Our Approach

Teacher as Reflective Decision-Maker Conceptual Model

Teachers make hundreds of decisions each day. The CSB/SJU Education Department recognizes purposeful decision-making at the heart of effective teaching. We aim to develop exemplary teachers who have a strong liberal arts background, who exemplify Benedictine values, and who consistently make professional decisions which help all students to achieve their full potential as persons and as responsible world citizens in a democratic society.

Purposeful decision-making for our teacher candidates takes place in consideration of a Body of Knowledge that is deep and constantly expanding; timeless Benedictine Values which include reverence and care for each person, concern for the common good of the community, and a balance to addressing the needs of body, mind, and spirit; the Professional Standards of ethical practice; and the constraints of each particular teaching context.

Effective teachers make decisions that address:

  • Subject Matter - The candidates we prepare for licensure as Minnesota teachers understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines they are preparing to teach so that they will be able to make this subject matter meaningful for their students (Knowledge Base, p. 2).
  • Student Learning - The candidates we prepare for licensure draw on their understanding of learning and developmental processes to choose optimal ways that encourage their students’ intellectual, social, and personal development (Knowledge Base, p.9).
  • Diverse Learners - Our candidates, recognizing how differences among students can influence their learning, make instructional decisions that reflect to their students’ backgrounds and exceptionalities (Knowledge Base, p. 18).
  • Instructional Strategies - Our candidates use their knowledge of instructional strategies to decide upon and employ those which are most likely to encourage their students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills (Knowledge Base, p. 27).
  • Learning Environment - Our candidates for licensure use their knowledge and skills to create just, disciplined learning communities that can motivate students to achieve personal and academic success through positive social interaction and active engagement in their learning (Knowledge Base, p. 33).
  • Communication - The candidates we prepare for licensure as teachers use effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster their students’ learning (Knowledge Base, p. 38).
  • Planning Instruction - Our candidates for licensure plan and effect instruction as they decide what content they will teach, to whom they will teach it, in what ways they will do so, and with what effect (Knowledge Base, p. 42).
  • Assessment - Our candidates for teacher licensure use information provided through their use of formal and informal assessment methods to make instructional decisions that will support their students’ continuous development (Knowledge Base, p. 47).
  • Reflection and Professional Development - Our candidates for licensure critically reflect on the effects of their instructional decisions on the performance of their students, on the practice of their colleagues, and on the actions of others in their learning communities, using those reflections to direct and sustain their professional renewal (Knowledge Base, p. 55).
  • Collaboration, Ethics, and Relationships - The candidates we prepare for licensure as Minnesota teachers enhance their effectiveness as educators by working together with their colleagues, their students’ parents, and members of their school community to create and sustain a positive learning environment that can enhance students’ learning and well-being (Knowledge Base, p. 58).

Together, these are the major components of the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment Support Consortium (INTASC).

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