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MSU Teacher Education Unit (TEU)


The Minot State University Teacher Education Governance Unitís (TEGU) conceptual framework, including philosophy, beliefs, mission, and goal statements, was originally framed in 1987. Within this framework, a teacher is described as a Reflective Decision-Maker. This description subsequently was operationalized through a conceptual model designated "ARK" (Action, Reflection, Knowledge). Input during development of the conceptual model derived from a broad range of sources, both across the university (TE faculty) and the community it serves (Stakeholdersí Committee). Since that time TEGU has further enriched this theme and model by organizing all of its program components and assessment instruments into a coherent framework based in concordance with the INTASC standards at the initial preparation level and with a variety of standards at the advanced level. The present Teacher Education framework has thus matured to provide a structure articulated by:

a philosophy statement
belief statements
a mission statement an organizing theme (Teacher as a Reflective Decision-Maker)
a conceptual model (ARK)
goals based on the INTASC standards or advanced program standards
program elements
program outcome assessments based on the identified program standards


The Teacher Education Governance Unit operates on a firm belief in evidence-based practices. The conceptual theme and model are supported by literature that suggests that candidates must have a solid grasp of content knowledge, good pedagogical skills for teaching actions, and the ability to reflect upon and make appropriate modifications to ensure successful student outcomes (Zeichner & Liston, 1987, Ryan & Cooper, 1988). The MSU Teacher Education faculty has conceived and implement programs based on this foundation of literature and upon the evidence-based practices appropriate to the specific disciplines.

The Teacher Education programs, therefore, have continued since 1987 to emphasize a cyclical relationship among reflective observation, concrete experience, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. This requires prospective teachers to examine their own beliefs and practices about schools and learning, to critique instructional decisions according to outcomes and alternatives, and to integrate and apply pedagogical concepts, principles, and practices to contextual cases. The reflective decision-maker theme suggests that a teacher is one who (a) understands the theoretical background of instruction, (b) applies that knowledge in making and implementing instructional decisions, and (c) continually reassesses those decisions. Furthermore, this theme sustains continuous examination of supervision and how a supervisor may guide student teachers toward reflective decision-making. It indicates an overarching foundation for evaluating candidates and for modeling reflective thinking by faculty throughout course instruction. The organizing theme continues to challenge the faculty to clarify behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and practices that demonstrate and then define reflection.

To implement the organizing theme of a teacher as a reflective decision-maker, a conceptual model was developed which guides all program goals, processes, outcomes, and assessments. The model is represented by the acronym ARK (Action, Reflection, Knowledge). A basic assumption in the development of the model is that it must be easily understood, comprehensive, and widely applicable. There is uniform agreement within TEGU that the ARK model fairly represents the processes of an effective teacher education program. Its simplicity and widespread application have been well received over the years and is now internalized in all programs across. The Unit has articulated the implementation of the ARK model explicitly in terms of the ten INTASC Standards. These ten standards now underpin all pre-service professional sequence curricular elements and all pre-service field experience assessments, including student teaching.

The goals delineated by the TEGUís ARK model, organizing theme, and assessment instruments are consistent with the mission, vision, and value statements of the University at large and of the College of Education and Health Sciences as well as the Unitís philosophy, beliefs, mission, and goals. Although the ARK model is research-based and was developed primarily by the Unitís faculty, the university administration, the educational community, students, and those who teach supporting courses in other departments have all been continuously involved as the model was developed and implemented. The faculty believes the model to be evidence-based, forward-looking, and sufficiently flexible to undergird all of its professional education programs.

TEGUís conceptual framework flows from the philosophy, the beliefs, the mission, and the theme to reflect how the faculty views its role. The mission of the Unit fits congruently within the University mission and serves as the basis for a university-wide commitment to preparing educators. Though the Universityís stated mission has evolved since the institutionís inception in 1913, it has retained guiding principles central to its institutional philosophy. Specifically, it has continued to honor its historical mandate to improve the condition of the citizens of North Dakota by delivering programs and services that provide for an educated populace.

Mission of Minot State University

"Minot State University advances knowledge, critical and creative thinking, and the vitality of community and cultures."

The Universityís mission is supported by a set of core values, a statement of beliefs, and a set of statements that envision the future of the university. The Mission of Minot State University in turn supports the goals of the North Dakota University System as established by a Roundtable of individuals from government, education, and the private sector. This Roundtable established Six Cornerstones to guide the state in its attempt utilize the resources of Higher Education to meet the challenges facing the citizens of North Dakota.

Teacher Education Governance Unit (TEGU) Philosophy

The TEGU faculty believes that an overarching philosophy must undergird the Teacher Education program. The education of teachers is a life-long pursuit encompassing the spectrum of pre-service entry-level preparation, graduate study, and professional life including in-service experiences. The primary responsibilities of teachers are to: (1) facilitate the enculturation of young people into our democratic society, (2) nurture studentsí curiosity about the world, (3) provide access to knowledge, (4) encourage the development of skills and attitudes necessary for the application of knowledge, (5) build effective teacher/student relationships to facilitate learning, and (6) demonstrate responsible professional behavior.

TEGU Beliefs

The TEGU faculty understands that the education of teachers is composed of two elements: students must attain the knowledge and skills of the successful, professional teacher as well as the dispositions that guide ethical, responsible, and dedicated behavior. It is the TEGU facultyís responsibility to guide and monitor both the knowledge and skills development of their students as well as their understanding of their professional character. Therefore, We Believe That:

Initial preparation and continuing development of teachers must be a responsibility shared by the University faculty, educational practitioners and related professionals, with primary oversight vested in the state, through the certification standards;
Teacher education faculty must be models of ethical professional practice;
Teacher education faculty must be involved in both scholarly activities and the field of practice, to continually clarify and expand the professional knowledge base;
Teacher education faculty must systematically evaluate programs and graduates to assure their continued high quality;
Teacher education faculty and its programs must reflect American diversity and prepare professionals to teach in a changing pluralistic and multicultural society within a global community;
Education of teachers must consist of a rigorous course of study which includes a broad liberal arts education, academic subject matter preparation, both general and content specific preparation in teaching methodology, and knowledge of developmental characteristics of children and youth;
Teacher preparation programs and subsequent graduate study must include a wide variety of increasingly responsible school-based experiences that serve as opportunities for students to apply pedagogical knowledge and reflect on its application;
Graduate programs must enhance in its candidates the attributes of master teachers: those who possess sufficient knowledge, skills, and attitudes of dedicated, skilled, knowledgeable, and competent professionals.

TEGU Mission Statement

Teacher Education at Minot State University, in its graduate and undergraduate programs, prepares teachers and other educational professionals who will be reflective decision-makers. Decision-making builds from a knowledge base and from that base teachers are able to draw conclusions, make inferences, internalize concepts and act. It is our mission to provide opportunities for candidates to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that will allow them to deliver optimum learning experiences for diverse pupils in ever-changing classroom environments.

Organizing Theme and Model

The theme and model were conceptualized and developed by the TEGU faculty and administration. Since inception the ARK model has continued to undergo evaluation and development. The model encompasses essentially all aspects relating to the development of a comprehensive knowledge base in both content and pedagogy, utilization of that knowledge base in effective instructional practice, and continued growth and development as a teacher through continuous reflection, professional scholarship and service, and program development. The model as described below has been presented to and evaluated by the local professional education community, including:

University administration, including the president, provost, deans of the various colleges, and department chairs;
Local school principals (city and rural);
Superintendents of the surrounding school districts;
University faculty members outside the Unit who teach content courses primarily for teachers and/or assist in student teaching supervision;
Stakeholders Advisory Council, consisting of local teachers, students, administrators, and school trustees;
Newly admitted teacher candidates during program orientation;
Candidates within the programs and those just completing the programs;
Local ATE executive board

The ARK model is not an instructional sequence model, but a conceptual model that attempts to identify the priorities that permeate the program and to serve as a unifying structure. The relationship between ARK and instruction is emphasized in faculty teaching and expectations for teacher candidates.

Organizing Theme

Thus, Teacher as Reflective Decision-Maker is the organizing theme which best integrates the programsí mission, philosophy, belief statements, and goals. The ARK model has been developed to help implement this theme and is an appropriate guide for both faculty and students in the programs at Minot State University. The theme and model overarch the ten INTASC standards that guide the program.

Model: ARK (Action, Reflection and Knowledge)

Teachers who Act-the "doing part"-are decision-makers who can and do model best pedagogical practice. They value, encourage, and monitor the sustained active involvement of every student in carefully planned, meaningful learning experiences. They collaborate willingly with colleagues and other professionals on educational issues, to plan and implement best practice, and to offer and receive support in continuing to develop as an expert teacher.

Teachers who Reflect-the "thinking part"-are decision-makers who evaluate relevant choices for teaching, decide and act upon those choices, and continually reevaluate them in light of their effectiveness as evidenced by student response and achievement, and by current literature and research findings.

Teachers who Know-the "knowing part"-are decision-makers who have acquired a strong knowledge base in content and pedagogy, and who understand the importance of continually striving for currency in these areas. This knowledge base provides information for reflection and action in the teaching situation as well as the skills and attitudes necessary to ensure continued growth.

It will be noted that many educational activities cannot and should not be categorized into only one of the components in the ARK model. Activities often possess characteristics of two or more of the components; thus, there is the deliberate intersection of the components.

The ARK model also serves as an advance organizer for faculty and students as they categorize course content and pedagogy within TEGUís programs. Students are introduced to the conceptual model during an orientation for newly admitted teacher candidates. In the Introduction to Teaching course (ED 201), the model is utilized as a basis for articulating the program. Also, the three ARK components permeate the entire program with each course reinforcing the model.

The ARK model, as well as the other components of the conceptual framework at Minot State University, is consistent with the NDUS vision, mission, statement of beliefs, and goals. Minot State University is a full partner in the North Dakota University System (NDSU), the lawfully empowered system of higher education in North Dakota.

Teaching Dispositions

The Unit faculty recognizes that while the knowledge, skills, and thinking ability of its candidates is of great importance, so too are the personal characteristics of an individual who would be an excellent teacher. A subcommittee of the Program and Policy Committee (P&P) researched these characteristics and, based upon the research literature, personal experience, and a review of previously identified professional characteristics, made a recommendation on a number of teaching dispositions to the committee of the whole. After much discussion and several revisions, eight dispositions were finally reviewed at the 2002 spring TEGU retreat and then approved for use by TEAC. A Dispositions Instrument was then created. Other forms, including self-assessment forms, reference forms for admission, forms used to report retention issues, and program assessment forms were all revised to reflect these teaching dispositions. (Appendices A & C, pages 90 & 94) (Appendix)

The eight dispositionsí identified are:

1. Motivated/Dedicated Inclined to act, devoted wholly to some purpose;
2. Caring/Sensitive Being concerned, having thought or regard, feeling concerned about/responsive to the feelings of others
3. Ethical In accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct
4. Responsible Accountable, as for something within oneís powers; having capacity for moral decisions
5. Open-minded Having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or argument; unprejudiced, unbigoted, impartial
6. Collegial (collaborative/cooperative) Sharing responsibility in a group endeavor
7. Resourceful Able to deal skillfully and promptly with new situations, difficulties, etc.
8. Poised Self-confident, self-assured

These eight dispositions are introduced in the Ed 201- Introduction To Teaching, and then become part of the assessment system used throughout the program in all disciplines. The initial use of the Dispositions instrument occurs as the candidate applies for admission to the program. This first formative self-assessment is part of the candidateís admission packet. The admission packet also contains two personal references using the same Dispositions instrument.

Throughout the candidateís program, faculty has the option of using the Dispositions instrument to submit concerns to TEAC about individual students. As a result, teacher candidates may be asked to remediate their unacceptable behavior, or they may be dropped from the program based on these faculty reports.

Candidates also self-assess dispositions as part of their application student teaching, and again upon completion of student teaching. Upon completion of student teaching, the student teaching supervisor also completes an assessment of dispositions along with their assessment of INTASC. When the graduated candidates have completed their first year of classroom teaching experience, they are asked to complete the same form.

Basic Program Goals

We envision the philosophy, mission, and goals in the concept of the following theme: The Teacher as a Reflective Decision- Maker, and operationalized the components of the programs in the conceptual modelís acronym ARK. We understand that each Standard requires the candidate to Act, Reflect, and Know. Goals for initial teacher preparation in this context are the INTASC standards listed below:

INTASC Standards (Interstate New Teacher Assessment Support Consortium)

Goal 1: The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.
Goal 2: The teacher understands how children learn and develop, and can provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social and personal development.
Goal 3: The teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.
Goal 4: The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage studentsí development of critical thinking, problem solving and performance skills.
Goal 5: The teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
Goal 6: The teacher uses knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
Goal 7: The teacher plans instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.
Goal 8: The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social and physical development of the learner.
Goal 9: The teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.
Goal 10: The teacher fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support studentsí learning and well-being.

Individual undergraduate course syllabi will state the INTASC goals covered in each class in the professional education sequence, including reference to those components of ARK that will be covered. This cross-reference will continue to emphasize to candidates the Unit facultyís commitment to the above Standards as the goals of Minot Stateís Teacher education program. (Appendix)

Program Elements

At Minot State University, the B.S.E. (Bachelor of Science in Education) programs have four main components: a) General Education; b) Required Core, including majors, minors, endorsements, and/or credentials completed in content departments/divisions; c) the Professional Education Sequence, including educational course work and d) field experiences. Additionally, some programs require specific courses within the general education framework as well as prerequisites to required core or professional education courses.

General Education

The set of General Education courses selected by a teacher candidate demonstrate rigor, breadth, and a continuity of learning. Courses in Communications (9SH), History (3SH), Humanities (6SH), Wellness/Personal Development (2SH), Mathematics (4SH), Science (8SH), and Social Science (6SH), complete the Universityís 38 semester-hour General Education requirement. This body of course work builds an in-depth understanding of the subject matter and forms the basis of their knowledge base.

General Education at Minot State University is consistent with the objectives delineated by TEGUís conceptual framework and serves the mission of the University by: introducing methods and disciplines of inquiry, broadening perspectives in humanity and culture, providing an understanding of human heritage, developing higher levels of cognitive abilities, developing communication skills, promoting effective interpersonal relationships, and by offering programs of career development.

Required Core

The second component, Required Core, prepares teacher candidates with a major in their selected discipline that forms the foundation of content knowledge needed for effective teaching. Students who complete elementary education as a major (24 semester hours) may choose to complete a 15 to 17 semester-hour endorsement in Kindergarten or a 10 semester-hour endorsement in Middle School Education. An 8 semester-hour Elementary Reading Credential is also available. In all cases, the Elementary Education B.S.E. Program meets the requirements of the Educational and Standards and Practices Board of North Dakota for either a 1-8 license or a 1-8 elementary-education teaching license with Kindergarten endorsement.

The B.S.E. degrees in Art, Music, and Physical Education lead to a K-12 license in the appropriate field. Programs in special education require that candidates have a second teaching major.

A completed B.S.E. with a secondary teaching major meets the requirements of the Educational and Standards and Practices Board of North Dakota for a 7-12 license in that subject area. The secondary B.S.E. degree can be completed with a teaching major chosen from among twenty-two different academic areas.

Minot State has previously offered a number of teaching minors but these will be limited in the future due to restrictions imposed by ĎNo Child Left Behind.í As NCLB is further modified, teaching minors may be accepted by the ESPB through the use of PRAXIS tests. TEGU will modify its programs as the need arises.

Each content areaís required core meets the standards and guidelines developed by the North Dakota Educational Standards and Practices Board, and their goals are consistent with, and an integral part of, the ís conceptual framework found in its philosophy statement to:

facilitate the enculturation of young people into our democratic society;
nurture studentsí curiosity about the world;
provide access to knowledge;
encourage the development of skills and attitudes necessary for application; and belief statements;
that the education of teachers must consist of a rigorous course of study which includes a broad liberal education, academic subject matter preparation, both general and content;
that the advanced teacher education program must enhance in its candidates the attributes of master teachers: those who possess sufficient and appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes of dedicated, skilled, knowledgeable, and competent professionals.

Professional Education Sequence

The third component of initial programs, the Professional Education sequence is based on established theoretical models that integrate clinical and field experiences to provide the practical application of the conceptual framework taught in the professional education courses. These programs are reflective of the overall goals and objectives of the as well as the mission of the College of Education and Health Sciences and the University. The organizing theme of Teacher as Reflective Decision-Maker as operationalized by the ARK model provides cohesion for the programs. Admission to the program, overall program structure, course syllabi, field experiences, student evaluations, program outcomes, and program assessments are unified by ARK, as students acquire Knowledge, and through Reflection on that Knowledge are able to take effective Action.

The model is implemented by organizing the professional education courses into a natural sequence with each one requiring more advanced Action, Reflection, and Knowledge. Students start the sequence, prior to formal admittance to teacher, by taking Education 201-Introduction to Teaching. This course introduces them to the Theme and Model, provides initial information about teaching as a career, and discusses professional concerns such as school law, professional behavior, and professional organizations. In addition students receive information concerning the INTASC standards that serve as goals for the Unit. They are also introduced to the eight teaching dispositions and how these concepts focus the programís assessment of candidates. The acquired knowledge of learner characteristics is then used as a foundation in the subsequent courses for planning effective, appropriate instruction and evaluation. Prior to admittance, students complete the following coursework:

SPED 110-Introduction to Exceptional Children
PSY 255-Child and Adolescent Psychology or PSY 312-Human Development Adolescence
SS 283- Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in America
ED 310-Foundations of Education
Ed 320- Curriculum, Planning, and Assessment

Once students are formally admitted to Teacher Education they progress through the following course work:

ED 380-Technology in Teaching
Prior to enrolling in ED 380-Technology in Teaching, students must complete BIT 230, CSCI 101, or demonstrate technological competence.
ED 460-Managing the Learning Environment
Ed 470-Teaching Diverse Learners
Methods classes within their disciplines
ED 491,492, 493, 494, or 495- Student Teaching

As part of the professional education sequence, secondary students complete the appropriate content methods course, including the practicum, for their major. B.S.E. students completing secondary majors also complete the required core (major) in their content area. Elementary education majors complete an eight course major that includes MUS 301-Music Methods, HPER 340-Elementary Physical Education Methods and Activities, Ed 352-Foundations of Reading, Ed 421- Elementary Mathematics Methods, Ed 422-Elementary Language Arts Methods, ED 423- Elementary Reading Methods, Ed 424- Elementary Social Studies Methods, and Ed 426-Elementary Science Methods. (Teacher Education Programs)

Candidates are assessed on each of the INTASC standards several times as they complete the teacher education core. They also complete self-assessments at four stages: a) Admission to Teacher Education; b) Application to Student Teaching; c) Completion of Student Teaching; and d) at the end of their first year of teaching. The program culminates when candidates demonstrate their competence through student teaching, a successful evaluation of their performance based upon the INTASC standards, and their demonstrated teaching dispositions on the instrument completed by both the candidate and their student teaching supervisors.

Field Experiences

Field experiences are an integral part of the initial professional education curriculum as delineated by the conceptual frameworkís mission, philosophy, beliefs, goals, and ARK model. The Action component of the ARK model demands teacher candidates implement their knowledge and skills based on their studentsí strengths and needs. University supervisors work jointly with school personnel to ensure field-based settings where students are able to develop professionally as a member of an instructional team. The sequence of field experiences built into each program gives prospective teachers the opportunity to systematically develop increasingly more advanced knowledge and skills as they practice, apply and revise their instruction in a realistic school-based setting. Students first enter the school to complete a shadowing experience (Ed 201), assume greater responsibility as they teach first a lesson and then a unit in their methods classes and then assume full responsibility for the classroom in their student teaching experience. In all cases, university personnel as well as cooperating teachers are available to provide support, guidance, and assistance. As stated in the belief statements of the Unitís conceptual framework, ". . . the education of teachers must include a wide variety of school-based experiences that serve as opportunities for students to apply pedagogical knowledge and reflect on its application."


To meet state and federal calls for alternative routes to licensure, MSU provides a mechanism for B.A. and B.S. graduates to receive licensure without completing a second degree. Students in this program complete pre-approved education and content area coursework agreements that meet North Dakota state standards. This includes a student teaching or mentored clinical teaching experience (See Standard 3.3.4).

Advanced Programs

The advanced programs at Minot State meet the guidelines developed by the North Dakota Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) as they pertain to graduate education:

that the advanced teacher education program must enhance in its candidates the attributes of master teachers: those who possess sufficient knowledge, skills, and attitudes of dedicated, skilled, knowledgeable, and competent professionals

As indicated in the chart showing the Unitís conceptual model the advanced programs also support the same basic philosophy, beliefs, and mission as the initial programs but since each advanced degree is unique in its focus each has adopted a different set of standards to guide their program elements and assessment. The theme of Teacher as Reflective Decision-Maker and the ARK model are used by most of the graduate programs. Some advanced programs have only recently come under the auspices of the Unit and in previous accreditation visits were not reviewed. As a result not all advanced programs have been able to integrate all aspects of the Unitís frameworks into their programs.

Several of the advanced programs at Minot State University meet requirements of their own accreditation bodies and as a result have their own unique objectives and standards. The school psychology program is fully accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and follows standards set by that body. The Master of Science in Communication Disorders is fully accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Master of Music Education candidates follow a program that meets the standards demanded by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Each of these programs requires a prerequisite degree with appropriate specialization and/or certification, and extensive practicum and/or clinical experience that is integrated within the course work leading to completion of the degree.

The Master of Education and the Master of Arts in Teaching degrees were designed as professional development programs to enhance the skills of practicing teachers. The Master of Education candidates follow programs that strive to adhere to the five core propositions of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Each MAT program uses the standards of their particular discipline to guide the programs they offer for teachers who desire to improve their skills through this advanced degree. Mathematics faculty were guided in the development of their program by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and science faculty followed standards set by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

The Master of Science in Special Education leads to state licensure in some of their programs and thus follow the ESPB generated standards that are in sync with standards set by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).