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Frameworks, Philosophy, and Standards
The Education Division of William Woods University believes that all students deserve to have effective, caring educators who are knowledgeable in content, management, interpersonal skills, and the teaching/learning process. To prepare these educators, our division believes both theory and applications should be the basis for our curriculum, and each educator should be assessed throughout the program, using a defined set of performance standards. Since we believe learning is a lifelong process, we encourage our program completers to continue with professional development throughout their careers.
The conceptual framework of the William Woods University Education Unit rests on the premise that both the theory/knowledge and the application/performance of education must be equally addressed. In addition, we believe that gaining experience and skills in becoming reflective practitioners is of primary importance to our students and a value-added component to a William Woods graduate.
Anchored to current research, pedagogy and "best practices" from the field, our conceptual framework rests on the assumption that student-centered coursework, application of learning in educational settings, group-based activity and the ability to reflect on one's practice based on current research/theory will produce the high-quality teachers and administrators needed to boost student achievement in all locales-rural, urban and suburban/metropolitan.
These elements from the conceptual framework are integrated into student learning through activities that require field experiences in schools and classrooms, reflections on those experiences and utilizing group/team work and classroom discussion lead by the instructor/facilitator. Our instructors do not lecture to the degree that they "coach" and guide the learning that develops in the classroom through these methods.
Student-Centered Teaching and Learning
The William Woods University Professional Education Unit emphasizes developing reflective educators and administrators to work with the whole student. We believe that pre-service and graduate education students improve their academic performance, and that of their students, through learner-centered coursework and learning experiences that are delivered in educational settings and that require reflection on those experiences. While acknowledging its debt to history and pedagogy, the unit anchors its beliefs in current research and theory.
Blending Theory and Practice
Our curriculum emphasizes theoretical and philosophical backgrounds for various instructional and administrative approaches. Current knowledge in neuroscience, behavioral science, and cognitive science highlights the physiology of the brain and how it influences and is influenced by the psychological, emotional, and social aspects of the learning environment. Thus, our coursework emphasizes both why the teacher uses various approaches as well as when and how to implement these approaches. We provide opportunities for all students to practice what they have learned, assess their performance, reflect on their practice, and develop efficacious personal philosophies and approaches.
Utilizing Appropriate Technology and Decision-Making
Our belief is that with knowledge of how people learn, relevant subject matter, and appropriate pedagogical and technological tools, graduates will become teachers and administrators--leaders-- who will demonstrate the abilities to make curricular, instructional, and assessment decisions appropriate for diverse learners. Teaching models might include, but will not be limited to, the use of strategies involving the multiple intelligences, the use of strategies focused on ethical decision-making, and emotional intelligence.
Teaching as an Ethical Act
Our curriculum recognizes that teaching is an ethical act. Because of recent evidence regarding the lack of core societal values among young people in today's schools, we feel that it is imperative to include ethical decision making in our curriculum. Faculty members should model ethical decision-making in their relationships with students and demonstrate respect, efficacy, and reflection.
Lifelong learning and the Multicultural Perspective
We place great emphasis on the importance of individuals as lifelong learners. Underlying our program is the belief that all students should have equal access to a quality education provided by effective teachers and administrator practitioners who expect students of all cultures and abilities to be successful.
Lastly, all student learning will be aligned with current national, state and agency educational standards to insure quality and rigor throughout each program in the professional education unit.