Research Supports this Mission


Rich, Multicultural Experiences.
According to Lynch and Hanson (1998) understanding of cultural beliefs and behavior changes, because culture is not static. Cultural beliefs, language, economic status and degree of acculturation are continually influenced by sociopolitical boundaries and changing demographics. One of the important goals of multicultural education is to help all students to acquire the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to function effectively in a pluralistic democratic society and to interact, negotiate and communicate with peoples from diverse groups in order to create a civic and moral community that works for the common good (Banks, 1995). Based upon an examination of research related to the effects of multicultural education, an important implication that Banks notes “is that teachers must be provided with training and opportunities that will enable them to examine their feelings, attitudes and values and helped to develop attitudes consistent with a democratic society” (1995).

Opportunities for Experimentation within Classrooms.
Experimentation implies movement away from students merely functioning as passive recipients of information. At the core of the active learning argument is the idea that the students must act on information in particular ways in order to “make what they learn a part of themselves” (Cerbin, 1995, p.1). Active learning may be created through the application of collaborative and cooperative learning strategies. According to Gerlach (1994), effective collaborative strategies involve the teacher becoming a task setter, classroom manager and synthesizer. While collaborative learner activities vary widely, they are all centered on the students’ processes of investigation, discovery and application, not the teacher’s presentation (Smith & MacGregor, 1992). Knowledge and skills are of little use if a student cannot apply them in cooperative interactions with others. Smith (1985) believes the use of cooperative learning approximates more closely the activity of real world employment, found within many of the practicum offerings.

 

 Links

 
  
Conceptual Framework Home
Research
Framework
Framework Table
Wisconsin Teaching Standards

Understanding of Educational Pedagogy and Knowledge of Current Views of Educational Practices.
We have long been aware of the importance of interaction between students and students and teacher in learning experiences. Dewey (1902) placed the learner at the center of the learning process and indicated the greater the depth of interaction with others the better the learning, and thus the experience. A synthesis of the literature on pedagogy and educational practices supports the following classroom strategies: 1) Allow students to write and discuss what they are learning; 2) Encourage teacher/student contact inside and outside the classroom; 3) Have students working with others on substantive tasks inside and outside of class; 4) Give prompt and frequent feedback to students; 5) Communicate high expectations; 6) Make standards and grading criteria explicit; 7) Help students achieve to their highest ability; 8) Respect diverse talents and ways of learning; 9) Motivate through posed problems, questions, means of inquiry, rather than merely content coverage; 10) Focus on assignments and help students successfully complete assignments (Astin 1985; Bonwell & Eison, 1991; Chickering &Gamson, 1987; Drummond, 1997; Erickson, 1984; Frost, 1991; Kurfiss, 1987; Light, 1992; McKeachie, 1986; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Penrose, 1992.)

In 1987,Chickering & Gamson presented their widely accepted Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education for use in teaching and learning environments on campuses across the country. The Education Commission of the States (ECS) through the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE) expanded on these principles in developing the “ECS Dozen” (AAHE, 1996). The “ECS Dozen” is based on extensive research conducted in response to changing student needs. There is strong evidence indicating that colleges and universities systematically engaging in the employment of these practices demonstrating improved student performance and satisfaction (AAHE, 1996).

Becoming Reflective Practitioners Capable of Assuming Roles of Leadership.
It has been said that all teachers, formally or informally, engage in the process of reflection. Specifically, reflection-in-action, reflection-of-action, and reflection-on-practice (Schon, 1983, 1987). Any type of reflection on practice, pedagogy and process allows for teachers to continue to learn and grow as professionals and as people. This reflection may be purposeful or incidental but is typically ongoing and powerful. Ideally, reflection-on-action is a shared process that presents an opportunity for discussion of practice with peers. If reflection is a normal process for teachers, we need to teach pre-professionals to reflect critically on their teaching to continue to grow and learn about self, their students and the teaching profession. Brookfield (1995) believes many teachers fail to reflect critically on their teaching practices, not because of a lack of sincerity or a strong sense of purpose, but because they fail to fully understand the effect of their actions on their students. Critically reflective teachers regularly inquire into how students are perceiving the learning environment (Brookfield, 1995).

PEP Enabling Students to Meet World Class Standards.
Wisconsin Model Academic Standards, which align with discipline-specific national standards, form a framework for content and pedagogical study within each certification area in UWSP Professional Education Programs. These standards are used in the creation of classroom lesson plans, consideration of appropriate learning strategies, examination of current discipline-specific research and practicum and student teaching experiences. See http://dpi.wi.gov/tepdl/standards.html.

PEP Using Advanced Concepts of Technology.
Understanding the most effective use of distance education continues to evolve with its on-going usage. Many schools currently are using technology as an aide to accomplishing traditional prescriptive approaches. As we progress toward maturity with these new tools, a more constructivist approach involving collaboration, authentic methodologies and the development of higher level thinking skill development and problem solving is emerging through careful attention to broad ranging assessment technique. Researchers such as Hawkes (1996), Rowland et. al.(1996) emphasize the evaluation of program components by the faculty and students in order to determine further refinement and development. Therefore, the Professional Education Program makes alterations to their courses using varying distance education technologies.

Vision of the Professional Engaging in Life-long Learning, Professional Development and Personal Growth.
Every person is a product of his/her life experiences. These life experiences play heavily in shaping and determining an individual style of teaching. Developmental psychology, cognitive psychology and motivation research have been examined to better understand forces that shape development of a preferred style of teaching (Bain, 1998; Shrank, 1998). Not surprisingly, professional development training and practices are more beneficial for people with a high self-esteem (Riordan, 1993; Lindley, 1993; Kalivoda, 1995; and Showers, Joyce and Bennett, 1987). In many cases, much of what we learn is incidental through either observation and/or trial and error, making it difficult to describe, understand and/or appreciate (Marsick & Watkins, 1990).

A great deal of research has been done to better understand conditions essential for the successful implementation of any professional development plan or strategy for improvement of teaching practices. (Borko & Putnam, 1995; Hargreaves & Dawes, 1989; Kahn, 1993; Eraut, 1994; Schon, 1983, 1987; Brookfield, 1995; Shulman, 1993; Smylie, 1995; Guskey, 1995; Harnish & Wild, 1994; Quinlan, 1995; Zeichner, 1993.)