Academic journal article Journal of Intercultural Disciplines

A Model That Works: An Hbcu Preparing Teachers to Educate Diverse Students

Academic journal article Journal of Intercultural Disciplines

A Model That Works: An Hbcu Preparing Teachers to Educate Diverse Students

Article excerpt

HBCUs have historically graduated a large percentage of the nation's African American teachers and have been credited with the capacity for preparing highly effective educators (thinkhbcu.org, 2007-2010). There has been little discussion, though, about using the same techniques to prepare candidates of all races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds to work in schools with varied student groups. In the Division of Education at one Southern University, candidates are an extremely diverse group enrolled in a range of undergraduate and graduate programs. The University's mission, to prepare candidates to assume roles of leadership and service, is especially important in the field of education and is fully connected to the Division's role in preparing all its candidates to work in urban schools with diverse populations. This article presents a plausible clinical model that seems effective in preparing teachers to educate diverse students and the pilot study that initiates data as to students' perspectives on the constructs that comprise the model.

The Model

A recent report commissioned by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) exhorts the incorporation of clinical practice with content, pedagogy, and professional coursework in a fashion similar to the medical profession (NCATE, 2010). "Laboratory experiences...are designed to support the investigation of practice, and embedded school experiences offer guided practice in real-life situations" (NCATE, 2010, p. 9). This type of clinical practice also provides opportunities for reflective practice in which all candidates can reflect and articulate a philosophy of education that reveals how theory, content, and pedagogy can be integrated into their teaching. It is noted in the NCATE (2010) report that few teacher preparation programs integrate clinical practice. This University's educational preparation programs are emerging as clinical models which "provide the prospective teacher with real responsibilities, the opportunity to make decisions and to develop skills to analyze student needs and adjust practices using student performance data while receiving continuous monitoring and feedback from mentors" (NCATE, 2010, p. 10).

The Division's candidates are exposed to numerous case studies and collections of actual data to analyze student work and determine validity, reliability, difficulty, and discrimination of assessments. Specified projects are aligned with content in designated courses and are completed during field experiences. Field experiences are incorporated into the various courses as candidates undertake increasing responsibilities in the classroom. The State of Louisiana requires 180 clock hours of field experience be completed before the additional 270 clock hours of student teaching is begun (see Appendix A). Memoranda of Understanding establish partnerships with regional school districts and local public, charter, parochial, and private schools to provide candidates with real-life experiences. The Division's Conceptual Framework provides the basis upon which to evaluate its programmatic model.

The Conceptual Framework and Literature Support

The Department of Education's (DOE) Conceptual Framework (see Appendix B), a collection of six constructs with fifteen supporting core concepts, is the foundation for each educational program of study and the organizational tool used to structure appropriate knowledge, skills, and experiences that prepare candidates for their work with diverse student populations. The six constructs that comprise the Conceptual Framework are spirituality, diversity, professionalism, inquiry, competence, and technology. The core concepts are introduced, reinforced, and assessed throughout each program of study. A matrix for each program was designed to indicate which courses address particular core concepts and at what level (see Appendix C). The model that has been developed in the Division to prepare candidates for teaching diverse student groups operationalizes the constructs of the Conceptual Framework. …

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