Kianna Taylor '14 is an English major and education andAsian studies minor.
4/10/14Randolph-Macon College secondary student teachers were recently tasked to list the characteristics that they admire in effective educators. They identified the best teachers as caring, creative, knowledgeable, and confident. R-MC’s education curriculum is designed to create teachers who exemplify those qualities.
A Challenging Curriculum“The secondary student teaching block includes four courses—Principles and Methods of Secondary Teaching, Observation, Student Teaching, and Senior Seminar,” says Education Professor Amber Peacock. “This integrative model provides preservice teachers the opportunity to practice what they are learning immediately and with the guidance of both a highly qualified cooperating teacher and an R-MC professor.” During the Methods and Observation course, student teachers work alongside Hanover County teachers three days a week and study methods with Peacock two days a week. “This integrative model provides preservice teachers the opportunity to practice what they are learning immediately and with the guidance of both a highly qualified cooperating teacher and an R-MC professor," says Peacock.
“The Methods class is designed to help student teachers build their repertoire of teaching strategies, connect theory to practice, and become reflective, problem-solving practitioners,” explains Peacock. “For example, challenged to be creative curriculum designers, student teachers recently took a field trip to Dollar Tree to purchase teaching supplies. Although the store offers a wide variety of traditional teaching supplies, the student teachers were banned from selecting the obvious on this trip. They had to select supplies from other aisles of the store and challenged each other to find innovative ways to utilize their selections to increase student learning. Their ingenuity was inspiring. For example, it was amazing to hear how many clever ways they thought of to use plastic Easter eggs to teach history and language arts to their middle- and high-school students.”
Expert InstructionStudent teachers also learn from experts how to use instructional technology. Hanover County teacher and guest instructor Brianne Baudean recently shared how she uses a classroom blog to teach writing and efficiently assess student progress. Ryan Stein ’04, Henrico County Public Schools instructional technology resource teacher, taught students several Web 2.0 tools and how to build an e-portfolio. Peacock also had students collaboratively collect and review more than 250 online resources they can use long after they graduate from R-MC. “Their instructional technology ‘toolbox’ is well-stocked,” says Peacock.
Secondary student teachers also worked closely with professors in their major content areas. English Professors Tom Peyser, Justin Haynes, Maria Scott and Marisa Cull, and History Professor Mathias Bergmann each worked with a student teacher to help fine tune lesson plans, prepare for the content-area Praxis test, and get constructive feedback. Bergmann also serves as the chairperson of the Teacher Preparation Committee.
“Getting to pick the brains of an expert in an entirely individualized learning experience is a wonderful opportunity,” says Peacock. “This is the kind of mentoring and support that makes the Randolph-Macon experience so powerful. I expect great things from these new educators.”
The R-MC Education DepartmentWith a strong tradition of preparing outstanding teachers, R-MC’s education minor is a Virginia Department of Education approved educator preparation program and is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation The teacher preparation program at R-MC creates reflective, passionate educators Council. who are highly qualified in their content area and in 21st-century teaching skills. Inspired by R-MC’s own dedicated teaching faculty, our graduates bring to their own classrooms a commitment to children, youth, families and diversity.
With the first course in R-MC’s teacher preparation program, students are in the community, working with real students and teachers in local school classrooms. R-MC education courses fully integrate classroom and experiential learning, opportunities for collaborative research, civic and global engagement, personalized guidance, and leadership development.