As part of this year’s College-wide review of the curriculum, each faculty member at Colby is being asked to complete the following exercise for the courses you are teaching this semester .  Please type your answers directly in this MS Word document and submit an electronic copy to Michael Donihue (  Your submission will become part of an electronic resource that documents the mission statements and curricular offerings of each department and program at Colby.  This resource will be used to facilitate curricular planning and evaluation of the academic program at the College.              


Instructor: Karen Kusiak


Course: Ed431 – Student Teaching Practicum   (This course is concurrent with Ed433 and is a pre-requisite to Ed437J – several of the goals for the three courses overlap. Nevertheless I am breaking out response to the questions for this Review of Academic Curriculum for each of the three courses – Ed431, Ed433, & Ed43J)

NB – The feminine pronoun is used in this document because this year I have all women in the class; last year I had more men than women. Thus these courses are not necessarily in the sphere of women only.


Learning Goals and Outcomes


a)        Describe the goals and expected outcomes you have for your students’ learning in this course.

1.        Gain knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for effective teaching in a selected certification area (English, mathematics, sciences, social studies, modern languages.)


2.        Create inclusive learning communities.


3.        Develop lesson activities that enhance student learning.


4.        Consider and critique popular educational practices or innovations.


5.        Locate and evaluate instructional media or artistic expressions and design ways to use media or artistic expressions effectively.


6.        Design an engaging unit of study developed from curriculum standards (e.g. Maine Learning Results) that includes coherent lesson plans, an outline of content, learning activities, and assessment protocols.


7.        Demonstrate oral and written communication appropriate for an academic environment (includes college and secondary school contexts.)


8.        Consider own growth as a teacher.


9.        Document progress toward meeting Maine’s Standards for Initial Certification of Teachers.


10.     Be prepared to complete a professional Teaching Portfolio in Spring Semester 2010.


11.     Understand steps to follow for teacher licensure.



b)        Explain how these learning goals and outcomes are communicated to your students (e.g., catalogue course descriptions, course syllabus, web page, instructions on homework or project assignments, exam review sessions). The goals above are written in the course syllabus. Goals #3, #5, #6 are reiterated on the written directions for assignments. Goal #6 is reiterated in the scoring rubric for the assignment. Directions for Goal #11 are provided to students during Jan Plan and again at the end of the students’ final semester at Colby.

c)        Describe the methods you use for evaluating the success of your students in attaining each of these learning goals (e.g., exams, homework, rubrics for essays or papers, group projects, rubrics for class presentations, exhibits, peer review, interviews).

Goal #1, holistic evaluation at end of the course;

Goal #2, classroom observation protocol

Goal #3, observation of in-class presentations, consideration of peer comments in class, reading the written lesson plan for acceptable format and sufficient content and a focus on social justice where applicable;

Goal #4, observation during class discussion, reading journals and specific assignment in which the students observe and analyze a classroom incident;

Goal #5, read lesson plan that uses media looking for suitable selection of media, appropriate introduction of the media as well as development of background information prior to viewing or accessing the media, and also for plans for appropriate follow-up activities;

Goal #6, Review drafts of unit plans in class, peer critique of unit plans, rubric to score format and understanding of “backward design” and content of the unit;

Goal #7, Read draft and final copy of formal research paper (approx 10 pages), discuss list of sources for research paper in face to face meeting with student, review lesson plans for correct format and sufficient content, review copies of letters of introduction to parents (of classroom students) for accurate grammar and suitable content and tone, review and comment on in-class oral presentation of one or two of ten different lesson formats, comment on oral summaries (10 minutes) of research and on oral  question and answer sessions (5 minutes), observation in classrooms where student is student teaching;

Goal #8, student self-assessment on paper and personal goal setting for Ed437J;

Goal #9, review of portfolio at end of senior year, observation in student teaching placement from October through January;

Goal #10, portfolio review with written comments based on rubric, portfolio conversation – Spring;

Goal #11, Students carry out the steps – if desired.  

d)        For particular components and assignments in this course, explain how you make the connection between these methods of evaluation and the goals and outcomes you have for your students’ learning in this course.

I find this item confusing but here goes…

Goal #1 is an overarching goal for the course, thus I do not have a specific assignment for this goal. All of the assignments in the course work to support this outcome of gaining knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for effective teaching in a selected certification area (English, mathematics, sciences, social studies, languages.)


Goal #2 While we discuss theory and practice related to creating inclusive schools and classrooms, I’m not able to assess the extent to which students are able to do this unless I observe the students directly (which I do 2 -3 times from October to December as an activity of Ed433.) I do make inferences about the students’ ability to create inclusive schools and classrooms based on comments written in journals, course papers, and discussion in class.


Goal #3 After I provide an introduction to one of the course texts - Larson & Keiper, Instructional Strategies for Middle and High School and also introduce the demonstration lesson assignment, students are asked to read chapters in Larson & Keiper which presents about 10 different lesson formats. Students select one or two lesson formats to “build out” with content from the subject area and grade level they are teaching. Students interpret the conditions during which a lesson format would be most suited (e.g. interactive lecture, group discussion, small group discussion, student directed projects), work in all of the recommended steps in the lesson format, and then write a lesson and “mark” a demonstration lesson in class. Students also prepare handouts, select sources, and develop student assessments that they would use if they were to teach the lesson to students in their classes. There are several purposes of the assignment: 1. To practice lesson planning, 2. To write lesson goals and objectives in a correct format, 3. To align a lesson to local curriculum goals, Maine Learning Results , or another state’s or national organization’s recommended standards, 4. To articulate the subtle differences between different kinds of lessons – such as the difference between a jigsaw activity and a small group project, 4. To expand the repertoire of classroom practices, 5. To learn from each other in the class and to support each other, 6. To develop “teaching and learning vocabulary” and 7. To practice informal oral presentations in the community of learners. Thus, it seems that the activities of listening to the students when they make the in-class presentation, promoting discussion among the students in the class about each lesson format, and reading the written lesson plan are the suitable assessment activities for this goal.


Goal #4 Students and I talk about practices they notice in their classroom placements. These practices may range from the use of laptops to a school’s adoption of particular curriculum materials. Students write in their journals about what they think about the work they are doing in their classrooms and often times they raise questions about the practices. Thus, I listen and read as we all make sense of how my students perceive day-to-day practices in their school placements.


Goal #5 Students write a lesson plan and I think that reading it is the best way to assess the students’ understanding of how to integrate media into their lesson activities.


Goal #6 Students write out unit plans that include unit goals, essential questions, and major understandings as well as a series of lessons that support the goals and major understanding of the unit. The students also design formative and summative assessments to use during and at the end of the unit.


Goal #7 After I provide an introduction to one of the course texts Wiggins & McTighe, Understanding by Design and show examples of units written by Colby students in previous years, students read the text, discuss with me in the class the critical aspects of the “backward design” process, and eventually develop a unit of study as a major course project. During the last third of the semester students bring drafts of their Essential Questions, assessments, and rubrics to class for a workshop session; students informally critique their drafts of the units. I also review drafts. I read the final unit plan for coherence, completion, content, and mindfulness of teaching for social justice. (Each separate lesson within the unit is read with the criteria in item # 3 above in mind. In other words, students have to continue to practice what they demonstrated for the isolated lesson plans they wrote.)The unit is intended to be one the Colby student can implement during January in their full time student teaching experience.


Goal #8 I can tell if a student is self-assessing her learning if she completes a survey based on Maine’s Standards for Initial Certification of Teachers (a copy of the ten standards follows) during the end of the first semester. I can tell if the student has goals for her performance during full time student teaching in January if I have a conversation with her and ask her to list some aspects of her teaching that she intends to address during January. During January when I observe the student in the classroom I notice her progress toward meeting the goals she has set for herself.

Goal #9 Candidates for teacher licensure in Maine are measured on their progress toward meeting the ten standards outlined in Maine’s Standards for Initial Certification of Teachers (below). The ten standards are used to frame the classroom observation protocols and to organize the Colby student’s teaching portfolio.


Teacher Certification Standards

I.               Demonstrates knowledge of the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) s/he teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful to students.

II.               Demonstrates the ability to integrate the concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures among the disciplines.

III.               Demonstrates a knowledge of the diverse ways in which students learn and develop by providing learning opportunities that support their intellectual, physical, emotional, and social development.

IV.               Plans instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, and curriculum goals.

V.               Understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies and appropriate technology.

VI.               Creates and maintains a classroom environment which supports and encourages learning.

VII.               Demonstrates the ability to support students’ learning and well-being.

VIII.               Understands and uses a variety of formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and support the development of the learner.

IX.               Demonstrates an awareness of and commitment to ethical and legal responsibilities of a teacher.

X.               Demonstrates a strong professional ethic and a desire to contribute to the education profession.


Goal #10 I review the collection of documents in the students’ portfolios and score the portfolios with an Education Program rubric. Faculty in the Education Program hold a conversation about the teaching candidate’s work toward meeting the ten standards and about her understanding of teaching for social justice.


Goal #11 When I offer to assist students with the final stages of teacher certification applications, I’m able to determine which students follow through with the steps for certification.


Pedagogy, Curricular Content, and Course Mechanics

a)        If this course satisfies one or more of Colby’s area distribution requirements, explain using specific examples how the content of this course meets the definition of that area requirement. Ed431 does not meet an area distribution requirement.

b)        If there is a writing component to this course, describe the pedagogy and role of the writing assignments in the context of your learning goals and expected outcomes. Students write several kinds of assignments. When they write lesson plans, I provide direct instruction and models of lesson plans that are written in correct formats. I do not require a specific “Colby lesson plan” in the manner that some teacher education programs do, rather I provide several models and highlight the kinds of thinking that they as teachers need to do before they step into a classroom to present a lesson. Students also write journals, short reflection papers, a research paper, handouts for their own students (e.g. directions for projects and assessments), a unit plan, and possibly letters to parents. I read many of these documents and comment on clarity and correct usage. I do not generally teach ways to be clear with writing or correct usage, but I will point out when these characteristics are missing. Lesson plan writing is rather formulaic, and students are expected to learn to write proper lesson plans.

c)        If there is a presentation or other oral communication component to this course, describe the pedagogy and role of these exercises in the context of your learning goals and expected outcomes. Students present several informal summaries of research and summaries of units and assessments they have prepared. I do not teach students how to make a  presentation other than to provide guidelines for the length of the presentation and require handouts or slides to supplement their presentations.

d)        If your course has a maximum enrollment, prerequisites, priority for enrollment, or other ‘rules,’ explain the underlying rationale for each. Students must have completed Ed215, Ed231, and one elective in Education. Furthermore, completion of Ed374 is recommended. Students must have a 3.0 average in courses in their major or a letter of recommendation for student teaching from a faculty member in their major area of study. Enrollment is capped at 10. Priority is given to students who are Professional Certification minors. Occasionally, and as enrollment permits, students who are not seeking Professional Certification are permitted in the course. Oftentimes these are students who want to work in an elementary classroom.

Institutional Context

a)        Explain how this course contributes to the learning goals and expected outcomes of your department or program. This course contributes to the goals of having Professional Certification minors meet Maine’s Standards for Initial Certification of Teachers . The course also supports the Education Program’s goal of teaching for social justice.

b)        Explain how this course contributes to the institutional learning goals and expected outcomes embodied by the educational precepts in The Colby Plan.

On the course syllabus, I state that the following precepts are addressed in the course:


Colby Precepts particularly addressed in Education 431 & 433


1.  To develop one’s capability for critical thinking, to learn to articulate ideas both orally and in writing, to develop a capacity for independent work, and to exercise the imagination through direct, disciplined involvement in the creative process


4. To learn how people different from oneself have contributed to the richness and diversity of society, how prejudice limits such personal and cultural enrichment, and how each individual can confront intolerance


5. To study one discipline in depth, to gain an understanding of that discipline’s methodologies and modes of thought, areas of application, and relationship to other areas of knowledge


9. To explore the relationships between academic work and one’s responsibility to contribute to the world beyond the campus.


10. To understand and reflect searchingly upon one’s own values and the values of others



c)        Based on your responses above, provide a revised course description suitable for catalogue copy, using no more than 650 characters, that succinctly identifies the content of this course, the most important learning goals and expected outcomes, and (if appropriate) indicates how it fulfills one or more of the area distribution requirements.


This course provides a consideration of various teaching and assessment methods as well as curriculum design for secondary education classrooms. Students in the course develop knowledge and skills to round out their goal of meeting Maine’s Standards for Initial Certification of Teachers. Students explore the meaning of teaching for social justice and apply themes of teaching for social justice to actual classroom experiences. Students write reflections of their teaching experiences, write and present lesson plans, read teacher narratives and research on teaching, create assessment protocols, develop a coherent unit of study using a “backward design” model, and conduct and present a research paper on recommended practices for teaching in their discipline. Prerequisite:   Senior standing as a professional certification minor. Must be completed concurrently with Ed433 Four credit hours.