Upon completion of all program prerequisites, Residents begin the RTR program during the first summer session in June. Most courses in the program are master’s level and include both special education and general education (multiple subject) candidates working together. The program coursework includes investigation of the literature, theories, and principles associated with education, as well as their application to the rural school and classroom context through field-based assignments and research. Through the sequence of the seminars and residency experience, Residents progress from learning to teach, to teaching for learning, to improving professional practice.
In August of the first summer, Residents and their Mentors attend a week-long workshop designed to (1) prepare them for the residency experience through examination of topics such as co-teaching, coaching, instructional technology, intervention models, and professional learning communities; and (2) begin the process of inquiry leading to site-based action research for their culminating activity. Immediately following the workshop, Residents and Mentors will work together to plan for and begin the school year.
During the residency year, the Residents work full days Monday through Thursday in collaboration with their Mentors. This collaboration includes instructional planning, co-teaching, conducting assessment and analyzing results, diagnosing needs, and identifying and implementing appropriate interventions. Residents are expected to engage with their Mentors in all classroom, school, and district activities, functioning as members of the school faculty. In order to allow the maximum time possible in the schools, program seminars are conducted on Fridays and some Saturdays on the university campus.
Effective Residents should enter our programs with certain dispositions and continue to develop and demonstrate those dispositions through the experiences provided in our professional programs.
Learning activities and assessments in both coursework and fieldwork provide opportunities for Residents to engage in behaviors that demonstrate these dispositions. Residents are assessed on these dispositions at entry, advancement and exit points of the programs. When Residents exhibit behaviors counter to these dispositions, opportunities for advising and remediation are provided.
The School of Education has identified the following dispositions as critical to effective educators:
- The Resident appreciates and values human diversity, recognizes community and cultural norms, shows respect for students' varied talents and perspectives, seeks to foster culturally appropriate communications and demonstrates best practices in his or her field.
- The Resident believes that all children can learn, appreciates their varying abilities, and persists in helping all children achieve success.
- The Resident is committed to continuous, self-directed learning, critical thinking and reflection in order to refine instructional practice and deepen knowledge in the academic disciplines.
- The Resident demonstrates pride in the education profession and participates in collaborative relationships with colleagues, students, parents, and social and professional communities and agencies.
- The Resident is committed to the expression and use of democratic values and to the creation of a learning environment that fosters active engagement in learning and encourages positive social interaction.
For rural school districts, there is a need not only for preparing and credentialing new teachers, but also for reforming how those teachers are prepared to meet the challenges facing rural schools. Among those challenges are issues of poverty and geographic isolation faced by rural districts and the need to support students with special needs and a growing population of English learners.
Subject Matter Knowledge
Candidates demonstrate solid knowledge of and currency in their subject matter/academic discipline and a commitment to continue to expand their depth and range of understandings.
Candidates demonstrate a sizeable repertoire of pedagogical/professional practice and select strategies, techniques, and technological resources appropriately in relation to the learners.
Candidates are knowledgeable about and responsive to the needs of all learners, including linguistically and culturally diverse learners and special populations.
Candidates have expertise in the assessment and evaluation of pupil needs and achievements and use data in decision-making.
Candidates have learned to reflect appropriately on their professional practice and exhibit evidence of having established a habit of self-examination that results in continual improvement of that practice.
Candidates actively engage in collaborative partnerships with colleagues, parents, community agencies and professional organizations.
Candidates promote civic engagement and community partnerships and take an active leadership role in advocating for all learners.
Photo Credits: Cris Guenter