UW teacher education program among nation’s best

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — A new book published by the National Council on Teacher Quality lists the University of Wyoming College of Education among the top programs for undergraduates studying to become teachers.

The book, “Start Here to Become a Teacher,” gives prospective teachers information about programs across the country.

“’Start Here to Become a Teacher’ includes a listing of the nation’s top undergraduate teacher preparation programs, and UW is included on the list,” UW said in a news release. “The publication allows aspiring educators to ‘comparison shop’ undergraduate teacher prep programs based on a number of variables.”

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The National Council on Teacher Quality reviewed 872 programs and highlighted the top 120 in the nation in the book, UW added.

“’NCTQ has tremendous influence with major policymaking bodies and individuals nationally,’ says UW College of Education Dean D. Ray Reutzel. ‘NCTQ has never been a strong friend or advocate of or for traditional teacher education programs nationally so, in a way, this is especially flattering that our programs are ranked so highly by NCTQ.’”

The top programs demonstrate “a highly selective admissions process; emphasis on research-based approaches to teaching reading; effective preparation in teaching elementary math, science and social studies; training in classroom management; and providing a quality student teaching experience,” the release states.

The UW College of Education has worked recently to improve the student teaching and practicum opportunities available to students.

One new pilot program will begin this fall which will give future teachers the chance to participate in “partially paid” yearlong teaching internships.

“’In order for our teacher candidates to fully integrate the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to become teachers, they need regular and embedded opportunities to apply what they are learning through courses to work with children,’ says Leslie Rush, associate dean and director of the UW School of Teacher Education.'”

“’We are working to meaningfully embed opportunities for practice with plenty of feedback, so that our teacher candidates can consistently refine their practice and become better educators.’”

UW also joined the “Consortium of Overseas Student Teaching” last year. This program allows UW students to get teaching experience in classrooms in 15 foreign countries.

A Trustees Education Initiative program called Mursion allows students to work on teaching skills through a virtual reality system.

“’The Mursion system allows our students to practice teaching with digital avatars in a low-risk setting,’ Rush says. ‘Feedback can be provided immediately, allowing students to improve their skills during every session.’”

“’We also are working to provide student teaching placements statewide; better student teaching mentor preparation; supervision via distance technologies; and consistent observation of student teaching performance using the CLASS instrument as part of the Deans for Impact Common Indicators System,’ Reutzel says.”