The SPSUTeach program is building a future in which all students are encouraged and empowered to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The mission of the SPSUTeach program is to prepare K-12 teachers who are eminently qualified to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), thereby increasing the numbers of students entering into college STEM programs, and ultimately, increasing the numbers of graduates entering into STEM careers.
Philosophy: What we believe about how learning takes place about teaching and learning.
a. Knowing is a socially constructed and personal process, affected by one’s physical environment, culture, experiences, and beliefs.
b. Learning occurs through participation in a cultural and environmental context and involves social interactions as well as individual experiences.
c. Teaching is a process that requires four things of teachers. First teachers must possess clearly identifiable knowledge of their subject matter and how to apply discipline concepts and protocols, and how to integrate those concepts and protocols with other subjects. Second, teachers must understand the national and state curriculum, and the purpose and expectations within that curriculum in a global sense. Third, teachers must know and respect their learners, as individuals, and as developing human, social beings. Finally, teachers must be aware of the research on effective teaching, pedagogical content knowledge.
d. Teachers must have a set of professional dispositions that reflect the beliefs, attitudes, and values of the social context, in which learning occurs. Such dispositions include empathy and belief in the potential of students, quality oral and written communication skills, respect for diverse cultures and languages, creativity, flexibility, commitment to teaching and learning, responsibility, curiosity, and professional and personal ethics.
e. The most effective learning involves inquiry, problem solving, student-centered, and cooperative experiences. Effective teaching, then, combines these approaches with a variety of ways to present, reinforce, and assess key concepts of the discipline. The effective teacher builds on students’ prior knowledge and interests to create learning situations that meet the needs of all learners, and guides the learners in understanding the central roles of inquiry and collaboration to science and mathematics.
f. The most important quality an educator must possess is the unwavering conviction and commitment to the principle that all children can learn. The SPSU teacher values learners as individuals, with diverse linguistic and cultural perspectives, and seeks to work with them to establish a positive, supportive learning environment.
g. The unique nature of the polytechnic teacher preparation is that our teacher candidates understand the relationships between the processes of science and mathematics and the processes of learning, and the implications of both for personal and social sustainability. One result of such knowledge is that SPSU teachers understand the value of science and mathematics for community economic viability within a global society. A second result is the understanding the importance of stewardship of resources for a quality of life for all.