Standard 4 COE Accreditation/Self-Study Report Home Overview Conceptual Framework Standard 1 Standard 2 Standard 3 Standard 4 Standard 5 Standard 6 Exhibits
 

4d. Experiences Working with Diverse Students in P-12 Schools

4d.1. How does the unit ensure that candidates develop and practice knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions related to diversity during their field experiences and clinical practice?

The unit ensures that candidates develop and practice knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions related to diversity primarily in two ways (Std4d.Exh11). First, the unit focuses on providing candidates opportunities for field placements with diverse student populations. Elementary and Early Childhood Education candidates participate in multiple field experiences during foundational course work in settings that are different from the internship. MAT candidates are placed in two different schools during their internship year. In addition, Department of Teaching and Learning initial candidates receive the opportunity to participate in a rural field experience during the internship year. Candidates in Counselor Education must document experiences with ethnically diverse students. In addition, the opportunity to work with special populations is a criterion for internship site selection.

The second way the unit ensures that candidates develop and practice knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions related to diversity is by including a diversity component in the field experience key assessments and companion scoring guides. Initial candidates in the Department of Teaching and Learning conduct a school/community study that requires them to examine the socio-cultural context and reflect on culturally responsive teaching practices, design and teach lesson and unit plans that show their ability to use differentiation strategies and develop learning activities that consider student diversity, and demonstrate in consistent practice throughout the year-long internship their ability to teach students with respect for their individual and cultural characteristics. Other candidates in the Counseling and Special Education Department and the Educational Leadership Department have field experience assignments and scoring guides that address diversity as well. These include such key assessments as comprehensive intervention projects, family-based experience service projects, IEPs, and portfolios. Disposition checklists and internship evaluation forms also document the candidate’s ability to respect individual and cultural characteristics in consistent practice throughout the internship experience(s) as teachers, counselors, and school leaders.

4d.2. How diverse are the P-12 students in the settings in which candidates participate in field experiences and clinical practice?

Table 10
Demographics on Sites for Clinical Practice in Initial and Advanced Programs

4d.3. How does the unit ensure that candidates use feedback from peers and supervisors to reflect on their skills in working with students from diverse groups?

The unit requires all courses to address diversity, as reflected in the syllabi faculty submitted for unit approval. These syllabi include the methods by which candidates may receive feedback from peers and reflect on their skills in working with students from diverse groups. Focused discussion boards, candidate- or faculty-led class discussions, candidate presentations, and reflective journals and essays are methods frequently used by faculty. In addition, all initial and advanced teacher programs and school counseling require one or more courses that have diversity as the central focus. In these courses, debates, small group discussions of case studies and classroom scenarios, and group projects allow candidates to use peer feedback to reflect on issues of diversity. Finally, all internships require a seminar in which candidates discuss internship experiences that reflect their theoretical and practical knowledge and skills related to diversity.

As noted in transition points, the unit ensures that candidates use feedback from supervisors to reflect on their skills in working with students from diverse groups by requiring a minimum of two internship evaluations, which include debriefing conferences. Initial candidates in the Department of Teaching and Learning are assessed a minimum of 4 times over a 1-year period regarding their ability to teach students with respect for their individual and cultural characteristics. Other initial and advanced teacher candidates are formally assessed at least twice during the internship experiences. The supervisors include both the school-based mentors and the university faculty. The principal preparation programs have recently begun using a survey that requires the candidate, one colleague, and the university supervisor to assess specific standards, including several with diversity components, multiple times. Feedback from multiple supervisors and at multiple points ensures that candidates reflect on their skills.

Optional

1. What does your unit do particularly well related to Standard 4?

The College of Education has received two US Department of Education Teacher Quality Enhancement grants over the past decade. These partnership grants have fostered ongoing interaction between the unit and school districts in Alaska. Both grants have focused heavily on connecting rural and urban Alaskan educators around a shared commitment to student achievement. Rural schools have hosted candidates and faculty members. These visits are designed to enrich the experiences of the individuals, inform programs, and expand understanding of the larger context of Alaskan education. Five 2009 graduates from initial teacher preparation programs have sought and accepted jobs in rural Alaska, partly as a result of their rural experiences. All say the experience has positively influenced their view toward culturally responsive practice.

The current grant, the Alaska Educational Innovations Network, includes 22 schools from 9 high needs districts around the state, serving more than 50% of Alaska’s K-12 students. School and University partners work together to improve student achievement through networked learning and professional development. Culturally responsive practice is an ongoing emphasis of the partnership work, including both school and University partners in examining practice and programs.

2. What research related to Standard 4 is being conducted by the unit or its faculty?

As shown in the below matrix, unit faculty are engaged in a number of scholarly activities related to diversity.


Area of Diversity

Specific Research Focus

Special Education

  • Teaching strategies for students diagnosed with FAS
  • Literature review of national trends in psychiatric medication “extent of use” and comparison to Alaska trends
  • Supervisory needs of school counselors working with indigenous students receiving special education
  • Social & cognitive profiling of boys with ADHD
  • Creative classroom structures for students with autism

Language Acquisition with Focus on Alaska Native Languages

  • Teachers’ perceptions of their roles in AK Native Language Immersion Schools
  • Language Immersion Network
  • Designing/implementing E-live Alaska Native Language Education Program

School Improvement in High Needs Schools

  • Alaska Educational Innovations Network – site-based professional development
  • Regular classroom teacher strategies for inclusion of student diagnosed with FAS
  • Developing literacy for students diagnosed with FAS

Culturally Responsive Practice

  • Intercultural field experience in rural Alaska
  • Professional development for culturally responsive teaching

Alaska Native Education

  • Alaska Native Education & Colonization
  • Beyond the Traditional & Assimilation Models of Alaska Native Education
  • Curriculum for Alaska Native Education