Wheelock College Standards for Teachers

At Wheelock we know what it means to teach, and to teach well. The knowledge and experience gained in our long history is reflected in the Wheelock College Standards for Teachers. The standards contain a particular focus on social justice, which sets ours apart from the state and other professional standards. We collectively believe that the purpose of education is not to replicate the status quo, but rather to question it so that we develop citizens who will participate in improving living conditions for all people. The standards, created by the faculty in the School of Education and Child Life, are woven into the education curriculum, and are used to help students develop their philosophy of education.

Standard 1: Advocacy for Social Justice

Educators who embrace a social justice perspective should attend to inequalities associated with race, social class, gender, language, and other social categories. They should consciously look for alternatives to established educational practices that support the learning, development, and academic achievement of all children, but particularly those from less privileged, less powerful groups. Educators should employ multicultural, anti-racist, anti-bias educational practices which foster deep engagement in learning, and high academic achievement, among all children.

Standard 2: Understanding all children in their many dimensions

Educators should know their students as individuals and as learners, and know how to relate to them in a variety of ways. They should be familiar with the culture, histories, and values of the communities and families they serve, and know the attributes of the individual children and families with whom they work. Educators should be aware of the range of special needs their children may have, and be able to seek out information concerning the strengths, and resources for addressing the developmental and learning needs of specific children. They should use their knowledge of variations in development, disabilities, and second language acquisition to support children's physical, emotional, social, cognitive, linguistic, intellectual, and creative development. Educators should observe and listen to children as they work, learn and play in a variety of settings to gain insights into what their students know, how they think, what they value, who they are, where they come from, and what motivates them. Their knowledge of children and families, language and culture, and community development should motivate them to view children's actions and responses through multiple lenses and explanatory frameworks. They should understand that the more they learn about their students, the better they can tailor their teaching to engage children in active learning and meet their specific needs.

Standard 3: Knowledge of content and integrated curriculum

Educators should know, understand, and use the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of content for children in the age/grade levels they teach. They should be able to create meaningful learning experiences which develop children's understanding of subject matter and competence in the use of skills. Educators should plan integrated units of curriculum and instruction based upon their knowledge of subject matter, curriculum goals, and developmentally appropriate practices within and among the families, communities, and cultures from which their children come.

Standard 4: Educational practices that foster learning, development, and achievement in all of the nation's children

Educators should use teaching strategies and educational practices which develop children's capacity to think critically, analytically, and imaginatively, and that extends their knowledge and understanding of the world. They should provide multiple ways for children to deepen their grasp of important topics, stretch their thinking, express their understandings, and learn critical skills. They should search for appropriate materials, experiment with new technologies, collaborate with specialists and colleagues, and consult with families and community members to meet the instructional needs of all their students. Educators should establish caring, inclusive, stimulating, and safe learning communities in which all children feel they belong, and in which they can assume responsibility, take intellectual risks, make mistakes, explore alternatives, participate in decision making, and work both collaboratively and independently. Educators should understand principles of effective classroom management as well as human motivation and behavior from the foundational sciences of psychology, anthropology, and sociology. They should understand cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning and how these
processes can be stimulated. They should also understand language development and the role of language in learning. Educators should understand principles and techniques, and advantages and limitations associated with various teaching strategies. They should be able to communicate effectively within many domains (oral and written discourse, mathematical/symbolic representation, non-verbal communication, audiovisual and computer-based technologies), and model effective communication strategies in conveying information and in asking questions.

Standard 5: Assessment in a multi-racial, multicultural democracy

Educators should understand that assessment is an integral part of teaching, and that children's developmental and academic interests, accomplishments, and challenges should drive their daily instructional decisions. They should know the different uses, advantages, limitations, and biases
of different types of assessments, and understand that appropriate assessment must consider the cultural, familial, and community contexts from which children come. Educators should know how to use a variety of formal and informal assessment tools and strategies to monitor and promote each student's learning and development. They use both formative and summative assessment to determine students' understanding in each subject area. They should also be aware of technological tools that can facilitate assessment.

Standard 6: Reflective practice in diverse settings

Educators should continually reflect on their practice to extend their knowledge, improve their teaching, and refine their evolving philosophy of education. They should stay abreast of developments in the profession, and be able to think critically about various teaching practices. Educators should continually strengthen their knowledge of subject matter through research, reading, study, and collaboration with colleagues, and strive to deepen their understanding of children's learning and development through classroom-based action research. They should be open to change and innovation and continually engage in the process of professional growth.

Standard 7: Family, community, and professional partnerships in a diverse society

Educators should view their students' families as partners in their work. They should understand that children's academic success is fostered by strong communication, shared goals, and mutually reinforcing practices, and that children's motivation and sense of well-being in the classroom is supported by the setting's affirmation of the child's home and culture. Educators should define their professional responsibilities to include a commitment to the continuing growth and development of their colleagues, their settings, their profession, and their communities. They should be familiar with legal, ethical, and policy issues, and understand the importance of advocating for children, families, and themselves in a variety of professional, political, and policymaking contexts.

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