program are coached, receive feedback, and are evaluated on their application of pedagogical theories and principles regarding facilitating English language development (LEE 157), differentiating instruction (SPED 158), selecting materials and instructional strategies (CI 161), increasing students understanding and knowledge in their subject area, reducing racism and other forms of intolerance, and maintaining equitable classrooms for all students.
Another way the Single Subject Teacher Credential Program is ensuring its programmatic mission can be found in the program’s emphasis on relating theory to practice through the triangulation of its psychological foundations course, the general methods course, and student teaching experience. In CI 152, students learn that the ability to deal with abstractions is a developmental process and that many early adolescents need assistance with tasks that are highly abstract. In CI 149, students practice designing lessons in which abstract tasks are made more concrete. In student teaching (EHD 155A/154A), candidates are evaluated on their ability to successfully help their students deal with various types of abstractions, thus “providing professional support and leadership to the community, promoting applied research, and providing experiences and opportunities that will enable employed professionals to remain current in their fields.”
And while the “dispositions of collaboration, valuing diversity, critical thinking, ethical judgments, reflection, and life-long learning” are assessed in initial and final student teaching (EHD 155A/154A/155B/154B), they are discussed and embedded throughout the coursework of the program. Afterall, these dispositions are the values and principles that guide the purpose and activities of our program. Therefore, we believe that Single Subject Teacher Credential Candidates must understand the ways in which their character can influence the students in their classrooms by first understanding themselves. As a result, the program is aligned with the school’s mission and vision to educate our candidates to “act as agents of change in their school district communities and in the greater communities at-large.”