Six Principles for Teacher Education

Our collective commitment to the development of exemplary teacher education programs is unwavering.
Central to our deliberations about the direction of teacher education has been the adoption and enactment in all our teacher education programs of a set of six principles that define, in comprehensive ways, our conceptual framework for teacher education. The six principles are shared below. Accompanying each is an elaboration composed of three parts: a statement about why the principle is important, a statement about implications of the principle for our teacher education programs, and a statement about what the principle implies for teacher candidate expectations.

1. KNOWLEDGE

Effective teachers possess a well-grounded knowledge of the content areas that are central to their teaching. They also have an in-depth comprehension of the forms of knowledge embodied in the traditional disciplines, of the interdisciplinary nature of inquiry, and of the multiple forms of understanding that individual students bring to the classroom. Thus, all our teacher education programs help teacher candidates acquire practical wisdom that integrates forms of understanding, skilled action in and outside classrooms, and a particular sensitivity to the diversity of students. Teacher candidates are expected to be well grounded in student development, the content areas that are central to their teaching, and assessment strategies.

Our teacher education programs help students acquire a “practical wisdom” that integrates …

  • Multiple forms of understanding
  • Skilled action in & outside classrooms
  • A particular sensitivity to the diversity of students

Our teacher candidates are well-grounded in …

  • Content Areas central to their teaching
  • Student development
  • Assessment strategies
  • Educational research
  • Leading technology

2. MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCE

Teachers are expected to be thoughtful, reflective, caring practitioners in actual educational settings. Teacher education programs must maintain or create experiences in schools and on campus so that instructors can assist candidates in developing and assessing this professional expertise. Thus, all our teacher education programs include early and continuous engagement-through direct immersion or simulation-with the multiple realities of children, teaching, and schools. Teacher candidates are expected to create and nurture a positive physical, social, and academic learning environment

Our teacher education programs …

  • Assist candidates in developing and assessing their effectiveness in actual educational settings
  • Include early and continuous engagement with the multiple realities of children, teaching, and schools

Our teacher candidates …

  • Act as thoughtful, reflective, caring practitioners while participating in their field experiences
  • Create and nurture a positive, physical, social and academic learning environment

3. PERSONALIZED LEARNING

Good teachers build on their students' interests, orientation to learning, and hopes. Similarly, teacher education programs should offer teacher candidates opportunities to individualize and personalize their preparation as teachers. Thus, all our teacher education programs give teacher candidates a significant measure of control over how, when, and where their learning takes place, thus enabling their interests and values to shape major portions of their work. Teacher candidates are expected to understand students' ability levels, interests, and learning styles. They should demonstrate instruction that reflects the diversity among all learners.

Our teacher education programs …

  • Give candidates a significant measure of control over how, when, and where their learning takes place
  • Enable candidates' interests and values to shape major portions of their work

Our teacher candidates …

  • Understand students' ability levels, interests, and learning styles
  • Plan and implement instruction that reflects the diversity among learners

4. COMMUNITY

Effective teacher preparation requires that participants develop a sense of community through engagement in shared activities and issues. The longevity of relationships required to establish community has several advantages for all its members. It brings coherence to programs, fosters an appreciation of the power of cooperative effort, and encourages a dialogue that promotes the continual rejuvenation of teacher education. Thus, all our teacher education programs foster a sense of community among their teacher candidates, among faculty members, between faculty members and candidates, and between the university and the schools. Teacher candidates are expected to understand and to be involved in their academic learning community. They should build and develop relationships within the school, corporation, and community.

Our teacher education programs foster a sense of community …

  • Among teacher candidates
  • Between faculty members and candidates
  • Among faculty members
  • Between the university and the schools

Our teacher candidates …

  • Understand and participate in their academic learning community
  • Build and develop relationships within the school, corporation, and community

5. CRITICAL REFLECTION

Effective teachers reflect critically on the moral, political, social, and economic dimensions of education. This requires an understanding of the multiple contexts in which schools function, an appreciation of diverse perspectives on educational issues, and a commitment to democratic forms of interaction. Thus, all our teacher education programs encourage students to develop their own social and educational visions that are connected to critically reflective practice. Teacher candidates are expected to reflect continuously on all aspects of their teaching experience to identify ways for improvement as individuals, as a part of the school community, and as part of the teaching profession.

Our teacher education programs …

  • Encourage candidates to develop social and educational visions that are connected to critically reflective practice
  • Foster candidates' appreciation of diverse perspectives on educational issues

Our teacher candidates …

  • Reflect continuously on all aspects of their educational and teaching experiences
  • Identify avenues for improvement as individuals, as part of the school community, and as part of the teaching profession

6. GROWTH

Teachers are more than technicians or purveyors of information. Accordingly, they must be committed to lifelong intellectual, personal, and professional growth. Because both faculty and teacher candidates must continually develop these habits of mind, teacher education programs must stimulate the exploration and development of the full range of human capabilities. Thus, all our teacher education programs foster intellectual curiosity and encourage an appreciation of learning through the sustained analysis of ideas, values, and practices; and through intuition, imagination, and aesthetic experience. Teacher candidates are expected to develop a philosophy of teaching and learning. This philosophy and continuous professional growth should include values, commitments, and professional development.

As part of a premiere research institution, the IU Bloomington teacher education community is committed to seeing inquiry practices and an inquiry orientation as foundational to all our teacher education programs. This commitment means that undergraduate instructors rarely tell teacher candidates what it means to be an effective teacher, but instead provide guidance along with intellectual and practical entry points into the range of literature, scholarly debates, and experiences that help define contemporary education. Candidates, as a result of this inquiry orientation, will develop the understandings necessary to become effective teachers. In other words, "inquiry" and "practice," "research" and "teaching," "thinking" and "doing" are expected to be integrated concepts and activities, rather than oppositional ones.

Accountability and improvement in teacher preparation are central to IU Bloomington's mission. Graduates of all of our teacher education programs are expected to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions expected of beginning teachers as set forth by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) and as adopted by the Indiana Professional Standards Board (IPSB) in its new licensing regulations, known as Rules 2000. Through these standards that focus on systematic assessment and performance-based learning, our teacher education programs commit to engaging in continuous reevaluation and improvement.

As we begin this new millennium, our individual and collective efforts in the School of Education at IU Bloomington continue to be focused on developing the very best possible experiences for teacher candidates, and ultimately on improving the quality of education for P-12 pupils. We eagerly begin this new phase of Indiana University's 150-year institutional commitment: to offer exemplary educational opportunities for prospective teachers and to enhance the quality of educational experiences in classrooms throughout Indiana, the nation, and the world.

Our teacher education programs …

  • Promote learning through inquiry
  • Foster intellectual curiosity
  • Encourage an appreciation of learning through intuition, imagination, and aesthetic experience

Our teacher candidates …

  • Develop a philosophy of teaching and learning
  • Commit themselves to lifelong intellectual, personal, and professional growth