NCATE Standard 4 Report
At Grambling State University the Unit practices concepts and principles to design powerful and effective learning experiences for candidates and PK-12 students. The Unit strives to improve the impact of curriculum and instruction by helping candidates work effectively with all students, including individuals of different ethnicities, races, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities, languages, religions, sexual orientations, and/or geographical areas (Exhibit 4.4.e.1). Candidates have opportunities to experience these factors as they work on committees and education projects related to education and content areas. Faculty design teaching and learning activities, lesson plans, and curriculum units that use concepts and principles of culturally responsive pedagogy. Candidates, initial and advanced, are expected to develop and demonstrate various proficiencies related to diversity. The diversity of initial and advanced candidates is reflected in the Conceptual Framework (Exhibit 1.5.c.1). The unit provides candidates a living and learning environment which nurtures their development for leadership in academics, athletics, campus governance, and in their future pursuits.
Hence, a teaching and learning framework is used, modified, and adjusted to better meet candidates essential characteristics, strengths, interests, readiness levels, needs, prior knowledge, experiences, and profiles. The Unit recognizes that today's society is much more technology-driven, information saturated, faster-paced, global, multicultural, consumer-oriented and pluralistic in its viewpoints and ideas. As such society demands a greater capacity to adapt to change than was the case in past generations. In order to thrive in such a society, the Unit understands that candidates need to be connected to a large network of ideas, experiences, people, and support systems.One such support system is a common prayer session for all candidates to learn tolerance and accept each other (Exhibit 4.4.b.8).
The diversity proficiencies are clearly articulated in the outcomes of the Conceptual Framework.(Exhibit 1.5.c.1a) They are: describe diverse strategies for interrelating disciplines in the instructional process; identify technology infusion strategies for diverse populations; demonstrate the use of diverse experiences that incorporate the underlying philosophy of education that is multicultural across the curriculum; apply strategies that accommodate diverse learner needs by selecting and using appropriate resources; analyze research that relates to strategies for promoting effective teaching and learning in a global society; demonstrate an awareness of the social, cultural, political, economic, and comparative contexts of schools and learners; display positive self-concept development and respect for others ; display sensitivity to diverse learning styles and multiple intelligences; and demonstrate sensitivity to the many facets of diversity. Furthermore, the Unit prepares candidates at the advanced level to take roles of leadership in highly diverse educational settings. The Unit provides curricular experiences for the development of proficiencies "to help all students reach their full potential" which is a commitment outlined in GSU's mission statement as well as the Conceptual Framework (Exhibit 1.5.c.2).
For initial programs, an awareness of the importance of diversity in teaching and learning is infused throughout the curriculum to expose candidates to curricular experiences designed to prepare them effectively to meet the issues of a diverse society of the 21st century. Teaching diverse learners in uniquely small class arrangements where close attention is provided to meet learner needs is one aspect which makes our program unique. The Unit recognizes that students in today's classrooms pose a wide range of diverse learning needs that teachers must be prepared to address, adapt instruction and/or services for diverse populations, including linguistically and culturally diverse students and students with exceptionalities. Part of this process is learning how to understand and reach out to children who have a wide range of life experiences, behaviors, beliefs about themselves and what school means to them. Diversity is a critical component in the placement of candidates in field experiences by requiring coursework and creating experiences that enable candidates to develop diversity proficiencies. Field and clinical experiences afford candidates opportunities to apply understandings about diversity in a variety of settings (Ex. 3.4.b.2). Furthermore, professional development opportunities such as research symposia are implemented annually to enhance cultural responsiveness, instructional skills and contributions to the professional knowledge base. In addition, Grambling State University promotes diversity through the Center for International Programs Exhibit 4.4.a.4 (http://www.gram.edu/life/studentlife/ciap/about.php) in which teacher candidates are actively involved.
The professional development foundation courses in the primary teacher preparation programs provide much of the knowledge base and dispositions for understanding and valuing diversity and adapting instruction. The courses taught indicate the concept of diversity as infused throughout the curriculum; the process begins at 100- level and the 200- level, developed and emphasized at the 300- level and mastered and applied at the 400-level coursework. ED 162, Introduction to Teaching addresses equity issues in American public schools, as well as field work that focus on observing and identifying various learning styles and instructional strategies. Candidates have the opportunity to become reflective decision-makers, tap into prior and present experiences, and make concrete applications in their professional practice. Awareness of the influence of diverse contexts is introduced early in ED 200 Human Growth and Development (Exhibit 2.2.b.1) and the emphasis increases as students advance in the program. ED 200 introduces social-cultural differences related to ethnic background, language, and gender as well as exceptionalities and learning differences. Candidates explore human development from a multicultural perspective and connect and integrate knowledge and experience of human development across cultures. Candidates are required to complete fifteen hours of field experience work to experience aspects of diversity. Courses that specifically target candidate development of knowledge, skills and dispositions related to diversity are ED 312 Introduction to the Education of Exceptional Children and ED 317 Multicultural Education (Exhibit 2.2.b.1). ED 317 Multicultural Education course focuses on the educational, sociological, and psychological principles of teaching diverse learners where candidates explore the philosophies, theories, strategies, and competencies required to effectively motivate, educate, direct, manage and evaluate learners in a diverse classroom. Field experiences in the course consist of 10 hours of observation and participation, the focus of which includes exploration of levels of cultural knowledge and acceptance of diversity within specific populations and engagement in microteaching activities for diverse learners. ED 322 Teaching Reading in the Middle/Junior & Senior High School course requires candidates to study strategies and materials that promote multicultural education in the content reading program. Moreover the academic content areas address diversity issues in methods classes (ED 452 Advanced Teaching Methods, candidates develop and apply a wide repertoire of questioning, apply differentiated instructional strategies, and assessment techniques. Candidates create a working e-portfolio artifacts and reflection and present research on educational trends and issues in diversity, assessment, and literacy/reading. ED 402 Instructional Technology Integration, and ENG 455 Methods of Teaching English further focus on diversity issues. Lesson plans are developed to include application to diverse learners. All of the curriculum and instruction methods courses for content areas include the development of teaching strategies that are appropriate for a diverse population. Faculty require candidates to reflect on and integrate their observations and experiences with course discussion and assignments. Candidates engage in diversity embedded curriculum in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences as well as the College of Education. In ART 210 Visual and Performing Arts, teacher candidates study how the beliefs and values of various cultures affect the creation and production of art. ART 302 Teaching Young Children through the Arts; provides instruction on specific teaching strategies for diverse students. Music education candidates study music from all cultures. In the mathematics methods course, candidates study diverse numerical systems and study cultural history regarding mathematics. As advanced candidates progress through the program, they are given opportunities to develop skills to understand and honor diversity, demonstrate the ability to work effectively with students, parents and colleagues from various backgrounds and create a transformative environment for student learning. Field experiences in master's level courses take place in diverse settings and involve working with diverse students, parents, school district personnel and community members. All required graduate courses are designed to meet the educational needs of diverse students, including individuals with special needs and exceptionalities and individuals from different ethnic, racial, gender, cultural, language, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds. Candidates interact with diversity and equity issues through experiential learning as seen in graduate syllabi (Exhibit 2.2.b.1).
The Unit is committed to moving towards continuous improvement in areas related to diversity. Since 2010, the unit has made changes in designing, implementing, and evaluating curriculum and providing experiences for candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Assessments indicate that candidates can demonstrate and apply proficiencies related to diversity. Classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse and a growing number of PK-12 students are classified as having a variety of diverse needs including exceptionalities. Opportunities for candidates to apply understandings about diversity in a variety of settings are available through the various coursework, field experiences, program design and resources. Expanded Service Learning opportunities at the University has allowed the Unit to expose candidates to additional diverse cultural, educational, and community experiences. Through the OPLE office clinical practice is designed to help candidates understand the influence of culture on education and acquire the ability to develop meaningful learning experiences for all students. The unit understands the obligation to foster, cultivate, and develop any of the intelligences advocated by Howard Gardner and others by providing environments and opportunities to maximize individual capacity. Faculty practice a variety of teaching strategies and styles to match the learning and motivational styles of candidates. The Unit collects evaluation and survey data to document that candidates develop the necessary proficiencies to teach students with diverse backgrounds and exceptionalities. As an on-going study, the Unit administers a survey of student teachers, and university coordinators and supervising teachers evaluate student teachers during the practicum experience (Exhibit 3.4.f.1 and 3.4.f.2).
The College of Education now named College of Educational, Professional and Graduate Studies has over the years made adjustments reflecting the latest curriculum frameworks adhering to state and national standards. Faculty makes crucial and pertinent adjustments and changes based on trends in curriculum understandings and ways of learning, and then customizing teaching methods to reach all students. The college prides itself with this role especially as a beacon of hope to those learners that are labeled at risk. With renewed energy and articulation, the concept of diversity is infused more rigorously throughout the curriculum, introduced at the freshman to senior level in different courses (Exhibit 4.4.b.1). Furthermore, the Unit affirms the moral mandate that educators as reflective decision-makers must have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to allow them to respond to students of diverse backgrounds. In addition, each candidate strives to become an educator who is tolerant to diversity. The Unit demonstrates its dedication to preparing candidates who reflect on and implement their knowledge, skills, and dispositions, for the goal of educating diverse learners using a multifaceted approach. All instructional and professional advanced programs have updated the curriculum to reflect components of diversity. For example, in the Reading Analysis class ED 505 candidates understand the differences in learning styles and work with students to help those lacking behind. Other required courses that specifically target candidate development of knowledge, skills and dispositions related to diversity are ED 312 Introduction to the Education of Exceptional Children and ED 317 Multicultural Education. In the Multicultural education course ED 317 an interactive atmosphere is created- a component of Service learning called 'Multicultural Day'. This is held annually to give candidates an opportunity to display their cultural awareness through activities and cultural artifacts. ED 304: Children's Literature, undertakes a Multicultural Literature Project designed to expose teacher candidates to quality trade books that also serve as instructional tools for addressing social and cultural issues that are prevalent today. Given that the school age population of minority children is rapidly increasing; it is imperative for pre-service and in-service teachers to be able to select, present, evaluate, and implement multicultural books that reflect cultural diversity throughout the plot, characterization, and settings that are also relevant to real world life experiences. The premise of the "Multicultural Literature Project" is for candidates to develop a display that includes children's books specific to international countries and cultures such as Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Jewish, African American, Norwegian, French, and African. Candidates also include artifacts and foods that are relevant to the selected culture. An overview of each book along with interesting facts about the children's literature for the selected cultures is provided. The goal of the project is for teacher candidates to enhance pedagogical skills and proficiency in the implementation of culturally specific literacy content to diverse student populations in PK-5 academic settings. ED 220 Human Growth and Development, students focus on finding out about their social identity, a reflective look at who they are, their preferences, dislikes and likes through the Marvelous Me project (Ex. 4.4.b.2). The purpose for the project is for candidates to get to know themselves better and enable them to make personal connections by examining who they are so they can understand the other person. The uniqueness of each individual to respect and value each one for who they are and their sexual preferences and religion is encouraged through discussion. Furthermore, Kappa Delta Pi promotes diversity activities and provides opportunities for candidates to travel and mingle with other members from a variety of states. Kappa Delta Pi is an international Honor Society in Education that recognizes excellence in education and outstanding contribution to education. The society elects those who exhibit the ideals of scholarship, high personal standards, and promise in teaching and allied professions. Selection to membership is based on high academic achievement, a commitment to education as a career, and a professional disposition that assures steady growth in the profession (Exhibit 4.4.b.6). Another continued unique activity is the Reconstructing Lives project in the ED 200 (Ex 4.4.c.1). In this project candidates are engaged in critical analysis of an achiever's life. The project kindles interest primarily by an increased understanding of the routes to success, and secondly, by an increased encouragement, new awareness of possibilities for personal achievement, and positive behaviors and plans to increase personal success. Over the years, candidates have read several real stories of icons which made a difference in deeper understanding that success begets success. Our candidates evidently learn to conceptualize and draw effectively from connecting their own experiences and culture to what they learn in their courses. Consequently, candidate improvements in diversity proficiency are shown in the "Reconstructing Lives" assessment outcome (Exhibit 4.4.c).
Grambling State University's vision statement is "To be one of the premiere universities in the world that embraces educational opportunity and diversity". Currently, additional opportunities are provided as the unit informs candidates of innovative programs such as the Apple HBCU Scholars Program open to students as a future tech investment . The program exposes gifted and talented students from HBCU's to a career in technology as part of a creative process .The program provides candidates with a diverse and valuable set of learning and personal growth opportunities (Exhibit 4.4.b.7) . Hence, the unit is committed to enhance the issues of diversity in the community and campus. The unit's plan is to make it possible for candidates to be able to visit places within and outside Louisiana to experience firsthand cultural similarities and differences and diversity in action. The unit continues to expand the cooperating schools in the area so that candidates gain richer experiences to teach in the surrounding parishes. The plethora of international travels and commitment to creating connections for the unit's faculty and candidates underscore the vital commitment of the unit to increase faculty and candidate knowledge of diverse peoples and cultures. The unit participates fully when the University hosts annual events that focus on diversity. These include International Education Week; Hispanic Heritage Month; Black History Month; and Women Conference the Presentation on Empowering and Self-Efficacy in women and their roles in diverse cultures; where women from different countries converged to share their experiences (Exhibit 4.4.b.8). The vision for the future is to continue to prepare candidates to understand and recognize that affective education includes multicultural education. Candidates present a variety of cultures, displaying artifacts and video clips for each of the cultures represented (exhibit 4.4.a.3). The unit continues to foster to produce candidates, who can make responsible use of assessment techniques, recognize the context of gender, race, ethnicity, cultural-social values and disabilities. By 2016/17 the unit plans to develop and execute a comprehensive other race student recruitment strategy and to enhance and strengthen cooperative links between Grambling State University, area schools, community colleges and other institutions. The demands of education requires integration education which aim to 'think the world together' rather than 'think it apart' to know the world in a way that empowers educated people to act on behalf of wholeness rather than fragmentation.