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Program Philosophy

Consistent with Elmira College’s Mission Statement, the Teacher Education Department’s philosophy is rooted in academic rigor and a supportive learning environment. Within this environment, candidates in the undergraduate Teacher Education programs gain content knowledge within their academic majors or concentrations while learning to analyze, question, and think critically about the world in which they live.

Elmira College’s undergraduate Teacher Education candidates gain the professional knowledge and skills needed to contribute to the field of education through their understandings as teachers. They learn about theories of effective curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and they apply these theories to improve learning experiences for all students.

Candidates have multiple opportunities to observe and perform during their field experiences. Beginning in their first year, candidates observe, analyze, and discuss current educational topics and practices with classroom teachers. During the final stages of their programs, candidates engage elementary, middle, and secondary school students in the learning process by creating lessons, implementing instructional strategies, and assessing students’ academic performance. In their role as pre-service teachers, candidates are also taught to integrate emergent forms of technology into their lessons, reflect upon their decisions in the classroom, and seek out opportunities for professional development and growth. By the time candidates complete their programs at Elmira College, they possess the knowledge, dispositions, and skills necessary to provide meaningful instruction, recognize the effects their teaching has on students’ learning, and improve their instructional practice based upon empirical observations.

The cornerstone of the undergraduate Teacher Education programs at Elmira College is the recognition of students’ learning needs. Through their coursework and field experiences in high-need schools, Elmira College graduates gain an accurate understanding of the needs of students from socially, culturally, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds, students with disabilities, and students who are English language learners. Furthermore, candidates learn to address these diverse needs in inclusive classroom settings.