Standard 4: Relationships Between Theory and Practice
The professional teacher preparation program at Fresno State provides extensive opportunities for candidates to analyze, implement, and reflect on the relationships between theory and practice related to teaching and learning. Beginning with Phase 1, CI 171: Understanding the Learner, Instructional Design and Assessment and LEE 172: Cultural and Language Contexts of the Classroom, candidates explore the literature informing theories of human growth and development, language acquisition and development, motivational theory, and social and cultural issues of education. [See CI 171 syllabus: Assignment: Case Study.] [See LEE 172 syllabus: Reflection Assignment.]

Through coursework related to curriculum and subject-specific pedagogy, classroom observations, and supervised fieldwork, candidates examine educational theories and research and their relationships to (a) pedagogical strategies and options, and (b) student accomplishments, attitudes, and conduct.  Coursework and field experiences are designed to support candidates as they sequentially practice designing, teaching, assessing, and reflecting upon teaching strategies related to research-based theories of learning.  Working collaboratively, course instructors and field supervisors encourage and enable candidates to use and reflect on their understanding of relevant theory and research and the use of ongoing observation and assessment in making instructional decisions and improving pedagogical practices.

The teacher preparation program provides extensive opportunities for candidates to analyze, implement and reflect on the relationships between foundational issues, theories, and professional practice related to teaching and learning.

The Multiple Subject credential program at Fresno State provides for coherent, recurring examination of foundational issues and their relationships to professional practice. In CI 171: Understanding the Learner, Instructional Design and Assessment, the candidates examine foundational issues through exposure to the psychological theorists who have shaped American educational principles throughout the years with a focus on core issues that are highly relevant to K-12 education.  Candidates consider the functions learning serves in human life, the nature and functioning of the human cognitive system (including its strengths and limitations), the nature of motivation, the sequences of growth and development, and the strengths and weaknesses of schools in the support of human learning. Foundational issues continued to be explored as they relate to curricular decisions. [See CI 171 syllabus:  Case Study and Design for Instruction Assignments.]

In LEE 172: Cultural and Language Contexts of the Classroom, candidates reflect on the broader purposes of education in a socially and culturally diverse society, personal and social values that inform classroom practice, and systematic problems such as racism, gender bias, and justice that historically have impacted educational opportunities and outcomes. Candidates are introduced to social justice and equity issues through the lens of culture and language and explore the literature on school through this perspective. These issues and the literature that inform them are explored through dialogue, projects, and structured field observation experiences with follow-up discussions.  [See LEE 172 syllabus:  Cultural Awareness Project and Content Lesson Observations.]

Additional curriculum and instruction courses build on philosophical, psychological, social, and cultural understandings as candidates examine and design lessons and units to implement the state curriculum standards and frameworks, the California Standards for the Teaching Profession, the Teaching Performance Expectations, and methodological principles for promoting learning. Particular attention is given to active learning models, inclusive practices, strategies for teaching English language learners, and the importance of expecting high standards of performance from all students.  These issues are taught in coursework, practiced in concurrent field experiences and student teaching placements, and assessed through classroom observations and performance assessments. [See LEE 172 syllabus.]

In coursework, classroom observations, and supervised fieldwork candidates examine research-based theories and their relationships to (a) principles of human learning and development; (b) pedagogical strategies and options; (c) curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and (d) student accomplishments, attitudes, and conduct.

Candidates become acquainted with research-based theories and principles of human learning and development across all phases in the program.  In CI 171: Understanding the Learner, Instructional Design and Assessment, candidates are introduced to several theories of learning and development with emphasis placed on those theories that support or derive from contemporary cognitive psychology and models of human growth, development, and language acquisition. Through structured classroom observations and the discussions that follow, candidates begin to reflect on how these theories and models inform effective school policies and practices. [See CI 171 syllabus:  Case Study and Design for Instruction Assignments.] [See EHD 174, EHD 178, EHD 170 syllabi.]  [See Multiple Subject Field Work Handbook.] [See FAST Manual.]  In LEE 172: Cultural and Language Contexts of the Classroom, candidates explore contemporary models of learning and development and how they are related to the social and cultural contexts of contemporary, urban, American public schools. [See LEE 172 syllabus.]

Consistent with the cognitive orientation of the program, teacher candidates are introduced to the theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, Erickson, Chomsky, Kohlberg, and Flavell in the area of human development. In the area of human learning, they explore the theories of such theorists as Dewey, Bruner, Goleman, and Gardner. [See CI 171 syllabus.]  Social, cultural, and philosophical contexts for learning and development are explored through the study of such theorists as Freire, Nieto, Cummins, and Krashen. [See LEE 172 syllabus.] The overall thrust of the focus on human development is to help candidates draw on the insights of a considerable variety of researchers and theorists and integrate these into a coherent image of what learning is and the connections between the developmental continuum and instructional practices.

Working collaboratively, course instructors, program field supervisors, and district supportpersonnelexplain and illustrate a variety of models of teaching and the application of these models contextually.  They instruct and coach candidates to use and reflect on their understanding of relevant theory and research in making instructional decisions and improving pedagogical practices and how these theories and practices inform school policies and practices.

Curriculum and instruction courses in the Multiple Subject Credential program ( CI 175: Science Instruction and Applied Technology [See CI 175 syllabus:  Assignment:  Model Lesson Presentation.]; CI 176: Mathematics Instruction and Applied Assessment; LEE 173: Teaching Reading and Social Studies in Grades 4-8; and LEE 177: Teaching Reading and the Arts in Grades K-3) build on and enrich foundational understandings introduced through the first semester foundational classes ( CI 171: Understanding the Learner, Instructional Design and LEE 172: Cultural and Language Contexts of the Classroom).

Foundational concepts related to learning and language acquisition and development, equity and justice, and the purposes and processes of education are applied as conceptual tools for analyzing and reflecting on state frameworks and content standards, as well as the California Standards for the Teaching Profession and the Teaching Performance Expectations. Candidates are expected to apply foundational concepts to practice through field observation experiences, the writing of lesson and Teaching Project plans [See CI 171 syllabus:  Design for Instruction Assignment.], and the teaching and assessing of appropriate, effective lessons as they progress from part-time teaching ( EHD 174: Field Study A: Grades 4-8 and EHD 178: Field Study B: Grades K-3) to full-time teaching placements ( EHD 170: Field Study C). Candidates are assessed on their understanding of and ability to apply these theories in the classroom through performance assessments and structured observations. [ See Multiple Subject Handbook and FAST Manual.]

Candidates are taught to make informed instructional decisions based on ongoing assessment of students in the classroom. In conjunction with the background supplied in Phase 1 related to human growth and development, language acquisition and development, and motivation theory, candidates are introduced to a wide range of literacy assessments in the two required reading classes ( LEE 173: Teaching Reading and Social Studies in Grades 4-8 and LEE 177: Teaching Reading and the Arts in Grades K-3). [See LEE 173 and LEE 177 syllabi.]

They also learn to use informed decisions through ongoing assessment in the math and science methods classes ( CI 176: Mathematics Instruction and Applied Assessment and CI 175: Science Instruction and Applied Technology). [See CI 176 syllabus:  Mini Unit Assignment.] 

[See CI 175 syllabus:  Model Lesson Presentation.]

Candidates are expected to use their foundation of human growth and development, as well as their knowledge of content and age-appropriate assessments, in the designing and teaching of effective lessons. During their teaching practice assignments ( EHD 174: Field Study A: Grades 4-8, EHD 178: Field Study B: Grades K-3, and EHD 170: Field Study C), candidates are observed regularly, given consistent feedback, and expected to reflect on lessons taught examining their performance, their interactions with students, and student learning outcomes. [ See Multiple Subject Handbook.]

In keeping with our program design to support candidates to make principled instructional decisions based on ongoing student observation and assessment, program faculty and university (field) supervisors explain, model, and engage candidates in discussion and reflections of their student teaching practices and decisions. Candidates are encouraged to use well-researched models of instruction with a focus on active-learning, inclusive practices, and strategies for giving all students access to rigorous core curriculum. Drawing on the foundational knowledge, instructional strategies reflect the understanding of concepts related to human development, second language acquisition and development, motivational theory, social justice and equity issues, and the expectation that all students can learn.

Candidates are introduced to a wide range of instructional models in CI 171: Understanding the Learner, Instructional Design, and Assessment, as well as the other content-specific methodology classes. [See CI 171 syllabus: Design for Instruction Assignment.] These models are demonstrated by coursework instructors and practiced in simulation activities and fieldwork placements. [ See Multiple Subject Handbook.]

During the process of learning, practicing, and refining teaching models appropriate for various ages and curricular contexts, candidates are observed on a regular basis and given feedback to help them further refine their repertoire of teaching strategies and models. In SPED 179: Differentiated Instruction and Classroom Management, candidates reflect again on teaching models and to design and plan lessons that meet the needs of all students through differentiation or modification due to student diversity and pedagogical circumstances. Candidates are encouraged to work closely with their Master Teachers in selecting and applying instructional strategies in a variety of situations.

Candidates enrolled in the Multiple Subject Credential Early Childhood Education Program (ECE) are provided with a wide variety of teaching models, including those specific to teaching and assessing children from birth through grade three.  LEE 148 (Integrated Curriculum) and its concurrent fieldwork ( EHD 178ECE) provide an opportunity for candidates to hone pedagogical practices with preschool aged children in the Joyce M. Higgins Early Learning Center and with K-3 students in language and culturally diverse elementary school settings [See LEE 148 syllabus: Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Assessment & EHD 178ECE syllabus.] while CI 171ECE requires candidates to evaluate the developmental levels of children from birth through age five. [See CI 171ECE syllabus.]

Also of note is the ECE Program’s linkage of reading coursework with fieldwork modeling and practice. The ECE fieldwork supervisor coordinates reading coursework (LEE173 ECE and LEE177 ECE) content with master teacher demonstrations in concurrent fieldwork (EHD174 ECE and EHD178 ECE).  Each week candidates enrolled in LEE173 ECE have the opportunity to observe an upper elementary classroom teacher teach her students using the reading and language arts strategies taught that week in LEE173 ECE, Teaching Literacy and English Language Development in Grades 4-8. [See EHD 174ECE Syllabus.]  For the next week candidates prepare a lesson plan for which they receive feedback from the supervisor that utilizes that taught and demonstrated strategy.  Candidates then teach that lesson, again receive feedback, and provide a written reflection as to the effectiveness of their instruction based on assessed student learning.  The same model is implemented in Phase 2 when candidates are enrolled in LEE177ECE, Language and Literacy Development and Instruction and its concurrent fieldwork EHD 178ECE. [See EHD 178ECE syllabus.]

Intern Program Delivery Model:

In an intern delivery model, the program design addresses this standard in the specific context of being the teacher of record.

Candidates are expected to apply foundational concepts to practice through field observation experiences, the writing of lesson and Teaching Project plans [See CI 171 syllabus:  Design for Instruction Assignment.], and the teaching and assessing of appropriate, effective lessons as they progress from part-time teaching ( EHD 174: Field Study A: Grades 4-8 and EHD 178: Field Study B: Grades K-3) to full-time teaching placements in EHD 160A and 160B. Candidates are assessed on their understanding of and ability to apply these theories in the classroom through performance assessments and structured observations.

Assisting in the enhancement of the relationship between theory and practice is the university supervisor, on site Cooperating Teacher and the internship program support provider.

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