TEP Graduate Outcomes:
TEP graduates are willing to question their own assumptions and viewpoints, and those of others. They learn from their teaching and from their students. They use multiple sources of information to examine their decisions, and expect others to do the same.
Study of Children/Study of Schools
TEP graduates gather information from a variety of sources to understand how their students learn, feel, think, and act within the context of their classrooms and larger school community. They observe students, analyze students’ performance, communicate with families, collaborate with school personnel, learn about the students’ communities, and identify and utilize community resources.
TEP graduates use content knowledge, educational theory, and many sources of evidence to design and teach effective content lessons with appropriate teaching strategies, learning activities, and assessments. They analyze lesson outcomes to develop pedagogy.
TEP graduates learn about and respect every student’s needs and educational, cultural, linguistic, social, psychological, and familial backgrounds. They value their students’ differences as resources in the teaching-learning environments they co-create, not only to support academic success but to nurture meaningful engagement across differences.
TEP graduates understand that to best meet the needs of each student they must collaborate with colleagues and families, in multiple ways, in and out of the classroom. They open their doors, seek and build professional relationships, and effectively communicate to share and develop practice.
Teaching in the 21st Century
TEP graduates recognize that they work in a changing social, technological, and political world. They engage with questions about the purposes of schooling, the roles and responsibilities of teachers, and the qualities of effective learning environments. They create innovative learning opportunities that nurture individual fulfillment and thoughtful, ethical, and active participation in an interconnected world.
Classrooms are active social systems, and children with positive relationships demonstrate positive behaviors. Healthy supportive relationships with teachers and peers can promote both emotional competence and academic engagement in the classroom. The teacher is a central part of the social ecology of the classroom and must be skillful in promoting a prosocial and culturally responsive environment. This enhancing effect of relationships may be especially important for children with both evident and masked vulnerabilities.
Development resides in the interaction between context and the individual. Specifically, cognitive development is supported by a rich and varied environment. Such an environment can help overcome deterministic notions about students’ behavior and capacity to learn. Cognition and behavior are always a function of complex interactions with experience, and the nature of those interactions may vary in different environments. Classroom processes and overall school context can serve a protective, stabilizing function particularly when parenting processes in the home environment are compromised. Moreover, well-organized classrooms and responsive adults in the school promote self-regulatory skills that facilitate academic performance. Thus, achievement and school context go hand-in-hand.
In children especially, affect drives cognition. Children’s affective state influences how available they will be for learning. Children and adolescents have difficulty learning if they are highly stressed or distracted. Knowing about the physiological as well as the sociological aspects of development and how these domains interact is critically important because they have implications for addressing the compelling issues related to the educational achievement gap and other disparities brought to bear on the learning experience.
The Child Matters
It is important to focus on the child, not just on the skill. Two siblings from the same home, of the same parents, experiencing the same tensions may respond to their environments very differently—one may thrive, while the other is barely able to cope with stressors. Similarly, children from various backgrounds and with different experiences may respond to academic content differently. A teacher needs to provide an instructional approach suitable to the make-up, developmental stage, and characteristics of the child. This approach grows naturally from an understanding of human development. Children who have problems acquiring specific skills are likely to experience other legitimate problems that interfere with their academic and social effectiveness. Having the knowledge and skill to understand the whole child will facilitate the teacher’s ability to identify and develop effective learning strategies.
The Teacher Matters
Students are learning all the time, and always more than one thing at a time. A teacher can’t cause learning, or even control it. Yet the teacher matters. The teacher can be in a position to notice – or fail to notice – the glimmer of a good idea, the discovery of a good problem, the skeleton of a good strategy. The teacher can design educational encounters that make such possibilities more or less likely. The teacher’s ability to see and willingness to act on such possibilities as they emerge provide the most important raw material for building a nourishing environment for learning. The teacher determines if trusting relationships have a chance to grow, if students will be willing to take risks, to work at the edge of what they can already do, to support and challenge each other.
Values 1-4 from Snyder, J. (2009)