Elon's Teacher Education Program has as its primary mission the development of outstanding teachers. The program prides itself in student-oriented, evidence-based philosophy of teaching, early and continuous field experiences, and national accrediteditation.
The Teacher Education Program advances the university's academic mission through cultivation of directed inquiry, promotion of knowledge of learners and content, and practical engagement in local and global contexts. The Teacher Education mission is deepened through fostering of intellectual reflection, assessing the ability to use knowledge, and creating opportunities to lead change.
The vision of the Teacher Education Program is a projection of its mission and a reflection of The Elon Commitment. The program envisions its teacher candidates as exceptional educators equipped with enduring understandings and skills, such as inquiry, collaboration, flexibility, and cultural responsiveness, which enhance adaptability and effectiveness in the constant flux of the 21st century era. The program also foresees its graduates as globally aware citizens who advocate for equity and excellence and demonstrate a preparedness to teach ALL students.
Our conceptual framework, Active Leadership in a Global Community, outlines processes by which candidates acquire knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions, which result in outcomes necessary for effective teaching.
Effective teachers inquire. They value and use questioning intentionally to stimulate student inquiry and to motivate learning. They use a variety of resources to acquire and critically analyze information to inform instructional decisions. Effective teachers take the initiative to learn about their students and the families and communities in which they live. They use assessment of student learning to reflect upon their classroom practice. They are enthusiastic learners who engage in purposeful inquiry within professional communities. They continually reflect upon personal beliefs and the effectiveness of instructional practices to enhance the learning of all students.
Effective teachers reflect. They self-analyze in a purposeful and critical manner to gain understanding of the root cause and meaning of circumstances. They become aware of the complexity of learning, learners, and their role in student learning using an inquiry-based, meaning-oriented process. They gain a deeper understanding of teaching because of the metacognitive characteristic of intellectual reflection, and consequently, they continually mature professionally. They are able to engage in thoughtful, meaningful practice to encourage learning of all students.
Effective teachers take action. They act on what they know and are able to do as teachers. They seek information and act ethically for equity and excellence in their classroom practice. They prepare to lead responsibly in professional learning communities, on issues of equity, and in matters of global citizenry. They respond appropriately to the constant flux of emergent 21st century skills and expectations. They act to provide all students the opportunities to learn.
Effective teachers are knowledgeable. They know learning theory, disciplinary content, and relevant pedagogy. They are cognizant of the developmental characteristics and diverse learning needs of students and of varying family and community cultures. Included in their knowledge base are an awareness of and an ability to choose instructional strategies, resources (including technology), and assessment procedures that promote learning in diverse students. They create positive learning environments that embrace diversity, act on the belief that all students can learn, and are dedicated to their own development as teachers and learners.
Effective teachers are skillful. They recognize that multi-dimensional abilities are required to be successful in today’s challenging education environment. They know literacy skills encompass far more than reading. Multiple literacies, including digital, visual, and technological, have joined information and media literacy as crucial skills today. Effective teachers know they must think both critically and creatively when engaged in complex problem-solving, and they are able to communicate clearly in a wide variety of ways. They understand the importance of collaboration in promoting trust and building partnerships with all segments of the community. Effective teachers are aware of the importance of basing their practice on well-founded theories and principles of teaching and learning. They are wary of easy solutions and interventions that work “for all students” in their diverse classrooms. They understand the need to look for evidence of efficacy and how to determine if the evidence is trustworthy.
A3: Professional Dispositions
They are intellectually curious, displaying a persistent desire to know and a habit of asking why. They are engaged in educational issues, and they are self-directed, so they are able to set clear goals and manage their time efficiently. They assume responsibility for their own actions and show a concern for the common good. Effective teachers affirm diversity and value difference. They understand that learning is enhanced when students’ cultures are valued, and they are unswerving in their belief that all students can learn. They hold high expectations for academic and social growth of all students and establish positive learning environments to support that growth. To build a community of practice, they interact with colleagues, students, families, and others in the community in an ethical and respectful manner.
O1: Active, engaged learners
Effective teachers seek opportunities to further personal learning and professional growth. They are engaged citizens aspiring to be active school and community leaders, e.g., through service learning, study abroad, student teaching, etc.
O2: Knowledgeable, skillful professionals
Effective teachers act on the belief that all students can learn. They seek to understand students’ families and cultures and collaborate with parents and professional colleagues. They inquire actively and persistently about student learning through a variety of appropriate assessment procedures. Through reflective practice, they analyze the effectiveness of their instruction and make appropriate adaptations to maximize student learning. They establish positive classroom learning environments and set high expectations to support the social and academic growth of all students. They demonstrate enthusiasm and respect for the profession of teaching. They take responsibility for student learning and the improvement of their schools.
O3: Informed, ethical leaders
Effective teachers lead. They lead by demonstrating ethical principles and acting professionally. They advocate for and participate in initiatives and practices that affect positive change in student learning. They lead by contributing to the establishment of a positive classroom and school environment. They ensure that their instructional decisions are adequately informed by data, standards, and a variety of student assessments. They communicate their vision for learning to students, contributing to student empowerment. Most importantly, they lead by taking responsibility for student learning and contributing to the improvement of their schools.
O4: Advocates for equity and excellence
Effective teachers examine the cultural, social, historical, legal, and philosophical foundations of education. They explore the critical issues that impact education in the 21st century, particularly those that result in inequities in educational access and success. They engage in critical self-reflection and raise awareness of the implications of race/ethnicity, class, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, and cognitive and physical differences in providing equal access to learning opportunities. Teacher candidates thus begin to explore their role in advocating for a quality education for all students.
O5: Globally aware citizens
Effective teachers are knowledgeable, yet always inquisitive, about issues of equity, technology, and global citizenry. They understand the needs of diverse student populations, respond appropriately to diverse groups, and provide culturally responsive lessons. They are moving from local to global awareness, grounded in global knowledge. They cultivate the intellectual curiosity, abilities, and knowledge required for lifelong learning as global citizens as they promote global thinking and learning in ALL students.