Teacher Education

Overview

We in the Teacher Education Department are dedicated to ensuring that USM’s teacher candidates have the knowledge, skills and dispositions to teach in the increasingly diverse and demanding schools of today. We are committed to providing our teacher candidates, whether undergraduate or graduate, simultaneous classroom or community experiences and course work that help them connect the theories and research of education with the everyday work with students in K-12 schools.

Through our academic requirements, we ensure that our teaching candidates have a solid knowledge base in the subjects they plan to see, and understand the diverse ways students learn. We work closely with practicing administrators and teachers in partner schools to place our teaching candidates in the collaborative, professional environments that allow them to observe and reflect on excellent teaching.  In university classes, USM teaching candidates work together with fellow teaching candidates in teaching cohorts to share and challenge ideas. Through all of these experiences, USM teaching candidates come to understand the complexities and joys of teaching.  We invite you to learn more about Teacher Education at USM right here.

Equity Framework For Teacher Educators and Intern Teachers

Definition: Equity means that

  • All students are sufficiently supported, as needed, in their paths to success
  • No student is denied educational opportunities based on assumptions about his or her race, cultural and ethnic heritages, gender, class, abilities, or other aspects of diversity
  • Teachers develop a climate of mutual understanding, celebration, and positive response inclusive of all individuals and worldviews

Understandings: In order to realize equity, we must understand that

  • Each person has cultural identities and intelligences that are multi-dimensional and dynamic
  • Each person brings valuable learning strengths and experiences to the classroom and these, rather than perceived deficits, are the best source for further learning
  • Motivation and academic success depend upon feeling safe and cared for, and having a sense of belonging
  • Empathetic relationships with others is a necessary foundation for healthy learning communities
  • There are inequities and power differences in our society that are often mirrored in the norms and practices of our schools and classrooms

Practices: Based on these understandings, we seek to engage our students by

  • Understanding ourselves as cultural beings so that we can understand others in the same way
  • Knowing our students well, identifying and celebrating their identities, cultural backgrounds, intelligence strengths, preferred learning modalities, and aspirations
  • Assessing students' knowledge, skills, and dispositions in order to be responsive to learners' needs and give formative feedback
  • Providing challenging work for all students with levels of support as needed
  • Fostering classroom environments where all students feel safe, cared for, and a sense of belonging
  • Contextualizing lessons and units using student interests and strengths and the experiences and skills they bring from home and community
  • Applying the principles of universal design for learning and strategies for differentiated learning in our planning and instruction
  • Modeling the behaviors that we expect of our students
  • Inquiring into our own practices and reflecting upon equity implications for our students
  • Examining and addressing the structures and codes of power in our schools and classrooms
  • Advocating for the fair and equitable treatment of our students
  • Collaborating with partner schools to focus attention on issues of equity