Leadership, Rigor, Service and Diversity
Upon graduation, RTEC's teacher candidates are expected to become effective leaders who are capable of helping others strive to high levels of achievement. This involves teachers who are able to:
- Collaborate with others effectively to plan appropriate curriculum and programs
- Motivate students and fellow teachers to use their strengths to achieve at high levels and persevere when needed
- Make decisions, organize activities, and manage their classroom
- Serve as agents for change and excellence in their schools and communities
RTEC's teacher candidates will be prepared for leadership roles through professional courses that require student initiative, as well as opportunities for learning and practicing effective leadership roles in the campus community and structured fieldwork. As a requirement for licensure, teacher candidates must document they have met a standard for leadership set by RTEC.
Academic excellence is central to this effort. RTEC's faculty will reflect this strength through a strong commitment to in-depth preparation, intense academic expectations, and extensive personal attention and support for all students. RTEC will expect its graduates to become teachers who are able to:
- Engage in critical thinking, analysis and communication
- Integrate theory and practice in their teaching
- Teach content knowledge with appropriate mastery and expertise
- Use a variety of instructional methods, while knowing their own strengths as teachers
- Use technology for instructional purposes and for analyzing data
- Draw on research and practice to design effective instructional resources and evaluate external resources
- Engage in self-reflection and self-assessment of their teaching
All RTEC candidates will complete the requirements for an academic major as required by Virginia Department of Education regulations. In addition, RTEC will develop both academic and pedagogical competencies in its candidates through its professional courses.
The following academic skills will be reinforced in RTEC coursework through assignments and classroom activities that require students in each course to:
- Develop at least one major paper or curriculum project
- Make at least one formal or informal presentation
- Use technology as part of the course
- Engage in assignments that provide an opportunity for self-reflection and metacognition
- Use data or other information to support self-assessment
- Engage in research through a number of methods of inquiry
Pedagogical competencies will be reinforced in RTEC coursework through class activities, assignments, and modeling by the instructors. Students will be required to:
- Integrate theory and practice in their teaching
- Use a variety of instructional methods
- Use technology for instructional purposes
- Draw on research and practice to design instructional units
- Evaluate external resources to determine their value for different instructional purposes
- Engage in self-refection and self-assessment of their teaching
- Determine the values and philosophies embedded in instructional methods
RTEC's teacher education program will emphasize fieldwork as a major part of student learning. Every education course will have a co-requisite practicum course or have fieldwork embedded in the course itself. This fieldwork component will involve frequent exchanges among education faculty, clinical faculty and students.
Upon graduation, RTEC expects its teacher candidates to have a strong commitment to service. Service is integral to leadership, but in principle and action, service has its own unique qualities. RTEC believes that a commitment to service is evident in teachers who are capable of:
- Effective involvement in community-based activities and a wide range of volunteer activities
- Teaching in a student-centered manner attuned to the needs of all students.
These qualities will be developed in RTEC through a variety of channels. Each institution has a special focus on service as part of its overall mission and traditional values. As students participate in the life of their campus, they will be able to participate in service activities.
RTEC also believes that service can be manifested in the way teachers teach. A service-oriented teaching style is student-centered and attuned to the needs of all children. It seeks to address the learning challenges that many students experience. It is this level of commitment and persistence to the needs of children that best exemplifies teaching as a caring profession. These qualities will be promoted and valued in each of our education courses, and will be especially relevant to the mentoring and learning that occurs through fieldwork.
RTEC expects each of its graduates to enter the profession as teachers who are prepared to work in school environments characterized by diversity. RTEC defines diversity using the seven categories present in multicultural literature (Heaggans and Polka, 2010; Banke 1994): gender, language, social class, race, religion, disability, and ethnicity. Therefore, RTEC will prepare teachers who, through skilled instructional knowledge, are capable of:
- Using their interpersonal skills to collaborate with others as trusted and sharing team members
- Understanding how difference can affect perception of and reaction to events
- Using innovative instructional methods, including differentiated instruction, designed to engage all students in learning
- Evaluating curriculum for bias or misrepresentation
- Implementing new curricula and resources designed to facilitate learning among all students
- Identifying and assessing student learning through the use of multiple techniques
Some of these attributes and skills will be addressed as students from each college work together in education classes. Because the colleges within the consortium draw from fairly different student populations, teacher candidates will be exposed to a range of opinions and interests by interacting with their RTEC peers.