Learning Outcomes

CommunicationTeacher graduates will use verbal, nonverbal, written, and visual skills to effectively facilitate communication and engage in feedback with colleagues, college faculty, P-12 students, associated professionals, and all others in their school communities.To effectively use communication skills, teacher graduates must be proficient at managing their own and others’ behavior, encouraging group work, facilitating problem-posing and valuing significant dialog.  Teacher graduates who engage in effective use of verbal, nonverbal, written, and visual communication skills must be open, intuitive, respectful, persevering, honest, adaptable, caring, appreciative, empathetic, non-judgmental, compassionate, courageous, and cooperative.

Learning Theory.Teacher graduates will use knowledge of educational theory to manage the classroom, instruct students, assess what students learn, plan curriculum, describe instruction, and assess instruction.To effectively apply learning theory, graduates will know the ideas of a range of learning theorists, how instruction of P-12 students is influenced by these ideas, and how these ideas apply to the assessment of P-12 students’ progress.  Graduates will be able to use the language of learning theory in classroom management, curriculum planning, reflections about instruction, and assessment activities. Finally, graduates will understand the moral nature of learning theory—that they must bring their humane judgment to every educational situation.  This moral understanding is evidenced in a graduate’s ability to choose a theory that best explains a particular learning need in a particular community context.  To use the language of learning theory, teacher graduates must be proficient at literate discourse that includes writing, oral communication, text reading, application of technology, and quantitative reasoning. Teacher graduates who engage with learning theory must be organized in thinking and action, accurate, reflective and critical.

Learning CommunitiesTeacher graduates will build and sustain learning communities in which diverse students are comfortable, valued, engaged, and challenged.  This ability is evidenced by the teacher’s listening, giving and receiving feedback, problem solving, risk-taking, and being reflective about the learning community.  P-12 students, taught by the teacher graduate, learn from one another and on their own.To generate and sustain learning communities, teacher graduates must participate in and lead community living experiences which emphasize skills of listening, receiving and giving feedback, collaboration, problem-solving, planning, risk-taking, and building trust.  Teacher graduates who understand learning communities must be open, intuitive, respectful, persevering, honest, adaptable, caring, appreciative, compassionate, committed, empathetic, humble, courageous, and cooperative.

Reflective Thinking and Practice.  Teacher graduates will know how to reflect on teaching and learning using the multiple perspectives of others as well as observing, reporting, questioning and analysis skills.  The teacher graduate will be reflective about their tasks, teaching-learning strategies and relations with others.  The teacher graduate will also be reflective about processes of teaching, learning, communicating, and relating with others. Reflective thinking and practice refers to Schon’s (1983) definition of reflective practitioners.  Teacher graduates engaged in reflective thinking and practice help their students systematically use the data from a learning context to define and solve problems.  They engage others, supportively, in exploring what might be changed to make learning more effective for everyone involved.  This “thinking in action” requires systematic collection of information about a classroom setting from supervisors, parents, and other education professionals, as well as from the students involved.  Everyone’s perspective is valued in this critical process of determining action in the classroom.  And then decisive action is taken.  To engage in reflective thinking and practice, teacher graduates must be proficient in skills of observing, reporting, questioning, anticipating needs, and analyzing.  They must also be reflective about their tasks, literate communication, and relations with others.  These skills are evidenced by graduates’ consideration of the multiple layers within any thought or action.  To engage in reflective thinking and practice, teacher graduates must be critical thinkers who are committed and honest practitioners.

Understanding Human DiversityTeacher graduates will cross boundaries of culture, ethnicity, gender, ability and style. This practice includes understanding individuals with disabilities in ways expressed by the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards. Teacher graduates will also demonstrate great hope and high expectations for all P-12 students taught, seek multiple perspectives from all students and associated professionals, and be honest about expressed and unexpressed feelings and behaviors toward all students and associated professionals.  Multicultural understanding is defined by Gay (1999) and Banks (1999) as the ability to connect socio-cultural theory, cultural and ethnic history, and one’s own beliefs about human diversity in ways that create concordant, rather than dissonant, assumptions and expectations for a wide variety of people.  With this kind of understanding, teacher graduates will be prepared to support learning for allstudents. Understanding of human diversity is not just a matter of book learning; it must result from direct experience with others.  To evidence this understanding, teacher graduates must have a practiced ability to deal with others whose learning, behavior, or culture is different from their own.  Specifically, this practice includes understanding individuals with disabilities in ways expressed by the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards, but it is not limited to this kind of human diversity. To demonstrate an understanding of human diversity, teacher graduates must also be proficient in skills of self-assessment, seeing multiple perspectives, putting social problems in historical contexts, identifying prejudice, and deconstructing stereotypes.  An understanding of human diversity assumes that teacher graduates are open, committed, honest, hopeful, non-judgmental, and holding high expectations for themselves and others.

Technology.  Teacher graduates use technology to access information, communicate with others, organize information and enhance student learning.  Teacher graduates integrate current technology appropriately into learning experiences and administrative tasks in the classroom.  This expectation is congruent with all Illinois standards for teacher certification that address teacher use of technology. To engage technology as an integral part of teaching, teacher graduates must be proficient in exploring, problem-solving, planning, and reasoning.  To work with technology, teacher graduates must express creativity, leadership, curiosity, cooperation, accuracy, organization, and perseverance.

Curriculum Content Knowledge.  Teacher graduates will have an understanding of facts, concepts, theory and skills associated with subject areas taught.  They will also be literate in writing, reading, oral communication, and quantitative reasoning. Standards for subject-area knowledge are described in the Illinois Learning Standards for P-12 students, Illinois Professional Teaching Standards, and Illinois Content Area Standards that apply to the following certification programs: Elementary, Secondary Physics, Secondary Mathematics, Secondary Biological Science, Secondary English, Secondary History, and Secondary Foreign Languages.  Content knowledge includes important facts, concepts, theory, and skills for teaching content associated with applicable disciplines of study at Principia College.  It also assumes proficiency in the basic skills of literate discourse listed in this performance expectation.  Content knowledge requires that teacher candidates express curiosity, leadership, enthusiasm for learning, and initiative.

Professional, Pedagogical Knowledge.  Teacher graduates will address a variety of learning styles and learning needs, develop and structure lessons, set up classroom environments, and use a variety of classroom management techniques to maintain an effective learning community.Teacher graduates’ professional and pedagogical knowledge will be both general and specific.  It will include wide-ranging management abilities such as applying school law, using behavioral management strategies, transitioning between activities, and individualizing education plans.  It will also include wide-ranging instructional abilities such as accommodating students of different abilities, styles, and needs; designing bulletin boards; and assessing instruction.  The professional and pedagogical knowledge of teacher candidates will align with all Illinois standards for teacher certification that address knowledge of classroom practice and student learning.  To know how their students can learn subjects of study, teacher graduates must be proficient in skills of literate discourse including writing, reading, oral communication, technology application, and quantitative reasoning.  Professional content knowledge also requires that teacher candidates express curiosity, leadership, problem-solving, enthusiasm for learning, and initiative.

Assessment and EvaluationTeacher graduates will build assessment and evaluation procedures into the learning process, be aware of similarities and differences in evaluation and assessment approaches, and think critically about evaluation.Teacher graduates will understand assessment and evaluation as an on-going process of data collection and analysis that is based on their understanding of Principia and Illinois standards for teacher certification and the Illinois Learning Standards for P-12 students.  Teacher graduates will also be able to apply assessment concepts including “observation,” “assessment,” “evaluation,” “authentic assessment,” “performance-based assessment,” “normative assessment,” “criterion-based assessment,” “measurement,” “testing,” “standardized testing,” and “grading” to their teaching.  Finally, teacher graduates will be able to communicate similarities and differences in approaches to assessment and evaluations.  To have a thorough understanding of assessment and evaluation, teacher graduates must be proficient in analysis, critical thinking, and reflective thinking skills.  Understanding assessment and evaluation also requires teacher graduates to be reflective, intuitive, honest, accurate, organized in thought, and responsive to change.