Nationally accredited and recognized for its comprehensive preparation of classroom teachers, the Teacher Education program at Wichita State University’s College of Education uses a Professional Development School model. The PDS model combines the resources and expertise of area public school district teachers, administrators and support staff with those of the WSU College of Education to immerse teacher education students into the learning community. As a longtime partner with the Wichita School district – a large and diverse urban district – WSU College of Education students are mentored by exemplary teachers and develop a strong, supportive network that follows them into their professional life as a licensed teacher.
All teacher education students must complete a program comprised of a three-fold focus of disciplinary knowledge, field experience and professional courses:
A deep understanding and appreciation of the discipline a student has chosen is required. In addition to the general education courses, which provide a strong academic foundation, and in addition to the professional courses, students in the Middle or Secondary programs are required to successfully complete at least 30 credit hours of liberal arts and science courses within their disciplines. Students in the Elementary and Early Childhood Unified programs complete discipline specific course work delivered within the teacher education unit. The courses specific to the discipline provide the content knowledge upon which the professional education courses build.
Every student, from freshman to senior year, is provided with opportunities to be actively engaged in area PreK-12 classrooms. Students learn firsthand about classroom management, use of technology in the classroom and evaluation of student learning from exemplary teachers who are selected to mentor our students. Over the course of a full academic year, teacher education candidates complete 2 consecutive semesters of field experiences in the same classroom as they gradually assume greater teaching responsibilities. The final semester during that year is the teaching internship semester where teacher education students are in the classroom fulltime. Particular effort is made to provide our students with opportunities to work with a diversity of PreK-12 students and settings over the course of their education, including students from poverty and various ethnicities, language backgrounds and achievement levels.
All teacher education students are required to successfully complete 40 credit hours of professional education coursework that utilizes the latest in education research and practices. Among others, these include:
* Instructional strategies including classroom and behavior management,
* research-based reading/literacy strategies,
* diversity and cultural issues with a focus on teaching high poverty students and English language learners,
* methods courses that connect theory to practice with focus on the use of technology,
* statistics and evaluation/assessment courses that ensure our students understand and can apply quantitative analysis and its implications for student learning in the classroom,
* courses on education history, philosophies and ethics.