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Louisiana State University

Radical Changes in Teacher Preparation at LSU

Teacher preparation programs at LSU have embraced the challenge to ensure that new teachers are both competent and confident to meet the demands of teaching in today's schools. Rather than simply updating existing courses, College of Education faculty have provided significant leadership in comprehensive program redesign, in collaboration with faculty from the Colleges of Agriculture, Arts and Sciences, Basic Sciences, and local schools. Embodying change in both content and structure, teacher certification programs now are embedded in degree programs in the College of Education (PK-3, 1-6), the College of Arts & Sciences (English, French, history, mathematics, Spanish), and the College of Basic Sciences (biological sciences, chemistry, physics). Positive experiences in providing field-based preservice experiences at area schools, such as Highland Elementary, McKinley Middle, and Sherwood Middle, as well as in implementing the field-based master's level programs (called Holmes after a pioneering teacher educator) have led throughout all programs to the development of content-rich, carefully sequenced, diverse field-based experiences integrally connected with course work. In addition, all programs incorporate performance assessment and comprehensive, electronic portfolios that allow teacher candidates to reflect upon, adapt to, and assess their own development and teaching effectiveness with direct and ongoing assistance from both pedagogy and content-area faculty, public school teachers, and peers.

Early Childhood Grades PK-3
The new PK-3 undergraduate program represents a dramatic shift from two separate but related paths to nursery school/kindergarten add-on certification to one completely integrated, collaborative program designed to prepare PK-3 educators. Teacher candidates move through the program in cohorts, thereby gaining the advantage of close collegial relationships found to be effective for personal and professional development. Students participate in field-based professional blocks and in student teaching in two different professional development school settings: one urban and one rural, one PK-K and one 1-3, as well as a reflective seminar. Thus, instead of discrete courses, the entire program is integrated, with expectations and outcomes threaded throughout the extensive and intensive field-based professional blocks jointly delivered by faculty in both education and human ecology.

Elementary Grades 1-6
The redesigned grades 1-6 program offers two concentrations: (1) four-year teacher certification with a bachelor's degree, and (2) five-year certification leading to the master's degree. Both of these concentrations incorporate field experiences in varied socioeconomic and cultural settings throughout the program, as well as an intensive student teaching semester or year. Each candidate experiences a two-phased practicum in diverse school settings. Modeling a team approach involving mentor teachers in partnership schools, university supervisors, and other faculty, student teaching itself integrates field experience with university work.

Secondary Grades 7-12
A completely new undergraduate 7-12 program replaces the current, relatively traditional undergraduate 7-12 program. Extended discussions among faculty in several colleges resulted in a plan for degree and certification programs offered through the content-area colleges (Arts & Sciences, Basic Sciences) in close partnership with the College of Education. These new routes are designed to address both the quantity and quality issues facing the state and nation by offering certification programs emphasizing improved academic content and effective instructional strategy and by engaging arts and sciences faculty in both student recruitment and program delivery. This model centers on an introductory course that explores contemporary educational issues, followed by a sequence of professional practice seminars carefully integrated into the academic program. Content and pedagogical strands are interwoven throughout the program to ensure candidate understanding of integral relationships between content and pedagogy. Courses are not discrete, but instead reflect integration of pedagogy with content, revolving around close partnerships among faculty across the University and area schools. Students matriculate through the program in cohorts, thus establishing identities as members of learning communities.

Secondary Grades 7-12 Holmes
The secondary 7-12 Holmes Program, a 15-month certification and master's degree program, is tailored to meet the needs of students with content-area bachelor's degrees but with no teacher education background. Candidates spend extended time developing the expertise to enter the teaching profession with an enhanced capacity for leadership. The program features extended experiences in diverse school settings, the support of peers working together in small cohort groups, mentoring by graduate faculty, and the development of teacher-researcher skills.

For additional information about LSU's teacher education programs, please contact:

Patti Exner, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean for Teacher Preparation
Louisiana State University
College of Education
221 Peabody Hall
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Phone: 225/578-2043
Fax: 225/578-2267

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