I have been teaching math and science methods courses for about fifteen years. During most of that time, I had felt restricted by my students' lack of experience in real classrooms. It always seemed that the things I wanted to present were just slightly out of context. Oh sure they had all been students, but that was on the other side of the line. My tenure at Longwood started in the same way. I was teaching a methods course in a college classroom to students who had limited experience in real classrooms beyond their time as students.
In the middle of my first year at Longwood I became aware of the INTIME project. I was not fully aware of the details of the project, but I was interested in making more profitable use of technology in teaching the methods course. This project seemed like a good vehicle for adjusting and improving the things I had been doing.
I was offered the opportunity to participate in the INTIME conference planning meeting that would be held the following June. My participation in that meeting with representatives form several other Renaissance Grant Institutions made the goals of the project more clear to me. The project presented two resources that seemed most valuable to me.
The first resource was the "model". This model presented the context of the teaching process in an organized way. I suppose most of us include these things in a methods course, but this model was a valuable alternative both for my students and me and it was available to us on line.
The second resource was composed of a set of Classroom video clips. This set of videos initially seemed like they would be extremely valuable classroom resources. The teaching process was depicted, a narrative and analysis by the teacher was included, and they were correlated to aspects of the model.
The methods course that I teach, EDUC 450 is an extensive six credit hour course, which encompasses generic teaching methods as well as curriculum and teaching methods for mathematics, science and social studies in the elementary school.
Implementation of Project
EDUC 450: Principles of Instructional. The following objectives are aligned with INTIME:
Course Objectives: Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions
Knowledge: The student will be able to:
- Identify strategies appropriate for use in the teaching of the elementary and middle school curriculum.
- identify activities for use in the teaching of all subjects at the elementary and middle school levels.
- explain the role that motivation, aptitude, and interest had in learning the elementary content areas, particularly math, science, and social studies.
- explain generic teaching strategies involved in teaching of 6-8 grade subjects.
- identify research on teaching and teacher effectiveness.
- discuss professional responsibilities required of elementary and middle school teachers.
Skills: The student will be able to:
- apply proven instructional strategies for the teaching of math, science, and social studies in the elementary/middle level classroom.
- select and use appropriate concrete materials in an elementary/middle level instructional program.
- select and use appropriate software in an elementary/middle level instructional program.
- analyze the teaching of math, science, and social studies in the elementary/middle level classroom in relation to research, standards, and the
- observe, instruct, and analyze elementary school pupils.
- generate ideas and create activities for use in teaching math, science, and social studies in the elementary and middle school classroom.
- recognize the importance of technology as a teaching source in the elementary and middle school classroom.
- develop lesson plans for use in the teaching of all subjects at the elementary and middle school levels.
- develop assessment rubrics.
- demonstrate how to structure and implement a well-defined, effective standards based integrated curriculum including how to adapt existing curricula and assess curricular effectiveness.
- demonstrate an understanding of elementary content area standards, theories, and practices with emphasis in math, science, and social studies.
- apply the concept of time utilization and its importance in instructional practices.
Dispositions: The student will be able to:
- appreciate the role of parent involvement and its importance in the education of children.
- appreciate the complexity of the elementary and middle school curriculum.
- appreciate the many instructional practices required for the satisfactory completion of the elementary and middle school curriculum.
- know the importance of self-reflection in terms of teacher growth and development.
- understand that well thought out lesson plans and purposefully designed activities lead to successful teaching and successful student learning.
- understand that teachers--in order to be reflective leaders and practitioners--must be well versed, organized, and knowledgeable in their chosen profession.
- understand the importance of technology as a viable teaching source in the elementary and middle school classroom.
The course is centered around an assignment which has grown from my involvement with another Renaissance Grant. This assignment, a teacher work sample, has provided me with the primary opportunity to observe evidence of improved student learning. Students began to view the teaching process differently. They began to perceive teaching a multidimensional process rather than as a collection of separate acts. I believe that the structure of the model contributed to the students' developing concept of teaching.
I believe that INTIME has been a profitable experience for my colleagues, my students, and myself. It should be noted that until the spring semester of 2000 Longwood methods courses were taught on campus. Beginning in the spring 2000, methods courses became the center of partnerships with the rural school divisions surrounding Longwood. Students attended their methods classes at the school site and spent the remainder of the day working in classrooms in the school division. Students were spending almost 20 hours a week in a real classroom. My students and I were immersed in a living laboratory. The videos, which I had initially viewed as a very valuable resource, were replaced by the lively events of the day that we were all experiencing together. Another difficulty arose from the placement in a rural school setting. The facilities we were placed in lacked the technology to fully access the resource. Although the partnership school program affected our use of the INTIME program it does not diminish the value of this resource.