Description of Course Goals and Curriculum
The goal of the TPP 301 seminar is to prepare students for practice teaching in the TPP 402 seminar. The course is broken into two halves. During the first half of the semester, the course focuses on the learner. This includes the various needs and characteristic of the learner, including those with special needs, and the dynamics between learners and teachers. During this time, students will learn what instruction could look like in an environment molded by national and state educational standards. In this half of the semester, the student will be asked to perform multiple observations of different schools throughout the state. In the second half of the semester, the course focuses on educational objectives, with greater emphasis on educational standards, as well as the history of education and the role of assessment in the classroom. In this half of the semester, students will use their knowledge to teach a practice lesson in their certification area to a class of secondary students.
There are class meetings two days a week (normally Tuesdays and Thursdays) with a “lab” on Tuesday nights. Because the class meetings are centered on discussing texts, and because students are often asked to present or teach a particular text, it is necessary to read the texts before class. The labs are class meetings that are taught by special speakers other than the professor. They include anyone from administrators to teachers to authors.
There is also a component of the course called CIS meetings. Occasionally, students will not come to the TPP building for class, and will need to meet with a Content Instruction Specialist. This is a secondary teacher who works in a particular subject area (English, math, social studies, etc.) whose job is to guide TPP students through the practice teaching process. Students are required to read the necessary texts and submit questions before these meetings.
There are three main challenges in TPP 301:
First, the seminar is very reading-heavy. There are multiple readings for every class, every lab, and every CIS meeting, coming from two books, a Pequod, and Blackboard’s E-Reserve. Students are expected to be able to discuss and/or present on the readings in every class.
Secondly, the seminar had many different assignments, which gives students multiple opportunities to succeed academically, but also make the work load heavier. These include a two-part midterm assignment, reflections, lesson plans, presentations, observation protocols, a pre-professional portfolio, and a multi-part final exam.
Finally, this class contains multiple components: class meetings, labs, CIS meetings, and classroom observations. These, along with the readings and assignments, can make it easy for students to get disorganized and overwhelmed.
Learning From Classroom Instruction
The first suggestion for a student in this class is to stay organized and keep up with every reading and assignment. Each week in this course builds off the previous one, and students will need to reference every reading and assignment constantly for the final and per-portfolio as well as for the TPP 402 Seminar in Practice Teaching.
It is recommended that you organize class materials chronologically by week, since each week represents a different topic. Clustering the information (readings, reading notes, class and lab notes, handouts) can be done in a couple of different options for maximum effectiveness. You could use a large binder, and place each week’s material in its own sheet protector or folder. A different, more convenient approach might be to use a hanging file system, and to place each week’s materials in its own file folder. Either way, be sure to keep a separate folder for all assignments and their corresponding materials (instructions and feedback), which will come in handy when completing the final exam and pre-portfolio.
The next most important suggestion for this class is to take reading notes on the texts themselves. This will a) keep you from having even more sheets of notes to keep up with, and b) help you to come to class prepared to discuss even if you did not get a chance to read the entire thing.
Finally, always read something, even if it is just the introduction of a text. Because the class is so small, discussion can be brutal if no one has anything to bring to the table. When in doubt, always bring one question or two to class with you.
Learning For and From Assignments
What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection
This class, while packed with reading and assignments, was enjoyable because so much practical knowledge can be gained from it. This seminar provides a plethora of learning experiences for anyone interested in education, whether he/she be interested in teaching, administration, or educational policy. Although this class is a prerequisite for the TPP 402 Seminar, it is still suitable for students who are interested in the topics but do not wish to pursue education. This course will certainly help students to become better learners themselves.