Department Chair: Assistant Professor Monica McEnerny
The Education Department offers both graduate and undergraduate programs. The undergraduate program leads to licensure in Elementary Education or Secondary Education. All students may also add a Special Education Endorsement and students seeking Secondary Licensure may add a Middle Grades Endorsement.
The department has a long-standing commitment to the liberal education of teachers. The undergraduate program complements and integrates the liberal arts and sciences with a professional course sequence; all undergraduates wishing to become teachers must complete a liberal arts or science major as well as complete the requirements for one of the three education licensure sequences below. In addition, each student choosing to become a teacher is responsible for developing a portfolio. The portfolio is built during all semesters of the undergraduate experience. It will demonstrate individual learning and growth as well as how individual course work and field experiences work together to foster proficiency in meeting Vermont State regulations and standards.
The Education Department faculty hold high expectations for their students. As a result of the teacher education program, students are expected to meet a variety of goals: an ability to demonstrate knowledge of teaching and learning processes, classroom planning and management strategies, working effectively with all students in inclusive classrooms, and appropriate assessment procedures. As a result of the liberal arts major and core requirements, students will also be expected to demonstrate depth of understanding in the liberal arts and sciences of their choosing.
Courses within the department and field experiences in the local schools focus on the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to be successful in the contemporary school system. Classroom discussions and interactions among students foster group problem solving and individual reflection. Beyond the classroom, the department fosters a supportive and reflective climate through advising and sponsorship of student organizations.
Field clinical experiences are those in which the student becomes involved in a collaborative relationship in a school and/or community environment. They are an integral part of all programs. In the schools the student is expected to develop and play a variety of important roles: observer, helper, tutor, and ultimately teacher. The role becomes more complex as students advance in their program, which culminates in a semester long student teaching experience. A minimum of 80 scheduled hours of field experience is required prior to student teaching.
Teaching in the elementary and secondary schools requires a strong liberal arts background. At Castleton, students can develop their knowledge of the liberal arts disciplines through the general education requirements that pertain to all programs. In addition,
elementary education majors must either possess or develop strong content knowledge across the four critical liberal arts areas addressed in the elementary classroom: English, history/social studies, mathematics, and science.
The Education Department collaborates with liberal arts and local K-12 faculty to offer an innovative program for prospective teachers. Opportunities for deep study in education occur in Inquiry I early in the students' educational career and then again in Inquiry II. Inquiry I introduces students to pedagogical practice and theory, as well as to the electronic Portfolio process that they will use throughout their program to record and assess their progress toward the goal of achieving teacher licensure. Inquiry II is devoted to honing pedagogical expertise through previously acquired content knowledge with extended opportunities both to work in local schools with teachers and to meet and discuss theory and practice in site-based seminars. The final semester is devoted to a full-time internship in the classroom. Along the way, liberal arts lab courses and education workshops will keep prospective teachers connected to the public schools. Between Inquiry I in the first year and Inquiry II in the semester leading up to student teaching, gateways will be used to assess teacher candidate progress through the program.
Inquiry I requires that students register for:
EDU 1000 introduces students not only to the knowledge base (foundations, curriculum, special education, assessment, and literacy.) that define the profession, but also the set of skills and dispositions (collaboration, reflection, inquiry, service learning, and advocacy.) required of teachers. In EDU 1100 , students will use state standards, electronic portfolios and technology to enhance teaching and learning. The purpose of Inquiry I is to foster a developing awareness of teaching and learning that will be encouraged and deepened across subsequent experiences.
Upon completion of Inquiry I, students must satisfy the requirements of Gateway I:
- receive a positive recommendation encouraging continuation in the program;
- earn a cumulative GPA of 2.75;
- select education and liberal arts faculty advisors;
- identify a liberal arts major;
- make progress toward completion of General Education Program;
- pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills Test for Educators or meet the alternative requirements.
Learning and Professional Knowledge
Following completion of Gateway I, the program's emphasis will be on completing the requirements of a liberal arts major as well as the general education requirements. Additionally, during these semesters, prospective teachers will complete the required number of labs in pedagogy associated with liberal arts courses and select from the optional educational workshops.
Students will also be required to take one of the following courses: 3 cr
Liberal Arts Courses with Labs in Pedagogy
The pedagogy lab experiences are one-credit courses connected to selected liberal arts courses. The labs provide prospective teachers with a series of opportunities to develop pedagogical content knowledge expected of exemplary teachers. Prospective teachers will complete a minimum of five liberal arts lab credits during this experience. Students seeking Secondary Licensure must complete at least four lab credits in subjects directly related to their liberal arts major. Students seeking Elementary Licensure must complete one lab course each in science, history, geography, English, and the fine arts. Additionally education workshops are available through the Center for Schools.
Prospective teachers will continue to build their electronic portfolios by providing evidence that demonstrates their understanding of the central connections between content and pedagogy.
Upon completion of general education requirements, a liberal arts major and pedagogical labs, students must satisfy the requirements of Gateway II :
- pass the first portion of their electronic portfolio
- earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in education, including a 3.0 in their liberal arts major and a 3.0 in their liberal arts labs and optional education workshops;
- pass PRAXIS II
- receive a recommendation from members of their education and liberal arts faculty team to continue in the teacher education program
Students who have passed through Gateway II are prepared to enroll in the final experience, Inquiry II, of their education major. Students register for the following courses over a two semester period.
Inquiry II is a year-long immersion opportunity, dedicated to further connecting classroom, lab and workshop learning to the authentic experience of teachers in schools.
Students will take EDU 4710, Education Theory and Practice, in the semester before they undertake student teaching. This course will broaden and deepen the prospective teacher's understanding of teaching philosophies, theories, and practices. Prospective teachers will reconsider their curriculum thus far while they work
- to extend their knowledge in the areas of literacy, learning theory, and inclusion; curriculum, instruction, and assessment; diversity, social justice, and service learning;
- to extend their skills, including reflection, inquiry, and action research; collaboration within the wider school community; classroom leadership; and c) to strengthen the professional dispositions required of excellent teachers. Prospective teachers will continue to work on their electronic portfolios, practice reflective and analytical writing, and heighten their commitment to the enterprise of teaching and learning. Students should expect to spend 180 hours in the field and an additional 120 hours in university classrooms.
During the final semester, interns registered for EDU 4871 and EDU 4872 will work full time in the local school setting with a mentor teacher alongside of colleagues from their Education and Liberal Arts program. EDU 4720 , the Student Teaching Seminar will provide interns with a weekly opportunity to debrief that work as well as progress toward successful passage through the final gateway, licensure. In addition to the requirements for state licensure, students must earn a "meets standards" on the portfolio.
To be recommended for licensure the student must:
- Complete all university and departmental course requirements.
- Pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills Test for Educators and the Praxis II examination.
- Exemplify in conduct and attitude the maturity, judgment, ethical standards, and dedication expected in the teaching profession.
- Receive a grade of "B" or better in EDU 4871 , EDU 4872 and a "Pass in EDU 4720 .
- Complete all coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.0 in Education courses.
NOTE: A student may be advised to discontinue the student teaching experience at any time, if, in the professional judgment of the university supervisor, the director of field experience and cooperating teacher, the student does not possess the attitudes and competencies noted above.
For more information please visit our website at www.castleton.edu/Education/Index.htm