In 2007 North Carolina developed new teaching standards based on a “new vision of teaching” that reflects 21st century opportunities and challenges. Soon afterwards the state adopted graduate program standards, which expand upon those teaching standards, expecting masters level teachers “to be leaders in their specialty area, to facilitate the creation of healthy educational environments, to have deep knowledge and skills in their content and curriculum, to use research in making decisions about effective practice for student learning, and to be continuous, reflective practitioners who model the values of lifelong learning, critical thinking, problem-solving and innovation” (Standards for Graduate Teacher Candidates, 2009). Elon’s M.Ed. program subscribes to this vision of master teachers and has adopted those standards as its program goals:
Master teachers assume the roles and responsibilities of collaborative leaders in schools and communities. They demonstrate leadership in their classrooms, schools and professional organizations; they advocate for students and effective educational practices and policies; and they are role models for ethical leadership.
Master teachers model leadership by establishing a positive and productive environment for a diverse population of students, their families, and the community. They are knowledgeable about cultures and global issues and how they are contextualized locally. Master teachers help colleagues develop effective strategies for students with special needs.
Master teachers have a deep knowledge of the subjects they teach and understanding of curriculum theory and development. They value collaboration and the interconnectedness of disciplines. They understand the importance of curriculum relevance in engaging students in content.
Master teachers facilitate student learning through evidence-based practice informed by research. They understand and apply research in child and adolescent development, cognitive development, and general and specialized pedagogy. They encourage critical reading, writing and thinking in the learning process. They foster instructional and evaluation methods that embrace variety and authenticity. They promote student reflection and self-assessment. They encourage colleagues and students to take on leadership roles and work in teams.
Master teachers contribute to systematic, critical analysis of learning in their classrooms and beyond. They are lifelong learners who model and support ongoing professional development. Teachers embrace critical thinking, problem solving, and innovation.