4a. Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Curriculum and Experiences
4a1. What proficiencies related to diversity are candidates expected to develop and demonstrate?
The mission statements of the University of Wisconsin System, University of Wisconsin Cluster, and the select mission of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater each address the importance of diversity in higher education (see section 1). The Unit’s conceptual framework states that candidates should be committed to educating all pupils and be able to work effectively with diversity in colleagues, students, parents, and concepts; that programs in teacher preparation foster continual analysis and reflection among its candidates for facilitating appropriate learning environments for diverse learners and for promoting values of self-worth and dignity for all learners. Students are also expected to be proficient in disposition 7 – “demonstrates equitable treatment and respect for all individuals.” The university and unit believes that diversity is more than a slogan; it is a way of accurately reflecting the existing world/reality. Because of this, each licensure program area is expected to address and assess diversity in multiple ways throughout its required coursework. In addition, because UWW is a completely accessible campus - one of the top ten most accessible campuses in the country - we have a large number of students with disabilities on campus. Students are used to working with “difference” in multiple contexts creating an atmosphere of acceptance and education in every program.
4a2. What required coursework and experiences enable teacher candidates and candidates for other professional school roles to adapt instruction to different learning styles, connect instruction or services to students’ experiences and cultures, communicate with students and families in culturally sensitive ways, incorporate multiple perspectives into teaching, develop a classroom and school climate that values diversity, demonstrates behaviors consistent with the ideas of fairness and the belief all students can learn?
All teacher education programs in Wisconsin must demonstrate how preservice teachers have met nine specific human relations code points. These are detailed in PI 34.15 and a chart detailing how courses in each of the unit’s licensure programs (initial and advanced) are meeting them can be found here. The human relations code points include the following areas:
- The history, cultures & tribal sovereignty of American Indian tribes & bands located in Wisconsin
- The history, culture & contributions of women and various racial, cultural, language & economic groups in the United States.
- The philosophical and psychological bases of attitude development & change.
- The psychological and social implications of discrimination, especially racism & sexism in American Society.
- Evaluating & assessing the forces of discrimination, especially racism & sexism on faculty, students, curriculum, instruction & assessment in the school program
- Minority group relations through direct involvement with various racial, cultural, language & economic development
- Resolving conflict between pupils & school staff
- Assisting pupils in learning methods of resolving conflicts between pupils & between pupils and staff, including training in the use of peer mediation to resolve conflicts between pupils.
- Dealing with crises, including violent, disruptive, potentially violent or potentially disruptive situations that may arise in school or activities supervised by school staff as a result of conflicts between pupils or between pupils and other persons.
Each of the unit’s licensure programs address diversity throughout its curriculum. For example, all initial licensure programs require students to take the Foundations Block (or equivalent coursework) as a first step in the program. Within the Foundations Block, the candidate enrolls in a course entitled “EDFOUND 243:Foundations of Education in a Pluralistic Society” and either child development (elementary) or in an educational psychology (secondary) course. Additionally, the candidate spends a minimum of 50 clock hours in a school setting that serves a diverse population. EDFOUND 243 is designed to prepare students to teach in settings with diverse student populations. Attention is directed to major education issues, the experiences of students from diverse backgrounds and the role of the teacher in a pluralistic society. Through an emphasis on historical, cultural and sociological perspectives, students begin to understand how issues of diversity help shape the educational experiences of different groups of Americans. Students also complete their Phase 2 Portfolio during the Foundations Block and must have at least one artifact pertaining to WTS 3 in it.
Every licensure program has specific commitments to diversity. For example, student teacher candidates in the Physical Education licensure program are required to complete a course specific to teaching students who are differentially-abled. Currently, students must choose either PREPROF 475/675 Adaptive Physical Education or PREPROF 478/678 Physical Education for the Exceptional Child. In addition to this requirement, students may select to add on the 15 unit Adaptive Physical Education License. This licensure is offered collaboratively between the HPRC and SPED departments. An additional course, PREPROF 490/690 Workshop: Activities from A to Z Inclusion in Physical Education may be taken by anyone interested in the topic.
Advanced programs address diversity in their curriculum in a variety of ways. For instance, Counselor Education requires “COUNSED 741: Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling” that provides students with a foundational knowledge and competency base for working effectively with socially and culturally diverse clientele. Students in Communication Sciences work with diverse client populations (age, gender, race, culture, geographic and economic) and in diverse settings (schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.). They must possess knowledge and skills for working with people with communication and swallowing disorders, including consideration of anatomical/physiological, psychological, developmental, and linguistic and cultural correlates of the disorders. All students, in all programs (initial and advanced) must prepare a multi-phase portfolio that assesses competency in WTS 3. Advanced programs also have additional diversity competencies woven into their program through their external accreditation agencies.
4a3. What data from key assessments indicate that candidates demonstrate proficiencies related to diversity, including English language learners and students with exceptionalities?
Specific measures of candidate proficiency related to diversity can be found in the following data:
- portfolio scores related to WTS 3 (The teacher understands how pupils differ in their approaches to learning and the barriers that impede learning and can adapt instruction to meet the diverse needs of pupils, including those with disabilities and exceptionalities)
- alumni and employer survey question 4 (How well prepared were you/are they to teach students from diverse backgrounds?)
- dispositions inventory section 7 (demonstrates equitable treatment and respect for all individuals).
- Cooperating teacher and supervisor assessments of preservice candidates during student teaching semester.
Data show that candidates perform well on assessments pertaining to diversity. Portfolio scores from 2002-2006 indicate a mean score of 2.67, 2.83 and 3.18 on WTS 3 artifacts for phases 2, 3 and 4 portfolios (on a 0 to 4 scale). An alumni and employer survey ANOVA indicates no significant difference on question 4 and mean ratings of 3.44 (employer) and 3.53 (alumni) on this question. A sample of cooperating teacher final evaluations utilized in the Curriculum and Instruction Department’s programs indicate mean scores of 3.35 to 3.36 (on a 0 to 4 scale) for all five questions related to diversity. This is between the “Proficient” and “Advanced” level. (Please see support data for question 4a3).
4a4. What differences, if any, exist in the ways candidates develop and demonstrate their proficiencies related to diversity in programs for other school professionals, off-campus programs, and distance learning programs?
There are few differences between initial and advanced programs for other school professionals in the way candidates demonstrate their proficiencies related to diversity in their programs (we have no off campus nor distance learning programs for initial educators). Every program relies on the WTS or their specialty organization standards (or a combination of both) to assess candidate proficiencies in this area. All students take a combination of coursework, prepare assessment portfolios and are observed in clinical practice. This is detailed in each national program report.