Indiana State University Newsroom



Bayh College of Education recognized for preparing future teachers

December 12, 2011

By giving future educators an in-depth experience in elementary and high school classrooms sooner, Indiana State University's Bayh College of Education has been recognized for its innovation.

College leaders recently presented the college's innovative teacher preparation program in Washington D.C. before a national audience.

Brad Balch, dean of the college, led a team in presenting its practices during the National Convening on Clinical Practice, which was hosted by Teachers for a New Era Learning Network and FHI 360, which is part of the National Institute for Work and Learning. Diana Quatroche, chair of early, elementary and special education, along with Susan Kiger, chair of curriculum, instruction and media technology and Marie Theisz, a recent clinical faculty associate employed with the Vigo County School Corporation, shared how Indiana State prepares future elementary, middle school and high school teachers for classrooms.

"This is a powerful testament to our strong K-12 partnership," Balch said. "It also is a strong statement about the value our faculty and students add to the K-12 teaching and learning environment. Our clinical practices are proven to improve K-12 student learning."

Indiana State requires the future educators to spend a semester in classrooms with mentor teachers before the student teaching, effectively giving university students one year of teaching experience. For the elementary education majors that program is called TOTAL (Teachers of Tomorrow Advancing Learning). For future secondary teachers, their program is called the Immersion Experience. In both, the university's students spend entire days and weeks in one classroom, working from bell to bell, observing and assisting a mentor teacher.

"They are unique nationally because they are rooted in real conditions of practice," Balch said of the programs. "As a result, our graduates are ready for the rigors of K-12 teaching and learning. Educator preparation quality is an imperative. These programs exemplify quality programming."

Brandon Chambers, a senior elementary education major from Bloomington, has recently finished his TOTAL experience.

"You understand what happens in the teaching world," he said. "It reinforces whether you want to be a teacher or not...It prepares you entirely for student teaching. Student teaching folks I've talked to said it flies by. They're prepared for what to expect. You feel at ease because you've experienced it."

The ISU team also spoke about the Clinical Faculty Associate investment, in which ISU brings a current high school, elementary or middle school teacher to the university for a year. That associate brings current perspectives into the university classroom and faculty meetings allowing the college to continue to evolve to meet education requirements.

"Needs and conditions of practice change in K-12," Balch said. "Our preparation programs must be responsive to those changes. Our programs are flexible and responsive to change. Outstanding faculty members are to be credited for this responsiveness."

Contact: Brad Balch, Indiana State University, Bayh College of Education dean, at 812-237-2919 or bradley.balch@indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, associate director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or jennifer.sicking@indstate.edu