Our goal is to produce English Language Arts teachers who help guide all students towards lifelong literacy learning through research-based practices. Teacher candidates will reflect the following:
They display a passion for the subject matter, their own students, the profession, and their own learning.
They are creative curriculum developers and use appropriate pedagogies to implement sound lessons.
They possess an awareness of the sociocultural and political context of present literacy instruction.
They are reflective practitioners who work toward professional growth and development, and who take a pro-active stance toward constructive criticism.
They are prepared to teach in an increasingly global and technological world and to collaborate in multi-modal, multi-disciplinary, and multi-literate environments.
What does this mission statement mean for you?
You recognize that teaching the English Language Arts requires you to possess a command of much more than the “Literature” with which the field of English is so often associated. In order to lead students toward becoming critical consumers and producers of texts, you also need to develop a profound understanding of theories of learning, development, assessment, and pedagogy. Your success as an educator will depend upon your ability to deploy your knowledge in all of these areas simultaneously. Additionally, your planning reflects your awareness of state and national bodies that provide guidelines for the profession, especially as they focus on the range of skills which you are responsible to help students develop: reading, writing, listening, and speaking (i.e., the English Language Arts). Your teaching integrates all of these elements to provide abundant opportunities for engaging, meaningful, and relevant learning experiences for each individual in your classroom.
You recognize that teachers function as cultural gatekeepers who can help all their students access and participate in discourse communities from which they might otherwise be excluded. To this end, your teaching and planning encourage students to use literacy skills to understand and shape their lives and world, and whenever possible build bridges between home, community, and classroom literacies. You encourage, above all else, students’ passion for lifelong learning. Also evident in your teaching and planning is your awareness of the function of power and difference in your classroom and your thoroughgoing commitment to student empowerment. Your care and advocacy for students does not end at the classroom door, however; you are also an advocate for public education, keeping abreast of and involved in political and legislative issues that affect teachers’ ability to support critical literacy in their classrooms.
You are always willing to ask yourself how you can do better. You actively seek ways to improve yourself as a teacher by adding to your skill-set or expanding your "tool-box of ideas." While you are willing to initiate the answers to these questions yourself, you also actively desire the comments of your instructors and accept them for the honest, helpful guidance they represent.
Your deep and abiding love of reading, writing, and language, in general, is abundantly apparent to anyone who spends any extended time with you. When someone mentions a resource you’ve not yet tapped into (for example, an article, a book, a website of interest, or an opportunity for professional development), your first response is curiosity and excitement, rather than boredom or a feeling of “O`h, no! something else I have to do.” You truly love the materials you share with students, see their literacy development as your primary responsibility to them, and are motivated by the on-going challenge of kindling in others a passion for the English Language.
You understand that contemporary adolescents are engaged in an increasingly participatory culture-- connected to opportunities for learning anytime, anywhere, and from anyone. You are committed to facilitating that learning by mastering new technologies and guiding students in the ethics of their use. You are motivated to learn as much as you can about new technologies and how to use them to support multiple forms of literacy learning in your own life, and thus are a model for your students. You are motivated by a strong desire to engage your students in reading and writing new and varied forms of print, aural, and visual texts and recognize the importance of students' developing the skills, resources, and dispositions to thrive in a global economy. You see your students as collaborators in their own education and know how to use their interest in and experience with cyber- and digital forms of expression and affiliation to advantage in the classroom.