English Education Program Philosophy
Education program is designed to produce highly skilled teachers for the profession.
The program provides opportunities for the prospective teacher to become effective
in the classroom, meeting the demands of a challenging and changing educational
environment and satisfying state licensure requirements. We see our program
as a community where students and teachers apply theoretical concepts, practice
strategies and develop teaching approaches. The teacher in this community
uses her knowledge to help support students in becoming critical, conscious
thinkers. The classroom we envision is a community as well as where students
are actively engaged in making knowledge, not merely receiving it. We
promote in our courses this sort of consciousness and activity among students.
We recognize that when students become critical thinkers themselves, they learn
how to nurture critical thinking among students they will teach.
The English Education program is grounded in a thorough preparation in the liberal arts, professional studies, and in specialty courses--all of which form a dynamic collaboration that combines theory and practice, content and skill. Our emphasis on a strong background in liberal arts and in English in particular is supported by many recent recommendations for improving teacher education programs nationally, including the influential 1986 Carnegie Commission report, which calls for a fifth year of professional preparation: "Four years is not enough time to master the subjects to be taught and acquire the skills to teach them. The undergraduate years should be wholly devoted to a broad liberal education and a thorough grounding in the subjects to be taught"(73). The intent of the recommendation is clearly to strengthen the training within subject matter areas and to provide students a broad base from which to develop teaching strategies. Our requirements allow students to acquire that kind of broad knowledge of their subject as well as practice in applying it within a four-year program.