In articulating her belief that teaching has a distinctive, professional knowledge base, Henrietta Barnes (1989) wrote:

As our understanding of what teaching requires has broadened, our understanding of what teachers need to know and how they learn has deepened. Thus, it is no longer reasonable to regard successful completion of an aggregate of  courses as sufficient evidence of teacher understanding. Teaching is seen as ambiguous and complex work requiring judgment, action, and the capacity to reflect and revise decisions on the basis of one’s observations and insights. Sound teacher judgments, therefore, must be rooted in deep understandings of teaching, learning, learners, and subject matter, and how these factors interrelate in the teaching-learning process (P. 13).

The documents that follow summarize the "deep understandings" our department believes are required for beginning teachers to make "sound classroom judgments." These understandings are organized according to the ten Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice (SEPs), which represent our departmental goals. Therefore, information is provided on the following topics: Subject Matter; Student Learning; Diverse Learners; Instructional Strategies; Learning Environment; Communication; Planning Instruction; Assessment; Reflection and Professional Development; and Collaboration, Ethics, and Relationships.

Before proceeding, the reader is cautioned that, as summaries, the documents that follow represent only a sample of the most essential knowledge and skills students are expected to acquire within our program. A complete description of all that we teach would be far beyond the scope of this project. Additionally, information contained here in describes the knowledge and skills our current departmental faculty consider most essential. We realize that others might choose to focus on different elements of educational knowledge. Finally, these documents represent a snapshot of the knowledge and skills currently emphasized within our program. We wholeheartedly acknowledge the need to continually add to and update this information.


Barnes, H. (1989). "Structuring knowledge for the beginning teacher" in Knowledge base for the beginning teacher. Oxford: Pergamon Press, p.13.