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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

November, 2015

Page address: http://ed.mnsu.edu/infobrief/2015-11/

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News from the Office of Field and International ExperienceiStock

Dr. Elizabeth Finsness, Director

Collaboration and Partnership are themes that resonate within the Office of Field and International Experience (OFIE). The Teacher Candidate Support Network (TCSN) exits to support our teacher candidates through their journey to become a teacher educator. This fall, TCSN welcomed five new Teachers on Special Assignment, a new Field Placement Officer (Nana Boakye) and new OFIE Office Coordinator (Kim Sholtens). Taking time to build relationships within our team is an important part of our work, as noted in one or our opening day activities.

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The College of Education provides a world-class education and preparation programs for our initial licensure teacher candidates. A critical aspect of our candidate’s preparation includes training on how to showcase knowledge during the interview process. Each semester, a panel of administrators from our Professional Development School partners (PDS) at the Mankato and Edina campus devote an afternoon to respond to candidate questions. Teacher Candidates have the opportunity to ask the questions and get the “back story “ on interviewing. Faculty and PDS colleagues then move on to form a team of “Speed Interviewers”. With a ration of about 1 – 3, the professional interviewers pose questions to candidates and provide coaching and offer advice.

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Candidates remark that they feel much more confident after this professional development session and it is evident that the interviewers enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise. This experience is only possible through collaboration and the partnerships we nurture among PDS schools, faculty, and TCSN.

Center for Mentoring and Induction UpdatesiStock

Carol Burns, Mentor Development & Support Coordinator

Earlier this fall, the founding director of The Center for Mentoring & Induction, Lori Bird, accepted a position with the New Teacher Center as a mentor program consultant for the Mid-west. We wish Lori all the best as she continues to advocate for mentoring of teachers as a way to accelerate student learning. April Rosendale, TOSA from the LeSueur-Henderson School District, is the acting director for the Center and joins Carol Burns in the role of Mentor Development & Support Coordinator.

The mission of the Center for Mentoring & Induction remains the same and that is to provide quality professional development experiences that help all teachers become more confident, capable, and effective practitioners. This semester, supervisors of our teacher candidates, Teachers On Special Assignment, and other partner district education leaders have participated in two of the New Teacher Center’s Professional Learning Series trainings. Instructional Mentoring (PLS 1) and Observing and Conferencing (PLS 2) increase the efficacy of mentors and their effectiveness in supporting our pre-service teachers as well as the beginning teachers in their districts. Now in December, Using Data to Inform Instruction, will help deepen mentors understanding of the process used to analyze student work in order to intentionally plan and adjust standards-based instruction for all students.

Eight days of the Cognitive Coaching Foundation Seminar SM has begun here at MSU, Mankato. This research based training gets to the heart of what actually impacts teacher learning and growth: teacher cognition. Coaches using this support model don’t attempt to “fix” isolated behaviors but instead promote and develop self-directedness in those being coached. Feedback from participants tell us that the protocols and strategies developed in Cognitive Coaching have become highly effective tools in their work with teachers.

See and hear for yourself the power of mentoring in this brief video made at LeSueur-Henderson High School.

Elementary and Early Childhood NewsiStock

Dr. Maureen Prenn, Faculty member

New faculty

We are proud to introduce two new faculty who have joined the department. Dr. Beth Beschorner, with expertise in Literacy for K-2, and Ms. Lisa Vasquez, with expertise in Content Literacy for upper elementary, have fully embraced their role of block leads in the Elementary Education program. The role of lead means that faculty are responsible for organizing seminars, monitoring teacher candidate progress across the courses in the block, and supervising field experiences. They will also be teaching in our graduate programs. With their rich experience in K-12 and higher education, they have become valued members of our department.

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Field experience

Field experiences are at the heart of the Elementary Education program. Faculty collaborate with our P-12 partners to arrange placements that both support candidates and challenge them to grow. By the time teacher candidates complete field experiences for Blocks 1, 2 and 3, they will have completed approximately 600 hours. All this takes place before student teaching! Program faculty have set specific competencies for each block field experience, and candidates must meet those competencies in order to move forward in the program. One expectation for the field experiences is completion of a partial edTPA for each block. None of this can be accomplished without our school partners who provide daily mentoring and support. In addition to support from the mentor teachers and Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs), teacher candidates are supported by department faculty who also serve as supervisors.

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