Philosophy, Goals, and Expectations

Program Philosophy

The Teacher as Progressive Leader is committed to helping all students reach their highest potential. In order to achieve this goal, candidates must prepare themselves to recognize and appreciate the capability for development in all individuals and must be competent in a way that will insure that development. They must appreciate differences and prepare themselves to be successful in teaching a diverse population of students. Candidates must also know and be able to communicate the content that they will teach and understand the ways in which their teaching area connects to a broad body of knowledge and skills. Before completing the Mars Hill University program, candidates will develop habits and dispositions that will continue their growth as Teachers as Progressive Leaders; they will be reflective about their practices and engage in collaboration with their colleagues. They will develop leadership skills, and above all they will respect and care about their students.

Program Goals

The program aims to prepare teachers who are:

• Prepared to practice creative pedagogy and can accept the challenge to create a curiosity-driven classroom; to be willing and able to experiment and take the risks associated with real learning.
• Able to enter the classroom prepared to design, and not just implement, curricula and instruction.
• Knowledgeable about disciplinary structures and processes, including direct experiences with the real-world objects of study, hands-on application of methods and inquiry, and exposure to working members of disciplinary communities.
• Able to serve diverse candidates preparing to pass along disciplinary knowledge and its methods of production to a new generation of K-12 students.
• Prepared to transform the lives of their students by applying the principles of critical agency to the challenges of social justice, empowering their students with these same understandings and equipping them with the knowledge and skills to effect equity and social justice in their own lives and the lives of others.

Program Expectations for Candidates who become Teachers as Progressive Leaders

Candidates are expected to display the knowledge and skills (creative pedagogy), knowledge of the academic disciplines, and dispositions (social justice through critical agency)  appropriate to a Teacher. Working collaboratively, the members of the Teacher Education Unit have identified characteristics that reflect appropriate knowledge, skills and dispositions and have integrated these characteristics into the coursework and experiences that are required of candidates. In order to progress successfully through the Teacher Education Program, candidates must provide evidence that they are developing these characteristics and meeting established standards.

The progress of candidates is evaluated through course grades, grade point averages, Praxis I and II tests, field experience assessments, interviews, and conferences. Candidates participate in reflective practices and create products that they then collect into a working electronic portfolio of “evidences.” Before completing the program, candidates revise their working portfolios to create Teacher as Progressive Leader Portfolios which will display selected evidence of their preparedness. As a formal process, assessment of candidate progress takes place at four different points called transitions.