The professional education unit of Otterbein University is committed to providing a coherent, developmentally-based teacher education program that prepares teachers to create and work within learning communities which maximize the potential of all learners. The program promotes collaborative learning and critical reflection as a way to develop a community of life-long learners who can respect diverse perspectives, make informed decisions, and be responsive to the changing needs of children in our society.
The Education Department serves as the professional education unit of Otterbein University, providing professional courses for pre-service teachers through:
- A four-year undergraduate program for Early Childhood, Middle Childhood, and AYA/Multi-age Licensure;
- A post-baccalaureate licensure-only program for Early Childhood, Middle Childhood, and AYA/Multi-age Licensure, built on the undergraduate teacher education program;
- A part-time Master of Arts in Teaching program designed to provide a graduate Middle Childhood Licensure program for grades 4-9 that is responsive to the needs of working, second-career adults.
Building on a liberal arts foundation that emphasizes multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary ways of knowing, professional education requires candidates and graduate students to examine their values and actions in view of current research and best practice. Coordinated field experiences in diverse settings across the pre-service programs provide a realistic setting to test theories and professional competencies against the cognitive and affective needs of children in schools.
The professional education unit also offers continuing professional development for certified/licensed teachers through a Master of Arts in Education degree program, with majors in Reading and Curriculum & Instruction. The MAE program is designed to develop professional empowerment through study, research, and reflection. Both the MAE program design and the scheduling of classes serve the needs of practicing, certified/licensed teachers.
Purposes and Goals of Teacher Education
The Teacher Education Program at Otterbein University is based on the philosophy that a liberal education is best for teachers. The broad aim of teacher education is to help licensure candidates acquire knowledge, develop skills, and exhibit dispositions which they will need in order to be contributing members of society and successful teachers of children.
The faculty of the Teacher Education Program have adopted standards and critical dispositions to inform ongoing program development and to guide the assessment of candidate progress throughout the program. These standards are aligned with external accrediting agencies such as NCATE and the Ohio Department of Education, based on standards developed by INTASC. However, these standards are informed by the Mission Statement and Conceptual Framework of Otterbein's Teacher Education Program and provide a strong basis for the preparation of teacher candidates who can positively impact the education of P-12 students.
The Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) is a consortium of state education agencies, higher education institutions, and national educational organizations dedicated to the reform of the education, licensing, and on-going professional development of teachers. Created in 1987, INTASC's primary constituency is state education agencies responsible for teacher licensing and professional development. Its work is guided by one basic premise: An effective teacher must be able to integrate content knowledge with pedagogical understanding to assure that all students learn and perform at high levels. The INTASC model core standards for licensing teachers represent those principles which should be present in all teaching regardless of the subject or grade level taught and serve as a framework for the systemic reform of teacher preparation and professional development.
Otterbein Teacher Education Standards
Standard #1—The candidate understands the discipline(s) he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make subject matter meaningful for students
Standard #2—The candidate understands how students learn and develop and provides learning opportunities that support their intellectual, career, social and personal development.
Standard #3—The candidate understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are equitable and are adaptable to diverse learners.
Standard #4—The candidate plans instruction based upon the knowledge-base of the subjects, student population, community needs, curriculum goals, and Ohio approved curriculum models.
Standard #5—The candidate is proficient in utilizing a variety of instructional models to encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and performance skills.
Standard #6—The candidate motivates individual students and groups of students by creating a positive, encouraging, active learning environment.
Standard #7—The candidate uses effective forms of communication to foster interaction in the classroom.
Standard #8—The candidate understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.
Standard #9—The candidate is a reflective practitioner who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.
Standard #10—The candidate fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents, and the larger community to support students’ learning and well-being.
In addition to standards that guide the preparation and licensure of candidates' knowledge of content and ability to teach, candidates are also evaluated on critical dispositions essential for success in education. Critical Dispositions are defined by NCATE as “attitudes, beliefs, values, and commitments that influence behaviors.” Ten of these are vital themes in the Otterbein University Teacher education program. We expect these dispositions to be evidenced in the field as candidates practice their professional skills. Because our program is developmental, we intentionally model these dispositions in every course and provide guided practice for candidates as they grow professionally.