Philosophy, Goals & 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 ensure 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 MHU program, candidates will develop habits and dispositions that will continue their growth as Teacher as Progressive Leaders; they will be reflective about their practices and engage in collaboration with the 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 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 becoming Teacher as Progressive Leader

Candidates are expected to display the professional knowledge (creative pedagogy), knowledge of the academic disciplines (content knowledge), and dispositions (social justice through critical agency) appropriate to a Teacher as Progressive Leader. 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, standardized tests (such as SAT, ACT, and Praxis testing), 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 the North Carolina Program Approval Portfolio, which will display selected evidence of their preparedness. As a formal process, assessment of candidate progress takes place at four different points called transitions.

Proficiencies Related to Diversity in the Classroom

As candidates enter into their assigned classroom, they will encounter many forms of diversity such as race, gender, identity, language, socioeconomic levels, religion, learning styles, and ability levels. Throughout the program of study, candidates have developed and have been taught proficiencies (knowledge, skills, and dispositions) that they are expected to demonstrate through working with students from diverse groups in classrooms and schools.

The knowledge and skills candidates are expected to demonstrate include differentiating instruction, assisting with individual education plans, and developing lesson plans that include modifications/accommodations that reflect attention to individual and cultural differences among students. In addition, the knowledge and skills will be demonstrated through the practice and application of the five North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards:

Standard 1: Teachers Demonstrate Leadership

Standard 2: Teachers Establish a Respectful Environment for a Diverse Population of Students

Standard 3: Teachers Know the Content They Teach

Standard 4: Teachers Facilitate Learning for Their Students

Standard 5: Teachers Reflect on Their Practice

The dispositions include thirteen of the twenty-eight dispositions that candidates are assessed on during Transition 1: Admission to Teacher Education and Transition 2: Admission to Clinical Practice. All twenty-eight dispositions reinforce the Conceptual Framework, program goals, and expectations. Listed are the dispositions related to diversity:

  • Open to new forms of inquiry and knowledge
  • Open and receptive to change
  • Builds new understanding from personal reflection and reading
  • Seeks new experiences that broaden knowledge
  • Maintains positive attitudes in and out of class
  • Acts with fairness and honesty
  • Recognizes personal limitations and seeks to overcome them
  • Tolerates and responsive to ideas of others
  • Respectful of and responsive to individual differences
  • Believes in the worth and potential of others
  • Believes that everyone can and will learn
  • Seeks to understand beliefs, values, and understandings of all individuals
  • Is fair and just with all individuals
  • These proficiencies are important for a successful student teaching experience and are necessary to help all students learn.

North Carolina Digital Learning Competencies for Classroom Teachers

The teaching and learning process is a complex balance of content knowledge, pedagogical strategies, and technological resources. The following Digital Competencies, informed by International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), International Association for K – 12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and the NC Professional Teaching Standards, are to be viewed within the context of the current NC Professional Teaching Standards as extensions in relationship with the ways that digital technologies impact and affect schools.

Teachers and administrators should use these competencies to improve their practice and drive student learning within their classroom. The following four Focus Areas have been loosely aligned to the Professional Teaching Standards with a subset of competencies that help explain and ‘unpack’ the Focus Area.

Leadership in Digital Learning

Teachers will demonstrate leadership in accelerating their integration of digital teaching and learning pedagogies.

  • Engage in virtual and face-to-face learning communities to expand mastery of technological applications for professional growth and student learning.
  • Take initiative with own professional growth to inform practice.
  • Demonstrate leadership for technology innovation beyond my own classroom.
  • Engage in peer collaborative problem solving through continuous planning, designing, testing, evaluation, and recalibration of teaching methods using appropriate digital technology.
  • Promote open, lifelong learning as an iterative process of success, failure, grit, and perseverance.

Digital Citizenship

Teachers will model and teach digital citizenship by the ethical, respectful, and safe use of digital tools and resources that support the creation of a positive digital school culture.

  • Demonstrate understanding of intellectual property rights by abiding by copyright law, intellectual property, and fair use guidelines.
  • Teach and require the use of copyright law and fair use in student work and creation.
  • Engage in responsible and professional digital social interaction.
  • Integrate digital citizenship curriculum into student learning.
  • Demonstrate global awareness through engaging with other cultures via advanced communication and collaboration tools.
  • Ensure full, equitable access and participation to all learners through high-quality technology tools and resources.

Digital Content and Instruction

Teachers will know and use appropriate digital tools and resources for instruction.

  • Design technology-enriched learning experiences that encourage all students to pursue their individual interests, preferences, and differences.
  • Lead all students in becoming active participants in setting educational goals, managing learning, and assessing their progress through digital tools.
  • Identify, evaluate, and utilize appropriate digital tools and resources to challenge students to create, think critically, solve problems, establish reliability, communicate their ideas, and collaborate effectively.
  • Immerse students in exploring relevant issues and analyze authentic problems through digital tools and resources.
  • Evaluate and appropriately modify the form and function of the physical learning environment to create a conducive digital learning environment.

Data and Assessment

Teachers will use technology to make data more accessible, adjust instruction to better meet the needs of a diverse learner population, and reflect upon their practice through the consistent, effective use of assessment.

  • Integrate digitally enhanced formative and summative assessments as a part of the teaching and learning process.
  • Use performance data and digital tools to empower student metacognition for self-assessment and self-monitoring their own learning progress.
  • Utilize multiple and varied forms of assessment including examples of student work products.
  • Utilize technology and digital tools to synthesize and apply qualitative and quantitative data to:
    • Create individual learner profiles of strengths, weaknesses, interests, skills, gaps, preferences.
    • Inform, personalize, and calibrate individual learning experiences.
    • Identify specific plans of action related to weaknesses, gaps, and needed skills as identified in the learner profile.
    • Reflect and improve upon instructional practice.