Sandra McLendon, EdD, Dean
Vision of the School of Education
In keeping with the vision of Southern Wesleyan University, the School of Education seeks to produce educators who have instilled principles related to faith, living, learning, and professionalism in order to significantly and positively affect student achievement.
Mission of the School of Education
The mission of the School of Education is to prepare men and women to become Christian educators by fostering scholarship and a Christian ethic of care in the image and nature of Jesus so as to produce teachers who are leaders and world changers within the education profession.
The mission statement of Southern Wesleyan University refers to preparing students “by educating them with excellence, by equipping them for service, by fostering spiritual growth and maturity, and by mobilizing them as leaders and world changers. In accord with the mission statements and its basic tenets, the School of Education has adopted as the theme statement, “Educators who demonstrate scholarship within a Christian ethic of care.”
Accordingly, courses in the School of Education seek to integrate the following dispositions:
- The teacher candidate demonstrates an ethic of care towards self by exhibiting a biblical approach to life that is demonstrated by a passion for learning.
- The teacher candidate demonstrates an ethic of care towards learners by displaying an enthusiasm about teaching as demonstrated by compassionate and respectful interactions with learners.
- The teacher candidate demonstrates an ethic of care towards colleagues by engaging in collaborative work practices as demonstrated by compassionate and respectful interactions with colleagues.
- The teacher candidate demonstrates an ethic of care towards the community by recognizing the community as an integral part of the learning process as demonstrated by valuing its pluralist nature.
Purpose of the Teacher Education Program
In keeping with the ultimate mission of the University to integrate faith, learning, and living, the School of Education, along with other Divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences offering teacher certification, seeks to instill principles related to faith, living, learning, and professionalism within those pursuing an education degree with the intention of obtaining teacher certification and becoming a classroom instructor who impacts the learning of PK-12 learners.
Goals of the Teacher Education Program
Standard #1: Learner Development
The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.
Standard #2: Learning Differences
The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.
Standard #3: Learning Environments
The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
Standard #4: Content Knowledge
The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.
Standard #5: Application of Content
The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.
Standard #6: Assessment
The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.
Standard #7: Planning for Instruction
The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.
Standard #8: Instructional Strategies
The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.
Standard #9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice
The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.
Standard #10: Leadership and Collaboration
The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.
Principle #11: The teacher demonstrates dispositions that promote scholarship within a Christian ethic of care. (not INTASC)
All teacher candidates should see the School of Education Teacher Candidate Handbook for specific goals and objectives for individual education programs.
Undergraduate Major Degree Programs
The School of Education offers curriculum sequences in early childhood education, elementary education, early childhood/elementary education, physical education and special education that lead to a Bachelor of Science degree and teacher certification through the South Carolina State Department of Education. The special education program prepares the undergraduate for PK-12 multi-categorical (mild to moderate disabilities) certification in the areas of emotional disabilities/ behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and mental disabilities.
All programs include a general education strand, an appropriate content area strand, and a professional education strand specific to the major. The syllabi of courses required for the preparation of educational personnel in each professional education program reflect knowledge bases, current research, effective practice, and school effectiveness. Further, the course content has been aligned to the principles of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), the respective Specialized Professional Association (SPA) standards, the South Carolina state curriculum standards, the ADEPT assessment instrument, and the Southern Wesleyan University School of Education dispositions.
||Certification Grade Levels
|Early Childhood Education
|Early Childhood/Elementary Combination
|Early Childhood and Family Studies
The teacher candidate must complete professional education courses and the required number of courses in each major to fulfill the certification standards mandated by the South Carolina Department of Education. The teacher candidate should refer to the School of Education Student Handbook for detailed information regarding the requirements for the teacher-education program.
Education Program General Requirements
The teacher candidate should discuss the educational goals and program requirements with education faculty and the major advisor near the beginning of the college career. Graduation with a degree that includes required education courses does not guarantee state certification. Candidates must meet all state requirements for certification in order to be recommended for a certificate. The South Carolina State Department of Education may change its requirements for teacher certification while a teacher candidate is completing the undergraduate education major program. Therefore, the teacher candidate’s program may be affected by any of these revisions which are not considered in this catalog or the School of Education Student Handbook. The requirements for the education major programs and teacher certification specified in Southern Wesleyan University documents reflect current South Carolina State Department of Education guidelines. Therefore, the teacher candidate should remain informed through participation in education meetings, education classes, and advising sessions.
Praxis Core: Academic Skills for Educators
In order to be accepted into a Teacher Education program, the teacher candidate is required by the South Carolina State Department of Education to pass Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, which measures reading, writing, and mathematics skills. The teacher candidate who has achieved a minimum SAT score of 1100 for the old SAT (Verbal and Math); 1650 for the new SAT (Verbal, Math, Writing) or a composite ACT score of 24 may waive these assessments. The teacher candidate should see the respective education advisor for additional information. The teacher candidate should pass all three tests by the first semester of the sophomore year in order to apply for admission to Lock I.
Responsibility of the Teacher Candidate
Southern Wesleyan University places the responsibility of fulfilling all requirements for graduation with the teacher candidate. A teacher candidate should be familiar with the appropriate graduation requirements as stated in the Southern Wesleyan University General Catalog and the additional requirements explained in the School of Education Teacher Candidate Handbook, available online at http://www.swu.edu/academics/education.
State law requires that each person enrolled in a teacher education program in South Carolina be advised by the University that a prior criminal record could prevent certification as a teacher in this state. The South Carolina State Department of Education requires each teacher candidate to submit fingerprints and undergo a state criminal-records check by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and a national criminal-records check by the FBI before the candidate is cleared to participate in clinical experiences. Teacher candidates who have questions about this requirement should see the Coordinator of Field Studies.
A teacher candidate may not graduate or participate in commencement exercises unless all academic and extra-academic requirements have been satisfied. The teacher candidate is responsible for completing all the necessary paperwork and submitting it to the School of Education and/or the Office of the Records before graduation deadlines.
Failure to follow University and State requirements, schedules, and deadlines may result in a delay of one or more semesters in the teacher candidate’s program and planned graduation.
Teacher Education Admission Levels
In order to ensure the quality of the teacher education program at Southern Wesleyan University and the teaching profession, a system has been established to monitor the progress of each teacher candidate enrolled in the program. Some of the criteria associated with these admission levels are mandated by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the South Carolina State Department of Education. Others are required to meet prerequisites established by the University and the School of Education. Each requirement of an admission level must be successfully met, or the teacher candidate will be denied permission to take additional education courses and/or required to meet additional requirements as set forth in a Plan of Action developed by the candidate’s advisor(s).
Each of the three levels of admission is referred to as a “Lock.” A canal lock is a mechanism that lifts or lowers water vessels, such as boats and barges, from one water level to another. Similarly, the School of Education “Locks” facilitate the “elevation” of the candidate from one level of admission to another.
The teacher candidate planning to complete a teacher-certification program at Southern Wesleyan University must meet the requirements for admission to the Teacher Education Program in addition to those related to obtaining teacher certification. The teacher candidate must begin the admission process at the conclusion of the second semester of study and continue to complete additional requirements at prescribed points in succeeding semesters. It is the teacher candidate’s responsibility to initiate the procedures related to each step in the process. Failure to do so may adversely affect the teacher candidate’s completion of the professional education courses and the respective major courses in a timely fashion.
The Lock System of Assessment
The teacher-education candidate is responsible for reading the full explanation of the Lock Assessment System in the School of Education Teacher-Candidate Handbook, available online at http://www.swu.edu/academics/education.
Field Experience Placements
It is the strong belief among the faculty members of the School of Education that the teacher candidate’s preparation for the education profession should include field experiences in classrooms that reflect a diverse student population. These classrooms should include students who are characterized by differences in race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and abilities. Accordingly, the Coordinator of Field Studies will assign the teacher candidate to varying cooperating schools and grade levels that include a demographic makeup that approximates that of the diverse communities comprising the local school districts. Specifically, the teacher candidate will be assigned to a minimum of three different grade levels in three different schools in fulfillment of the requirements of the field experiences.
This is the last field experience prior to the clinical experience (student teaching) and involves the teacher candidate in cooperating classrooms at two different levels. At least one of these assigned pre-clinical classrooms will usually serve as the classroom in which the teacher candidate will partially fulfill the requirements for the clinical experience. A total of 80 hours is required in the cooperating classrooms, half of which must be fulfilled in each academic setting. The teacher candidate will prepare lesson plans and teach lessons in the cooperating classrooms. In order for the teacher candidate to continue to the clinical experience, the cooperating teachers must submit favorable evaluations regarding the student’s role in their classroom.
The capstone courses for the education major are EDUC 4627 Clinical Experience I and EDUC 4637 Clinical Experience II, which occur during the teacher candidate’s last semester. The clinical experience must be considered the highest priority among the teacher candidate’s other activities. The fact that the student’s schedule has been arranged so that all academic requirements have been fulfilled prior to the Clinical Experience attests to the importance the School of Education faculty assigns to the Clinical Experience semester. The teacher candidate must provide evidence that the Praxis II content area tests have been passed before admission to Lock II and Expanded ADEPT Plan. (Before state licensure can be obtained the teacher candidate must pass both the Principles of Learning and Teaching and the Praxis II: Subject Assessments exams). Because of the demands inherent with Clinical Experience responsibilities, maintaining outside employment during the clinical experience semester is strongly discouraged. Permission from the Coordinator of Field Studies must be obtained to maintain outside employment, when necessary.
The teacher candidate is evaluated for competency in each of the ten Performance Standards of the South Carolina System for Assisting, Developing, and Evaluating Professional Teaching (ADEPT). The ADEPT instrument is used to evaluate the teacher candidate in a fashion that simulates the formal-evaluation process of a teacher employed in the state of South Carolina with at least a provisional contract.
Detailed information regarding the entire Clinical Experience semester is contained in the School of Education Clinical Experience Handbook. This document is distributed to all teacher candidates during the orientation sessions that are scheduled prior to the beginning of the semester during which the teacher candidate plans to complete the Clinical Experience. It is also available online at http://www.swu.edu/academics/education when the teacher candidate clicks on the “Education Resources” link.
Attendance at all orientation sessions is mandatory in preparation for the clinical experience.