College of Education (cont'd)
The Teacher Education Program
The faculty of Montana State University Billings recognizes that the preparation of teachers is an all- University responsibility. Therefore, the various programs for the preparation of teachers represent a cooperative effort by the colleges and departments involved in teacher education.
All candidates from the University who wish to be recommended for the State of Montana Licensure must be formally admitted to the Teacher Education Program and meet all of the Teacher Education requirements.
The overall purpose of the Teacher Education Program is to develop competent teachers to meet the challenges of contemporary education. The faculty in the Teacher Education Program accepts the fact that teaching competence at every level requires steadily changing patterns and greater depths of preparation in order to meet the rising standards of study. Therefore, the faculty assumes responsibility for the selection and admission of those who wish to prepare to teach, for the advisement and retention of those admitted, and for the development of curricula designed for the preparation of educators.
Certain requirements are of major importance: (1) a broad background in General Education in the traditional liberal arts; (2) in-depth content preparation in specific teaching fields; (3) mastery of professional education knowledge, skills, and dispositions, and (4) demonstration of the competencies of the Initial Conceptual Framework.
In order to accomplish these objectives, the prospective teacher must acquire a scholarly mastery of the field to be taught and the ability to use methods of critical inquiry. This implies that prospective teachers acquire a superior fund of knowledge and enhanced scholarly ability in their respective academic disciplines. Moreover, prospective teachers must secure knowledge and understanding of the process of human development and behavior; competence in the techniques of instruction; knowledge of school organization and administration; an understanding of education as a social institution in historical and philosophical perspective; knowledge, understanding and experience in culturally diverse settings; and an ability to work with a diverse group of learners.
The Teacher Education Program includes not only a base of General Education and mastery of specific teaching fields, but also an in-depth education in the philosophical processes and organization of public education through a program of combined theory and direct experience.
The College of Education provides a number of supervised clinical and field-based experiences designed to prepare students to work effectively in the education professions. All field-based experiences are systematically designed and selected to provide students with opportunities to observe, plan and practice in a variety of community settings including schools and social service agencies. The major aim of these experiences is to apply execution of principles and theories from the professional knowledge base in supervised environments. Through a sequence of field-based experiences students develop skills that allow them to assume full responsibility as a beginning professional. Site and University personnel supervise clinical and field-based experiences.
All clinical and field-based experiences require a minimum of 45 contact hours per semester credit. In some degree programs, the contact hours may be greater than 45 hours per semester credit and students should clarify expectations with their faculty advisor prior to registration. Students may be required to purchase an insurance policy during the field experience. In some cases the school or agency provides insurance.
The student teaching requirement is the culminating experience in the teacher education program at Montana State University Billings. Student teaching provides a guided teaching experience in a school setting on a fulltime basis. During the student teaching term, students concurrently participate in the Capstone seminars. For further information and basic policies regarding the student teaching experience students should meet with their faculty advisors and refer to the Guide for Student Teachers, Mentoring Teachers, and University Supervisors.
Field-based internships offer students the opportunity for enhanced experiences in school and community settings. Proposals for internships must be planned by students and their faculty advisor.
In order to provide the highest quality field experience placements for students majoring in elementary or secondary education, deadlines have been set for accepting field placement applications. Field experience placements are the product of a number of elements including student needs, school district requests, and recommendations from faculty. To coordinate these elements in a timely fashion and meet all participants’ needs to the fullest extent possible, there must be sufficient lead-time. Application deadlines are posted throughout the College each semester. Students who plan to enroll for student teaching must have completed their required coursework prior to the term they plan to student teach.