The course is designed to demonstrate commitment to the following elements stated in the School of Education’s Conceptual Framework. These are:

Collaboration -- Educators recognize the imperative of collaboration - that we cannot achieve our vision for student learning as independent actors working in isolation. Educators exhibit attitudes, dispositions, and behaviors consistent with a collaborative approach to professional practice, as opposed to an individualistic or competitive approach to professional practice.

Reflective Practice -- Educators recognize the imperative of reflective practice – that to transform the status quo we must be willing to consistently examine and transform assumptions about professional practice. Educators exhibit attitudes, dispositions, and behaviors consistent with a reflective approach to professional practice that allows them to adapt practices based on considered reflection.

Multiple Ways of Knowing -- Educators recognize the imperative of multiple ways of knowing – that to create communities of practice, we must respect the perspectives of different stakeholders. In a spirit of inquiry, educators reflect, challenge their own perspectives and beliefs, and maintain a professional awareness of the influences that their perspectives may have in educational settings.

Access, Equity and Fairness -- Educators recognize the imperative of access, equity, and fairness – that we cannot achieve our vision of access to and success in education for all students without knowledge of and attention to the student’s social, cultural, developmental, and personal context. Educators exhibit attitudes, dispositions, and behaviors consistent with promoting equity that allow them to adopt practices that create and advance equitable conditions in which all students can learn.

Evidence-Based Practice -- Educators recognize the imperative of evidence-based practices that promote student engagement, achievement and performance. In so doing the candidate be able to: 1) gather and/or examine multiple sources of evidence, 2) determine the credibility, reliability and validity of the evidence, 3) synthesize and draw conclusions from evidence, and 4) use the evidence to modify professional practices that result in increased PK12 student learning outcomes.
The organization and substance of this course has been created based upon a belief in the constructivist model of self as text and as meaning maker. We draw on our own experiences, beliefs, histories etc. to make meaning of the work of teaching, of being an educator. Be prepared for your ideas, written and spoken, to be the focus of class discussion.

Observations and Field Experiences

Much of your time in the schools will be spent observing and participating in these classes through one-one, small group, and mini-lessons. This constitutes the bulk of the text of this class. Through note taking, written reflection and conversation, you will work to use these experiences to understand the work of teaching. You will also be asked to participate in two field experiences (to another school in the Bridges to the Future Project and the 180 Days Project). These field experiences constitute another text for our analysis and understanding.

The Work of the Teacher

This course examines the work of the teacher in its social context, including the impact of social realities on the lives and work of teachers and students. We will examine what it means to teach in a pluralistic society and how social and economic issues impact student learning, their experiences in the classroom, and their opportunities beyond the classroom. Through mini-lessons, peer teaching, and interviews with teachers, you will examine the instructional and curricular decisions that teachers make and how these are made.

Reading and Writing

We will expand our ability to analyze our experiences and develop strategies for thinking about and practicing teaching through selected readings. You will be asked to write reflections based upon your observations/field experiences and reading. You will also be asked to write out lesson plans for teaching that you do and videotape and reflect on lessons that you teach.


This course of study is offered on a Pass/Fail basis only. The decision to become a teacher and the process of becoming an educator is developmental. A pass/fail grading system makes the most sense in this context. You each start with strengths and will build from those, while addressing the challenges of teaching. This course hopes to give you a comprehensive understanding of the day to day of teaching as well as the broader sociopolitical and cultural context in which it is embedded. Therefore, it demands a commitment of time and energy.

The following requirements must be met to receive a grade of “Pass:”
Regular attendance: You and your experiences are the primary text in this class; therefore attendance is essential to the success of the class for you and the other students. We will be meeting a few times a week. It is important that you are on time and prepared for each class meeting. If you miss more than two classes or are continually late to class, you will receive and Incomplete or Failing grade.

Assignments and Due Dates: There are several writing assignments (peer interview, social identity paper, teacher interview, formal lesson plans, as well as readings and reflections on field observations and other observation assignments). All assignments must be turned in on time. Class discussion frequently depends upon the text you provide through your papers. If these are late, you will not be satisfying the requirements of the course. Arrangements can be made to email me assignments if need be.

Completion of ALL field experiences: It is essential that you understand that the REQUIRED field visits to different schools may take 4-6 hours each; please set aside time to make all field visits and allow for travel time. Field visits and reports must be completed on time, as class discussion depends upon them.

Lesson Plans and Microteaching: In addition to our in-class peer teaching, you will be writing lesson plans and practice teaching in 592SS and in the classes where you observe. You are expected to turn in a lesson plan for each lesson that you teach. The writing of lesson plans, as part of learning how to think clearly and precisely about your choices as a teacher, is critical to your development as a teacher.

Accommodation Statement

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with Disability Services (DS), Learning Disabilities Support Services (LDSS), or Psychological Disabilities Services (PDS), you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in this course. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first two weeks of the semester so that we may make appropriate arrangements.


Observations: As part of this course, you will be asked to spend a significant part of the week observing, both formally and informally in order to get to know and become part of the school to which you were assigned. At times, there will be specific areas of instruction and/or interaction to which I will ask you to attend, take notes, and reflect upon. At other times, you will be encouraged to get to know the teachers in your department, in particular your supervising practitioner.

It is critical that you enter these observations with an open mind with an understanding of yourself as a guest in these schools and classrooms. You will develop an attitude of attentiveness in which you analyze and learn from the teachers, students and administrators with whom you interact without any judgment. Teaching is an experience based very much upon us. Individuals come to a variety of choices in this work. Your job is to learn from the choices others make and then examine yourself and make the best choices that you can at a given moment. (Reflective Practice)

Field Experiences: You will be expected to participate in two field experiences - one to another school within the Bridges to the Future Project so that you experience a middle school if you are placed in a high school and a high school if you are placed in a middle school; the other to a school within the 180 Days Project, so that you can see what a suburban/rural school climate is like. Please be aware that these visits are required and are a central aspect of this course. Through these observations you will better understand the choice you are making to become a teacher, the assumptions and expectations that you bring to this work, and the realities of work in a variety of classrooms. (Evidence-based Practice)

Academic Honesty Statement

Since the integrity of the academic enterprise of any institution of higher education requires honesty in scholarship and research, academic honesty is required of all students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Academic dishonesty is prohibited in all programs of the University. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and facilitating dishonesty. Appropriate sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Instructors should take reasonable steps to address academic misconduct. Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the appropriate course instructor as soon as possible. Instances of academic dishonesty not related to a specific course should be brought to the attention of the appropriate department Head or Chair.

Since students are expected to be familiar with this policy and the commonly accepted standards of academic integrity, ignorance of such standards is not normally sufficient evidence of lack of intent.