Instructional Supports

The instructional components of STEP UP are aligned with the objectives of the program and designed to yield opportunities for candidates to develop the skills necessary to be highly effective first year teachers. Two components involve recurrent and scaffolded procedures that provide candidates mentorship to guide development of their teaching skills.

  • Co-planning → Co-teaching, where cooperating teachers serve as models, provide instructional input, and help candidates critically examine instructional practices. Cooperating teachers scaffold instruction in the sequence, providing greater direct support in the beginning, but reducing support over time as candidates demonstrate greater competency and become more independent.
  • Instructional opportunities with university supervisor → Candidate application in classroom → Reflection with peers, where candidates are given recurrent opportunities to make connections between course content and practical application in the classroom.

Other key instructional components are:

  • Professional Learning Community meetings with all cooperating teachers, candidates, and supervisor, where participants join in ongoing discussions/activities about effective teaching practices.
  • Professional Development (PD) for all participants, with a focus on coaching, mentoring, and co-teaching for cooperating teachers.
  • Participation of University Faculty in PD, action research, and program research opportunities.
  • Focus on Bridging Educational Theory to Classroom Practice, with opportunities for instruction embedded in course/seminar and development of skills through practical application in the classroom.
  • Focus on Data Literacy and Evidence-based Practice, with opportunities to develop knowledge and skills in coursework/seminar as applied in the authentic setting of the classroom.

Candidates will attend their classroom one full day each week in their first semester, with additional opportunities for school/district participation (e.g., attendance on first school day, PD, faculty meeting attendance). In their second semester, teacher candidates will be in their school setting five days a week throughout the semester. Candidates will be responsible for applying to the student teaching program and meet all Student Teaching Program requirements. Candidates will have multiple and recurrent opportunities to practice their teaching skills, with instruction that is scaffolded and graduated. As candidates progress through their two semesters, they will be expected to take on greater responsibility and independence as teachers in the classroom.