KOKOMO, Ind. – Enhanced learning and in-depth training for future educators has led to continual growth in the Teacher Education Program (TEP) at Indiana University Kokomo.
Students studying to earn a degree in education spend a lot of time working in classrooms with teachers and students at area schools that have partnered with the School of Education. Once they begin their junior year, that time significantly increases as they enter the TEP.
“Growing up, I had the best teachers, and a lot of them left a huge impact on my life,” said Courtney Sanford, a junior majoring in education. “Some of the most influential people in my life were my former teachers. If I can be that person for any other students, then that’s what I want to do.”
This program boasts the largest number of students this academic year, something Leah Nellis, dean of the School of Education, attributes to the hands-on nature of the program.
“The actual, ‘How Do You Teach?’, that’s what they start to learn during the Teacher Education Program,” Nellis said. “They’re in those classrooms practicing what they’re learning in their education courses, such as developing lesson plans, teaching to the whole class or to a small group of students.
“We’re wanting to prepare educators who are knowledgeable and skilled who know how to present information and how to facilitate learning for their kids.”
At the end of their sophomore year, education students can apply to join the TEP after completing all foundational courses, a certain number of general education courses, attaining an overall grade point average of at least 3.0, and receiving positive feedback from the host teachers they worked with during their freshman and sophomore years.
Once students officially enter the TEP, they continue their studies with courses focusing on assessment, developing classroom culture and teaching methods.
“We want them to have a chance to apply what they’re learning,” Nellis said.
In addition to creating well-rounded educators, teaching students how to create supportive and safe classrooms is an important goal of the program.
“We also want to prepare educators who can be really intentional about creating a classroom environment that is safe and supportive and creates a sense of community amongst the learners in the classroom,” she added.
Classroom experience can also enhance a cohort student’s confidence in their own skills, developed from hands-on experience, feedback from host teachers, and opportunities to try, reflect and improve.
“When I was younger, I didn’t always have that great confidence,” junior elementary education major Chris Weaver said. “But there were always those teachers that encouraged you. I look at them, and I just want to be that person to other students.”
Applications for admission into the fall 2022 TEP are due March 1, and the deadline for spring 2023 is October 1.