"I have interviewed or worked with St. Ambrose students the last couple of years. Those students who have experience in St. Ambrose's Reading lab have unfailingly been among the most qualified young teachers I've met. In short, they know their stuff and they know how to teach."
–Kent Ryan, Principal at Fillmore Elementary School, Davenport, Iowa
St. Ambrose University Teacher Education Program produces caring, qualified and competent teachers through the coupling of the liberal arts with the professional training of pre-service teachers.
The General Education program at St. Ambrose exposes teacher education candidates to the liberal arts, with the goal being to build candidate recognition of the relationships among general education areas as well as the connection and application of this learning to the field of teaching. In a recent survey, employers agreed that a candidate's demonstrated ability to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their major.
Our candidates will view the general educational program as an opportunity to reflect upon who they are as people and identify issues/subjects that they want to learn more about. We want our candidates to use this program as a chance to follow their hearts and personal interests, to cross disciplinary boundaries and make connections between ideas and concepts taught in different courses as well as forming bonds and connections with other students, faculty, and staff.
The TEP strongly believes candidate development through a liberal arts education is critical to developing highly qualified teachers. The liberal arts curriculum enriches not only the lives of our candidates, but also ultimately enriches the lives of their students. All graduates of the TEP possess a well-rounded, liberal arts education. This is represented as the base.
Pre-service Teaching Standards
In addition to a broad liberal arts curriculum, the TEP has a clearly defined curricular framework used to guide and assess teacher preparation courses and candidates. This is symbolized by moving upward in the figure. Specifically, the TEP has designed this curriculum around Charlotte Danielson's (1996), Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching.
More specifically, the TEP has aligned this curriculum with Danielson's Three Domains of Professional Practice. Danielson's work is also aligned with INTASC. The TEP also uses the Iowa Professional Teaching Dispositions as standards for their education majors.
Moving up the framework are cross-cutting themes. In addition to the proposed claim of producing effective teachers who can demonstrate knowledge of subject matter, knowledge of pedagogy, and the ability to teach in a caring and professional manner, the TEP also addresses three cross-cutting themes. These (cross-cutting themes) include using technology, fostering multicultural understanding, and learning how to learn. These themes are addressed in the TEP candidates' liberal arts education and their professional teacher training.
First, in the theme Technology, TEP candidates are trained to use technology in instruction, administrative tasks, professional web development, and issues in implementing technology in the schools.
Second, in the theme Multicultural Perspectives, TEP candidates are exposed and challenged by the liberal arts curriculum that focuses on the study of a variety of cultures and ways of knowing and thinking through multicultural perspectives. In addition, TEP candidates are required to complete an education course entitled, Diversity and Culturally Responsive Teaching (EDUC 300) for teacher licensure.
In the theme Learning to Learn, TEP candidates engage in the St. Ambrose University liberal arts curriculum that serves as a basis for the search for knowledge in all disciplines and serves as the core of each student's education at St. Ambrose University.
Finally, students who 1) are able to achieve in the liberal arts and TEP curriculum, 2) successfully participate in practicum placements, 3) experience and grow from the many levels of assessment that exist within the program, and 4) develop into a professional educator during the student teaching semester will graduate from the program as "caring, competent and qualified" teachers prepared to teach America's students.
Caring, Competent and Qualified Teachers
The St. Ambrose University Teacher Education Program proposes the claim that it produces competent, caring, and qualified teachers who possess the skills necessary to be effective teachers. It does so though a strong program rooted in practical experience of majors and a strong assessment program that monitors and encourages the professional growth of education majors.