In our initial programs, candidates learn to develop and implement lessons that support all students in (1) planning instruction that builds upon students’ prior knowledge and experience, (2) provide various ways and repeated opportunities for students to access and interact with the lesson content, (3) include multiple ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge and (4) utilizes appropriate and varied forms to assess student learning. Candidates also learn about the factors that foster a positive classroom environment in which all students are respected and valued, and to welcome collaboration with their students’ families and caregivers. Fieldwork and clinical practice opportunities allow these assignments to be situated in real life classrooms and provide candidates with multiple opportunities to support the learning of the diverse student populations found at our fieldwork sites
For example, in the Single Subject Program (including most APE candidates), the prerequisite courses EDUC 417, EDSS 418 and EDSP 433 build the initial framework through the inclusion of topics that examine the history of bilingual education, construction and transmission of cultural assumptions, adolescent identity (gender, family, sexual) and exceptionalities and require candidates to gain knowledge, understanding and empathy regarding these issues. This knowledge, understanding and empathy is the foundation for candidates to 1) explore issues in depth, such as the Culture Project in EDSS 442 in which candidate groups study, report, and teach about a specific cultural group; 2) apply specific teaching strategies, such as SDAIE and sheltered lessons, in lesson plan writing in EDSS 444 and EDSS 446 and 3) assemble appropriate instructional materials for a diverse student population, such as the Text Set in EDSS 446 and the Unit Plan in EDSS 444. Finally, in student teaching and its seminar, EDSS 458 and EDSS 459, candidates use their growing knowledge of diversity to teach, assess learning, and reflect on student growth and their own teaching in culturally, linguistically, and academically appropriate and effective way.
The Preliminary Education Specialist Credential program intentionally develops the understanding and sensitivity of candidates toward the various forms of diversity present in California’s classrooms. Specific reference to this commitment can be seen in EDSP 400 where students explore differences in culture, cultural heritage, ethnicity, language, age, religion, social economic status, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, and abilities and disabilities of individuals served. Cultural and linguistic diversity is further explored in EDSS 446 and EDMS 463. Credential specific coursework and field experiences equip candidates with research-based assessment and instructional strategies to help plan instruction to meet the needs of diverse students. In EDSP 422B, candidates observe skillful teachers developing, adapting and modifying curriculum to meet the differential needs of students. Specific guidance on the assessment of diverse students and varying language, communication, and cognitive abilities is offered in EDSP 423 and 426 while instructional strategies are examined in EDSP 425. During clinical practice, candidates use their expanding knowledge of diversity to teach, assess learning, and reflect on student growth. As a part of their clinical practice candidates are evaluated on their ability to consider diverse student and family needs during the assessment process, planning and delivery of instruction, and school-family contacts.
The Multiple Subject program follows a similar progression that begins with developing a strong foundation that facilitates the understanding and integration of university coursework during practicum experiences. Prerequisite courses build the knowledge base. For example, EDMS 470: Multicultural Pedagogy provides candidates with attitude-changing experiences in its “Culture Shock” and other assignments. EDUC 417 and EDEC 420 expand this knowledge base from which candidates begin to build pedagogical skills in content areas that allow all students to learn. These skills are developed through (1) observations and classroom assessments focused on critical multicultural pedagogy, special education and English learners (EDMS 463); (2) case studies of English learners, (EDMS 411); (3) the application of instructional strategies that are representative of an inclusive classroom (EDMS 471); and (4) the development of lesson plans that support all students in learning (EDMS 474 & EDMS 475). Field experience and clinical practice (EDMS 476 and EDMS 482) are tightly linked in the Multiple Subject program providing a supportive environment to practice and hone their skill in teaching the diverse student body found in our local schools (Table 4.3.a-j).
Field experiences and clinical practice for initial programs provide experiences with male and female PreK-12 students from different socioeconomic groups and a variety of ethnic/racial groups ethnic groups. Candidates also work with ELLs and students with disabilities during field experiences and/or clinical practice to develop and practice their knowledge, skills and professional dispositions for working with all students. Field sites in the preliminary credential programs are diverse in location within the service area and in size (Table 4.3.a-j). Elementary schools range in size from 178 to 976 students, middle school/junior high sites range between 127 and 1012 students, and high school sites range between 183 and 2506 students. For the analysis of English language learners, free lunch, and minority students, sites were divided into high, middle, and low levels of diversity (see Table Codes). The four programs surveyed vary in the diversity of their sites. Twenty-five percent of sites have high or medium levels of English language learners, 59.1% have high or medium levels of free lunch recipients, and 73.7% have high or medium levels of minority students.