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Alternative Teacher Certification Curriculum

Program Curriculum 

It is essential that the program be readily available for teacher interns. Classes are offered in the evenings, including in the summer to accommodate students' work schedules.

Prospective students who have already completed a minimum of 24 hours in a subject content area need to complete, in most cases, 21 hours of professional development coursework in the alternative teacher certification program. This includes 15 hours of professional development coursework in the university classroom and six hours of internship in a school setting. A detailed review of each applicant’s transcript will determine exactly how many hours are required for certification.

Curriculum for the program is based on the traditional TLU Teacher Education program that has been aligned with SBEC’s approved new educator standards for Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities. When applicable, the standards emphasize the required statewide public school curriculum or the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which also reflect the current research on the developmental stages and needs of children from Early Childhood through Grade 12.

Emphasis is placed on proficiencies for teachers in learner-centered schools. Instruction addresses current research and methodology to provide teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful classroom teaching. Significant emphasis is placed on technology applications for beginning teachers. Interns have the opportunity to use a mobile technology lab during each class session. Benchmarks and assessments have been established to ensure attainment of standards, competencies, and proficiencies.

Teacher interns must meet all educational requirements that include professional development/competencies regarding area content, evaluations, assessments, field-based experiences, service learning projects, professional observations/appraisals, portfolios and attendance/participation. Interns must successfully complete all preparation program requirements and appropriate certification tests for their certification area. A thorough year-long internship is closely monitored by the TLU faculty. During the internship year, all students work with a mentor teacher in the school in addition to the university supervisor. The role of the mentor is to assist the student to develop into an independent, fully functioning reflective teacher who will regularly engage in problem-solving related to his or her own teaching. The mentor teacher also observes and assesses the intern’s performance in the classroom.

Course Descriptions 

EDUC332 Learning Processes and Evaluation
A study of the fundamentals of cognitive psychology which apply to the learning processes including: various taxonomies of learning; relationships among cognitive, physical and affective development in the discovery processes; nature and range of exceptionalities; intelligence, creativity and attitudes about learning. This project-based, applied learning course considers instructional leadership as well as functions, materials and methods of assessment.

EDUC431/432/433 Instructional Strategies 
A course which engages students with the investigation of contemporary instructional strategies and support and models for integrating subject area content. Particular focus will be placed on methods for delivering students’ teaching field content and options for integrating the subject area with other disciplines. Professional collaboration and the current technology used in area schools will be included

EDUC334A U.S. Schools
A survey course concerning the K-12 U.S. school system, including social and philosophical foundations of education; history, structure and school finance; the principles, objectives and development of curriculum and instruction; educational technology; social issues and K-12 students; school law and alternative schools.

READ332 Foundations of Literacy
A study of the five components of the science of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension) as applied to the emergent and early reader. Instruction is given on formal and informal assessments, as well as utilizing data to inform instruction.

EDUC437/438/471 Classroom Management
A specific application of methods and strategies of and comprehensive planning for instructional delivery and classroom management in EC-6, 4-8, 8-12 and EC-12 classrooms. The primary purposes of the course are to apply, integrate and synthesize skills in the context of a specific classroom as well as to set goals which strengthen professional confidence and identity. 

EDUC371 Introduction to Early Childhood Education
This is a required course for EC-6 certification only. A study of developmentally appropriate practices for programs serving children 0-8 years. Emphasized are the development and assessment of integrated curriculum and classroom management. This course is designed in a blended (hybrid) format with some online coursework included.

Collaboration With Local School Districts 

TLU possesses a long-standing tradition of producing quality teachers for the State of Texas. This program continues this tradition through collaboration with our multiple public school partners, effective standards-based preparation, and a commitment to teacher induction and retention. Seguin ISD, Navarro ISD, La Vernia ISD, Marion ISD, New Braunfels ISD, Comal ISD, Nixon-Smiley ISD, Floresville ISD, Fayetteville ISD, Gonzales ISD and other school districts in the region have expressed their support for the alternative teacher certification program at Texas Lutheran University. The districts enthusiastically support the TLU program as it enables them to hire outstanding teachers in a time of great teacher demand. 

Texas Lutheran University has developed a strong relationship with each of the districts in the region. TLU believes that one of its primary roles is to serve our surrounding school districts. The alternative teacher certification program allows TLU to work with districts in recruiting outstanding candidates from high-tech corporations, businesses, the military and the community-at-large who are interested in pursuing a rewarding career in teaching. Almost certainly, these individuals will bring relevant content area experience to the teaching profession. TLU works with the districts to identify outstanding candidates who are currently employed by the districts in paraprofessional or substitute teaching positions. TLU also works closely with individuals who are currently on emergency certification or who are certified in other areas.

Field-based Experience Guidelines 

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC), the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and the Texas State Board of Education recently revised the Texas Administrative Code that governs teacher certification programs (December 14, 2008). One section provides regulations for field-based experience ( TITLE 19; PART 7; CHAPTER 228; RULE §228.35).

TLU implements these provisions as follows: 

  • TLU provides evidence of on-going and relevant field-based experiences throughout the alternative teacher certification program. 
  • Students complete field-based experiences in a variety of educational settings with diverse student populations in districts with TEA accreditation. 
  • Field-based experiences include observation, modeling, and demonstration of effective practices to improve student learning. 
  • Students complete a minimum of 30 clock-hours of field-based experience. 
  • Students complete a minimum of 30 clock-hours of field-based experience prior to assignment in an internship. 
  • Students complete the required field-based experiences in a school representing their initial area of certification (i.e., EC-6, 4-8, 8-12, or all-level). 
  • Students have opportunity for self-reflection and discussion about field-based experiences to allow them to maximize this learning opportunity by sharing each others’ experiences with guidance from a TLU facilitator. 
  • Students complete written reflections to help them internalize their field experiences. 
  • Students meet the requirement for field-based experiences through such activities as 
    • observation of specific teacher skills and student behaviors (questioning techniques, classroom management, offering praise, etc) 
    • reading aloud to whole class, one-on-one, or small groups
    • monitoring and assisting students
    • working with individual students or small groups
    • assisting with learning stations
    • other activities that allow the student to be actively engaged in the teaching and learning process

For more information about field-based experience procedures and forms, contact the program director.

Meeting the Reading Requirement 

Students admitted after January 1, 2009, must meet the TEA requirement for reading instruction (TAC Chapter 228). To meet this requirement, students accepted into the program will fulfill the reading requirement through a course within the program, READ332.

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