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Institutional Report for NCATE

III. Evidence

Standard 4: Diversity

The unit designs, implements, and evaluates curriculum and experiences for candidates to acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn.  These experiences include working with diverse higher education and school faculty, diverse candidates, and diverse students in p-12 schools.

Element 1: Design, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum and experiences.

Overall, I think I was well prepared by my training at CSB/SJU for teaching here in California.  I have very diverse classes – more than half of my students are minorities.  I formed good relationships with most students right away.  It’s working out fine.  I felt prepared to work with them from the first day.  When I took the job I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I had a good orientation from the district to get started.  I’m learning so much from my students!  I think I’m doing a good job.  That’s what the kids and teachers tell me.  I just love it!

College of Saint Benedict Secondary Education Graduate, Class of 2000  

Design.  In the years ahead candidates’ opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills, and values that will help them teach all learners through systematic curricular, field, and clinical experiences will be guided by the “Education Department Diversity Plan” (2000).  During the fall semester of 1999 and into the spring semester of 2000 Professor Dee Lamb, who developed that plan, interviewed representatives of many campus and community agencies to gather their perspectives on “diversity.”  She reviewed dozens of documents offering college and community plans to welcome an increasingly diverse population to our colleges and villages.  She inventoried more than 140 sites offering our students field and clinical experiences.  She gathered and summarized descriptions of candidates’ coursework intended to enrich their preparation for teaching in a diverse world.  While gathering this information she also read extensively in the literature on multicultural education to identify a range of plausible outcomes.

Lamb’s insightful analysis of the information she collected encouraged her development of a plan that could transform candidates’ preparation. The unit approved this plan on 8 November 2000.  In the years ahead it will contribute to the transformation of the units’ curriculum, field experiences, and clinical teaching.  Focused on six goals and their related objectives, the plan will be implemented in three phases.

Implementation Phase One is the most substantive of the three implementation phases.

Goal 1: Develop a diversity focus in the early foundations of education block that will…

Objective 1.1: Introduce multicultural education to prospective teachers early in their preparation

1.2: Involve all candidates in a shared multicultural experience, and

1.3: Link the knowledge shared during foundations courses more closely with teachers’ practices in multicultural settings.

Goal 2: Increase candidates’ clinical experiences in classrooms with diverse populations to...

2.1: Ensure work in varied clinical settings and with diverse student populations,

2.2: Build on existing campus programs that serve diverse populations to provide our students with diverse learners,

2.3: Continue to develop partnerships with schools that can provide our candidates with exposure to diverse student populations and training in providing appropriate opportunities for all learners, and to

2.4:  Refine the process for documenting candidates’ experiences with diverse populations

Goal 3: Increase diversity among faculty and students in our program by

3.1: Increasing the number of minority students who apply to and succeed in our program

3.2: Supporting the colleges’ plan to increase the rate of minority hiring and retention of faculty and staff.

Goal 4: Ensure more pluralistic thinking among students and faculty in our program by...

4.1: Assessing current levels of pluralistic thinking expected of students and faculty and 

4.2: Encouraging students to study and apply their knowledge of pluralistic thinking and cognitive complexity in their emerging practice

Goal 5: Increase Education Department faculty and staff knowledge about minority groups and their cultures by…

5.1: Assessing the knowledge of diversity shared by faculty and staff, and 

5.2: Planning a systematic set of experiences that will move us toward greater knowledge.

Goal 6: Learn about and use pedagogies that give all learners opportunities to learn by...

6.1: Helping faculty understand their own learning styles so that they can make better use of a broader range of pedagogical strategies that could promote earning in all students,

6.2: Enabling candidates to learn about their own preferred learning styles and more effective pedagogies,

6.3: Providing candidates with multiple opportunities to assess learners’ pedagogical preferences and to address them in clinical settings, and by 

6.4: Helping candidates learn how to plan, implement, and assess differentiated instruction or adapted pedagogies.                                              

Implementation Phase Two of the plan will specifically address the methods courses as well as some upper division foundations.   The goal in this second phase will be to  examine the courses in the middle part of the program to ensure that there are no gaps in attempts to deal with diversity issues.  A tentative proposal to explore the possibility of a domestic study abroad semester might be a part of this phase 

Implementation Phase Three of the plan will deal with the experiences that synthesize curricular learning, such as Senior Seminar (EDUC 390), Issues in Education (EDUC 359), Student Teaching (EDUC 361/362/363), and any mentoring and assessment experiences the department provides for recent graduates of programs.  As in implementation phase II, the goal in this last phase will be to self-monitor to ensure that diversity is addressed in all the necessary and reasonable ways and places.     

We now take the first small steps on this very ambitious path.  Subsequent phases leading toward full implementation will continue over the next seven years, perhaps longer.  A review of the unit’s diversity plan will reveal detailed descriptions of design activities that, if accomplished, may well lead the unit and its candidates through what McIntosh (1990) defines as a multicultural “phase four.”  If we persist and are successful, we may realize Jose Bourget’s notions of a polycentric educational transformation (1995), thereby approaching McIntosh’s “phase five” where “the distribution of resources, services, and basic supports requires balanced use” by the citizens of a multicultural world who “feel they belong in contingent affiliation with life everywhere” in one interdependent global community (pp.12; 17).

The Education Department recognizes that the challenge of addressing diversity is a rather daunting one.  There are no quick fixes for tasks of this dimension and importance.  The department recognizes, too, that the challenges may be compounded by its history.    CSB/SJU are largely white institutions that attract largely white populations.  Moreover, they have been steeped in a liberal arts tradition that for centuries was dominated by white-male thought.  The department will, therefore, undoubtedly struggle with the challenge to re-make itself.  And as Peggy McIntosh suggests in the description of her diversity paradigm, the department will have to invent much of this as it moves forward.   However, the department is not deterred from this challenge; and the plan laid out in this document is not pure invention; much has been borrowed from the works of James A. Banks and Peggy McIntosh as well as others.  The writings of these courageous groundbreakers have helped the department articulate its purpose and its process (p. 2) Education Department Diversity Plan

Implementation.  It is too early to expect the cohesive focus of learning activities promised through use of the unit’s diversity plan.  Yet candidates do experience preparation for teaching all learners.  A set of experiences have evolved to offer candidates’ opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills, and values that enable them to respond to the needs of a diverse population of students (Diversity Plan, Attachment 5, Current Course Diversity Efforts).

The unit’s emphasis on preparing candidates to teach diverse learners is also congruent with relevant standards.  All teacher preparation programs approved by Minnesota’s Board of Teaching to recommend candidates licensure as teachers must provide those candidates with opportunities to know, to apply, and to be assessed on The Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers (MSEPT).  That body of necessary and sufficient professional and pedagogical standards includes 14 enabling standards intended to describe how programs might help their candidates’ “know how students differ in their approaches to learning and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to students with diverse backgrounds and exceptionalities (1999, Minnesota Standard 3).  An analysis of the unit’s curriculum reveals that elementary and secondary candidates will encounter frequent opportunities to know, to apply, and to be assessed on each of these standards (Program Approval Documentation: Standards of Effective Practice, 2000).  Only one of the unit’s courses or formal experiences fails to include one or more opportunities for candidates to meet these standards.

An emphasis on preparation to teach “students with diverse backgrounds and exceptionalities” is grounded in the unit’s aim, mission, and philosophy.  These elements of its conceptual model support the unit’s third program goal, “our candidates, recognizing how differences among students can influence their learning, make instructional decisions that reflect their students’ backgrounds and exceptionalities.”  This goal is supported by a knowledge base that serves as foundation of theory, research, and practice to inform the unit’s faculty and candidates (Knowledge Base, p. 18). 

Guided by relevant standards and supported by the its conceptual framework, the unit’s faculty have created a wide range of opportunities for students to acquire and refine their abilities to “help all students reach their full potential as persons and as responsible world citizens in a democratic society” (Conceptual Model, p. 5).  In addition to program approval documents, these opportunities are annotated in Attachment Five of the unit’s Diversity Plan.  Highlights of these efforts to “help candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to diversity suggest the unit’s commitment to this “professional standard” (2001, p. 29).

The unit’s candidates enjoy opportunities to acquire and refine their conceptual understanding of students with diverse background and exceptionalities through their work in courses laying the foundations of education.  These courses provide opportunities to discover and use developmental theories, such as those offered by Piaget, Kohlberg, and Perry, to encourage pluralistic thinking.  This exposure prepares candidates for work in foundations courses that will introduce them to models of multicultural education that could pattern their efforts to design and offer instruction to all learners.

  •       In Introduction to Teaching and Learning, (EDUC 107: Leitzman) prospective candidates work with a team of their peers to explore a racial, cultural, or ethnic group’s homeland, history, language, family structure, values, customs, dress, and artistic expression.  That information offers a context for a team’s identification and description of instructional concerns that could influence how members of that group learn and respond to school settings. Those concerns often reveal possible conflicts between the group's culture and the aims of American public education as well as social, legal, or ethical issues that could influence curricula.  Team members conclude their analysis with implications for selecting effective teaching strategies for working with students from this group and a bibliography that could guide further inquiry.  Films and readings reinforce what is often among the first opportunities to rural Minnesota college students who may discern a call to teaching to consider how they would respond to the needs of learners from groups other than their own.  

  •       The Exceptional Learner (EDUC 105: Sass) introduces the topic of human exceptionality to prospective educators by examining characteristics, needs, and educational accommodations for k-12 students who fall within federal and state special education guidelines.  Information is also provided about gifted and talented children, appropriate terminology, special education history, relevant legislation, and identification procedures.

  •       Students enrolled in The Developing Person (EDUC 200: Lamb) discover gender differences in development and learning, explore school and developmental issues related to sexual preferences, and examine linguistic differences by using ebonics to reveal such differences and to consider opposing views on how schools should respond to them.  

  •       Candidates nearing the end of their coursework question experienced, successful K-12 educators address rights and responsibilities in accommodating students with special needs as part of their work in Issues in Education (EDUC 359: Mullin).  Candidates recall the presentation, then write a reflective critique in which they examine their dispositions toward the special needs student.  They also offer a plan for accommodating students with special needs as an element in the Classroom Management Plan they offer as a final project for this seminar.   

  •       Candidates who are members of the unit’s senior seminar, Human Relations (EDUC 390: Hoodecheck), create a unit for a course they plan, perhaps as part of their pending clinical experience.  This project helps them sharpen and demonstrate their human relations skills while at the same time developing non-oppressive teaching materials to use and share with their colleagues.  The one to four week units must by design offer multicultural, gender fair, and disability sensitive instruction. 

Those who are accepted as candidates begin to prepare for their practice in earnest through completion of pedagogy or “methods” courses offering an integrated field experience.

  •       Candidates pursuing elementary level licensure complete a brief paper for Reading, Writing, and Language Growth K-6 (EDUC 347: Moore) in which they describe their own cultural background and ways in which it might be different from that of the students they will encounter during field work in Saint Cloud’s McKinley or Roosevelt elementary schools.  These schools serve diverse student populations that include more children of color, children who are homeless or receiving a subsidized lunch, and more children from dysfunctional homes than do other elementary schools in our area.  Candidates tour students’ neighborhoods, observe them in their classrooms and interview their teachers prior to their field experience with these students.  Candidates’ reflections on this process confirm that many discover significant differences between their culture and the cultures of these students.  

  •       Elementary candidates pursuing a social studies specialty and secondary social studies candidates work together in Middle Level Learners and the Social Studies K-8 (EDUC 357: Spring) to outline a unit on a facet of race relations in Minnesota.    

  •       Middle Level Learners and Language Arts, (EDUC 357: Lillestol) subscribed by both elementary and secondary language arts candidates, offers an opportunity to evaluate a multicultural unit for the fairness and accuracy with which it portrays other cultures.  

  •       Elementary level candidates who complete Art Pedagogy K-6 (EDUC 315: Bot-Miller) view, critique, and reflect on video presentations of Japanese printmakers’ influence on American artist Mary Cassatt, of the life of African American artist Romare Bearden, and of masks created in different cultures.  Students in that course will also prepare a lesson plan addressing an art concept using a multicultural children’s book.

Candidates integrating their knowledge, skills, and values through student teaching are placed whenever possible in schools and classrooms offering opportunities to work with students from diverse backgrounds and exceptionalities so that they might use these clinical experiences to refine their ability to help every student learn.  Candidates enrolled in one of the student teaching experiences (K-8, EDUC 361; 5-12, EDUC 362; K-12 EDUC 363) are assessed on key performance dimensions aligned with relevant Standards of Effective Practice.  Data from the pilot test of the unit’s K-8 Performance Profile reveals the following pattern for teaching students from diverse backgrounds or exceptionalities.

Goal 3: Diverse Learners.  Our Candidates, recognizing how differences among students can influence their learning, make instructional decisions that reflect their students’ backgrounds and exceptionalities.

Performance                                     Elementary Candidates Summative

The candidate uses teaching approaches that address a variety of… 

3a1 Developmental stages

01

 

2

02

 

3

03

 

2

04

 

2

05

 

2

06

 

2

07

 

3

Med

 

2

3a2 Learning styles/performance modes

2

3

2

2

2

2

3

2

3a3 Strengths/talents

2

3

2

3

2

2

3

2

3a4 Needs

2

3

2

3

2

2

3

2

3a5 Experiences

2

3

2

2

2

2

3

2

3a6 Culture/family

3

3

2

2

2

2

3

2

3b1 The candidate works to develop learning community in which individual differences are respected

2

2

3

3

2

3

3

3

Key: Rubrics drawn from Assessing Candidate Performance, 2001.

Goal 3: Elementary Level Performance Dimensions 3a1-3a6

  1. Candidate reveals limited knowledge of and ability to respond appropriately. 
  2. Teaching approaches often include appropriate responses; strategies are limited.
  3. Teaching approaches consistently include appropriate responses that are varied, sensitive to individuals, and effective in creating a pleasant and productive learning environment.
  4. Candidate uses an extensive repertoire of strategies (including additional resources from the school) to provide educational opportunities appropriate for all students.

Goal 3: Elementary Level Performance Dimension 3b1 

  1. Candidate is unaware of individual differences.
  2. Candidate is aware of differences; sometimes models accepting behavior; sometimes facilitates learning opportunities that affirm differences.
  3. Candidate consistently models warm, accepting behaviors; Responds to impromptu situations appropriately; Consistently facilitates learning opportunities to promote feelings of belonging and acceptance for all.
  4. Candidate implements techniques that bring about a positive and dramatic change for one or more students.

The summative performance of candidates enrolled during the fall 2000 semester in secondary level student teaching clinical experiences was also described using a 5-12/K-12 Performance Profile during its pilot test.  Preliminary data reveals the following performance pattern, aligned with relevant Standards of Effective Practice for Goal 3.

Goal 3: Diverse Learners.  Our Candidates, recognizing how differences among students can influence their learning, make instructional decisions that reflect their students’ backgrounds and exceptionalities

  Performance  Dimensions:                       Candidates:                                       

MSEPT

01

02

03

04

05

06

07

08

Med

3b Know exceptionalities

3

2

4

3

3

3

3

3

3

3e Influence of experience on learning

3

2

4

3

3

3

3

3

3

3f Societal  Contributions

of cultural groups

3

3

4

3

3

3

3

3

3

3k Design developmentally appropriate instruction

3

3

4

3

2

3

3

3

3

3o  Connecting instruction to students’ experience

3

3

4

3

2

3

3

3

3

Key: Rubrics drawn from Assessing Candidate Performance 2000.

Goal 3: Secondary Level Performance Dimensions (MSEPT) 3.b, 3.e, 3.f, 3.k, 3.o

  1. Candidate’s performance on this goal suggests a need for attention
  2. The standard is addressed but poorly presented; no direct evidence of addressing diverse learners needs.
  3. Adequate presentation; evidence of addressing diverse students’ needs.
  4. Candidate offers a creative presentation; evidence of addressing diverse needs. 

Evaluation.  While instructors offer formative judgments of candidates’ work in foundation or methods courses, the success of those efforts may be revealed in summative judgments on key performance dimensions.  Student Teaching Performance Profiles, now in field test, may offer one way of judging the merit and worth of efforts to prepare candidates for teaching students from diverse backgrounds and with exceptionalities.  Results from the pilot test of both the elementary and secondary profiles suggest reasonable success in efforts to provide opportunities for these novice instructors to know, to apply, and to be assessed on performance standards related to “helping all students reach their full potential.”

The unit’s diversity plan calls for the development of a “diversity transcript” maintained by each candidate during the program of study and practice leading licensure.  Such a transcript would include a focused reflection on decisions made during candidates’ informal or formal teaching situations with learners from a variety of cultural, racial, or ethnic groups.  Analysis of such transcripts would yield useful information about the range and depth of candidates’ experiences in field settings.  Pilot testing of the transcript is scheduled for the fall 2001 semester.

Element 2: Experiences Working with a Diverse Faculty.

Thirty years after my first opportunity to teach American Indian children, Mathew’s compelling words still resonate in my thoughts as I work with young people who seek to become teachers.  His comments on that January day in 1969 jolted me into realizing the incongruity of his life and culture with the lifestyles depicted in the textbook we used.  Like most texts of that era, our reading book portrayed father leaving for his office each morning wearing a gray suit.  Mother, dressed in her starched apron, remained at home to cook, clean, sew, and watch over children playing in the green yard surrounding the white, colonial-style family home on Cherry street.  The sun was always a yellow disk.

The teacher’s manual for our text prompted me to ask children if they could remember a time when they needed assistance from a “community helper.”  My question met with silence.  Then Mathew spoke.  He told us in his own matter-of-fact way of the day when his older brother was knifed in the back yard of his home.  He remembered the sirens screaming toward them.  His words revealed a vivid memory shared with all of us. 

Mathew and his classmates struggled with the clash between what they knew to be true in their young lives and the whites only, middle class lifestyle in their text.  As that long day ended I packed my students’ papers for another night of grading.  The distance between my home and Mathew’s was only 45 miles.  The distance between my understanding of his world was too vast for me to calculate.  Lynn Moore, Professor of Education 

The unit’s Diversity Plan calls for continuing attention to attracting and retaining a diverse faculty (Goal 3, Objective 2).  This intention is consistent with the plans offered by both colleges that could increase their employment of minority group members.  During the fall semester of 1999 the colleges employed a total of 29 people of color other than white (29 of 835, 3%; CSB: 17 of 423, 4%; SJU: 12 of 412, 3%).  The unit was unique among most academic departments in that it was able to invite an African-American woman to serve as its Director of Secondary Student Teaching.

This record is offset by some outstanding opportunities for candidates to complete field experiences with diverse school faculty (Diversity Plan, Attachment #1).  Those who were able to invest their January Term working with children enrolled in our cooperating New Orleans schools universally recall that experience as most significant.  More such opportunities are on the horizon. The unit’s diversity plan offers potentially useful activities that could increase those signal opportunities now available (Goal 2, Objective 3).  Doing so depends on future school partnerships or collaborations formed with k-12 schools employing minority staff who would serve our students as clinical faculty.  Despite these intentions, the rural location of the colleges in a state with a small minority population and in a community with modest racial or cultural diversity suggests that work with college or school faculty of color may remain an elusive goal for the near future.

The unit’s faculty, however, have attempted to enrich their knowledge and experience through study and work in diverse settings.  They attend conferences and workshops sponsored by the unit, the two colleges, and community groups.  They participate in events designed to enlarge their experiences living and working with people from many racial, ethnic, or cultural groups. Those with recent experiences serving K-12 schools can draw upon that reservoir of experience in their teaching.

Element 3: Experiences Working with Diverse Candidates

Although opportunities for majority candidates to work with peers from diverse backgrounds and exceptionalities have been evident, they have not been numerous.  The colleges have enrolled more students of color each year.  During the 1999 – 2000 academic year the two colleges invited 225 members of racial or ethnic groups to join the 3578 white men and women in the student body (3%: Table I.5).  About 6% of public school students in central Minnesota are members of racial, cultural, or ethnic minority groups (Diversity Plan, p. 13).

Our plan specifies activities that could increase the unit’s enrollment of minority students over the next five years (Goal 1, Objective 1).  Unit faculty and staff collaborate with admissions officers and the two colleges’ Diversity Commission to identify and encourage minority students to attend our colleges and pursue acceptance as candidates for licensure.  The success of those efforts would increase our minority candidates as it also increases the institutions’ enrollment of students of color.

Element 4: Experiences Working with Diverse Students in P-12 Schools

The unit’s long-range plan calls for the identification of more field and clinical settings in which candidates might experience work with diverse students.  That plan also requires candidates

to commit themselves to at least 30 hours with one of several campus groups reaching out to high school and college students of color (Goal 2, Objective 2).  Work is underway to provide a clinical experience in urban schools for all candidates during their foundation courses (Goal 2: Objective 1).  While the unit’s plan reports significant opportunities to work with students from diverse backgrounds in k-12 schools, more are needed (Diversity Plan, Attachment 1).

I returned to Red Lake, Minnesota, this past fall.  Trees along the forest roads that first September morning were showing the first hints of autumn.  I looked forward to spending my sabbatical in the community where I began my teaching practice.  I wondered about the changes that thirty years might have brought.  I knew that the textbooks children use today represent a rich diversity of people and cultures who are part of a very different society than the America of 1969.

As I walked down the school’s hallways, I saw posters of the American Indian artist Partrick Desjarlait, who grew up in Red Lake.  Classroom shelves were now filled with books about Native Americans, not stories of life on Cherry Street. 

The school now looked more as if it belonged here. Yet sometimes things need to go deeper.  My observations of the curriculum found little to reflect the uniqueness of the Red Lake Nation that might be shared with this generation of Saint Mary’s children.  The school counselor, Vicky Graves, lamented that she felt as if  “Nobody listens to our children in this school.” 

I soon learned that she was a fervent advocate of a holistic approach to education that would enable these Ojibway children to experience success as they were taught by their culture in their own school.  She knew that if we were to really listen to these children and to the voice of their culture, we would know that they are uncomfortable when we call on them to answer our questions.  If we really listened to these children, we would know that their culture teaches them to remain silent until they are certain that what they say is right.  If we really listened, we would create opportunities for them to work together to help each other learn.  If we really listened, we wise teachers would not fight but rather grow with the strong sense of community that binds all Indian people.  Now, miles away from Saint Mary’s, just as I remember Mathew’s story from thirty years before, I also remember Vicky’s words in my heart.  Lynn Moore, Professor of Education

References

Bourget, J. R.  Polycentric education. (1995). Saint Joseph, MN: College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Office of Intercultural Programs (http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~intercul/polycent.html)  

Education department conceptual model: Teacher as decision-maker. (2000). Saint Joseph, MN: College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

Education department diversity plan. (2000). Saint Joseph, MN: College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

Knowledge base for beginning teachers. (2000) Saint Joseph, MN:  College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Education Department.

McIntosh, P. (1990).  Interactive phases of curricular and personal re-vision with regard to race.  Wellesley, MA: Wellesley College Center for Research on Women. (#219) 

Professional standards for the accreditation of schools, colleges, and departments of education. (2001). Washington, D.C.: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Program approval documentation: Minnesota standards of effective practice for teachers. (2000). Saint Joseph, MN.:  College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Education Department.