For the past seven years, the School of Education has initiated a program named A Community of Teachers for the benefit of its secondary education students. A Community of Teachers allows secondary education pupils to earn their teaching licenses through hands-on work in actual classrooms as opposed to grades and credits. This is the only curriculum program of its kind in the entire state.\n"I was one of two faculty who designed the program in (connection) with a large group of students and teachers in the schools," explained program director Tom Gregory.\nGregory emphasized the unique qualities the program possesses.\n"It was not designed by faculty," he said. "It's rare that undergraduates are involved as heavily in designing a program as they were for CoT. I think it's one of the reasons the program looks so different from most of teacher education, not just here, but anywhere in the country."\nGregory founded the program along with Kris Bosworth, a former IU faculty member who now works for the University of Arizona. Its doors have been open to students since January 1993.\nThe program enrollment, which consists of 50-60 students, ranges from freshmen to graduate students. Most of those on the program roster are college graduates with hopes of switching careers to teaching. The remaining pupils are graduate students with at least one degree, or undergraduates who began as freshmen or sophomores.\nAdmission to the program mandates at least a 2.5 GPA in previous coursework and respectable scores on entry tests. In addition to grades and test scores, prospective pupils are evaluated for entry into the unique program through a 30-minute interview with students and faculty members.\nAfter acceptance, members must meet a variety of requirements in order to complete the program successfully. First, each participant must choose a local school where he or she will work alongside a licensed teacher for two to five semesters. During their tenure as student teachers, pupils are required to commit to one of several on-campus seminar groups, each containing roughly 15-20 people. Every seminar group is taught by the same professor, who oversees each student's progress, and meets on a once-a-week basis.\nGregory said, "A seminar is not really a course. It's actually an experience that, over time, takes the place of five courses in the standard program. Faculty members don't really teach a seminar. It is jointly led by a faculty member and the students. Each term, each group decides what its theme, the focus of its work, will be during the following semester."\nParticipants must also put together personal portfolios showing that they have grasped the 30 program expectations necessary for becoming certified instructors. These are based on those used by the state of Indiana and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium.\n"It's important that our students understand that school doesn't have to be the way that it always has been; that it can be done in other ways, and that they can be central actors in making those changes happen," Gregory said.\nWhen students graduate from the program and receive their teaching licenses, they search for jobs in a variety of school districts.\nSchool of Education professor Susan Klein, who leads a seminar group, stressed the advantages the program's graduates possess when looking for employment.\n"(They have) more confidence in themselves and knowledge and expertise in demonstrating what they know and what they can do with students."\nSchool of Education professor David Flinders, who also leads a seminar group, said the program is beneficial.\n"CoT is run for education students who learn best by taking a large amount of responsibility for their own professional growth, who are good at taking initiative and who enjoy struggling with the ambiguities inherent in a field like education, a field that does not serve the interests of any single group," he said.\nWendy Bailey, a senior who has been enrolled in the program since her sophomore year, reflected on how the program has made a difference in her life.\n"After being involved in CoT, you begin to look at the world and your experiences in it through a critical lens," she said. "You discover you can't work within certain systems or among certain mentalities without growing frustrated and restless. But instead of becoming cynical, CoT motivates you to become active. CoT teaches you to recognize the faults and limitations of various current systems and practices and find a way to work with them at a gradual, diligent, effective pace."\nFor more information about CoT, contact Tom Gregory in School of Education room 3206, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://education.indiana.edu/~\ncomteach/.
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