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MSU Teacher Education Unit (TEU)

A. Design, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum and experiences

MSU and the Teacher Education Unit (TEU) embrace the broad concept of diversity articulated by NCATE and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Diversity refers to "differences among groups of people and individuals based on ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation, and geographical area" (NCATE Professional Standards for the Accreditation of Schools, Colleges, and Departments of Education, 2002, p. 53) and "differences in the ideas, viewpoints, perspectives, values, religious beliefs, backgrounds [...] of those who attend and work in the organizations" that make up the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (Commission Statement on Diversity, February 21, 2003).

MSU recognizes, promotes, and supports an awareness and appreciation of diversity on campus. The universityís Diversity Committee fosters an awareness of diversity in both campus and classroom environments and works to expand diversity opportunities for both faculty and students. During the past academic year, the Diversity Committee brought forward to Faculty Senate a plan for including a diversity component in the general education requirements for all undergraduate degree programs. That plan was adopted in spring semester of 2006. Candidates in the unitís advanced programs are expected to develop an understanding of and appreciation for diversity, especially as encountered in the school setting. Issues relating to diversity are addressed in curriculum, instruction, field experiences and evaluations. A primary goal of the unitís advanced programs is to facilitate the growth of candidatesí knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will enable them to meet the diverse learning needs of all students.

Coursework relating to diversity is required of candidates in all of the unitís advanced programs. Prior to the NCATE visit in 2004 there was no curriculum addressing diversity issues in either the MAT: Math or MAT: Science program. Since that visit the MAT: Science program has been changed to require Ed 519 - Diversity in a Global Perspective, a required core-course in the MEd program. Candidates in the MAT: Math program are required to take Math 511 - Current Trends in the Teaching of Mathematics. Math 511 has been changed to encompass a dual focus on diversity and on issues relating to the teaching of mathematics. The MS in Education of the Deaf, the MS in Communication Disorders, the MME, and the Education Specialist in School Psychology programs are nationally accredited. Each programís curriculum contains diversity components that satisfy the requirements of its respective accrediting organization. Candidates in the MS in Special Education and MS in Communication Disorder programs address diversity as it relates to students with exceptionalities. NASM, the accrediting body for the MME degree program, is in the process of rewriting its standards and requirements for program accreditation. In anticipation of possible new requirements in the area of diversity, the MSU Division of Music has begun to examine its MME requirements in that area. Currently the MME uses Ed 519, the required diversity course for the MEd program, as an elective course. Consideration is being given to making the Ed 519 course a requirement for completion of the MME. Within the next two years the decision should be made concerning this proposed change.

Within the required courses candidates discuss their experiences working with diverse students in their school settings. They also address diversity issues relating to student learning, especially with regard to factors that include ethnicity, gender, language, socio-economic status, race, religion, and exceptionalities.

Ed 519 - Globalization and Diversity in Education: Candidates in the MEd and MAT: Science programs are all required to take this course. It provides candidates the opportunity to study global and multicultural education; to examine curriculum and pedagogy from the perspective that all students, regardless of the diversity of the groups to which they belong, should be ensured educational equity in school; and to gain experience with models for making appropriate choices in curriculum and instruction.

Math 511 - Trends in Mathematics Education: All candidates in the MAT: Mathematics program must take this required core course. Diversity issues are examined throughout the course, especially as they impact the teaching of mathematics to students who differ in gender, ethnicity, race, language, socio-economic status, and exceptionality.

Mus 530 - Elementary and Secondary General Music Programs: All candidates in the MME degree program are required to take this course. Course curriculum includes examination of diversity issues in the school setting.

Ed 535 - Models of Teaching and Learning: This is a core course in the MEd program and is required for all candidates in that program. The curriculum for Ed 535 specifically addresses the learning of science from a viewpoint of diversity.

Candidates enrolled in Ed 519 during either spring or summer semester of 2006 were required to research a diversity topic and teach it to the class. Project requirements included reading current professional books on the topic, reading educational research articles related to the topic, finding web resources for classmatesí use, finding information regarding characteristics and demographics, and exploring approaches in the classroom that are linked to the diversity topic. Candidates in this course also were required to write several lesson/unit plans that utilize or address aspects of global education. These lesson/unit plans were to include a description of the diversity of the students in the candidatesí classrooms and a reflection that includes how they think the lesson/unit plan will work with their "real" students. The development of the lesson/unit plan is considered a "field experience" for candidates as the assignment requires them to use their current or most recent class of students as their "classroom" for planning using methods of Multicultural and Global Education, lessons using Differentiated Instruction and Learning Styles, and lessons that incorporated many other components of effective programs for diverse learners.

Candidates enrolled in Math 511 during spring semester 2006 were required to develop and teach a lesson that included multicultural elements and write a reflection paper about the experience. Included in the reflection were information about student response to the lesson, candidate views on the effectiveness of the lesson and its value, and candidate views concerning future implementation of the lesson. Candidates were also required to do a diversity practicum utilizing students in their classes. As part of the practicum candidates were required to submit a diversity profile of the students in their classes and in their schools. The second element of the practicum required the candidates to identify specific methods or practices that they employ to meet the learning needs of the diverse students in their classes and write a reflection on their effectiveness. The third element of the practicum was to examine the effect of cultural diversity, or the lack of it, on the learning of their students. As part of this element of the assignment, candidates were required to have a conversation with a classmate who teaches in a school that has a significantly different student diversity profile than that of the school where they teach. The focus of the conversation was to identify how the practices or methods identified in element two of the assignment might need to be adapted in the other personís classes or school. Reflections written by candidates concerning the diversity practicum indicated increased awareness of student diversity in their classes. Candidates also expressed their need to re-examine their teaching practices and alter them in accordance with what they had learned about meeting the learning needs of diverse students.

Candidates enrolled in Mus 530 read and discuss literature addressing diversity issues in the school setting, especially as it pertains to the music curriculum. Additionally candidates have the option of selecting a diversity issue as the topic for the final paper in that course.

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