The new “Triple Crown” Teacher Education program at TWU is seeking to prepare students for the diverse classrooms they will face upon graduation. More and more, schools around the country are aiming to create inclusive environments for students with diverse backgrounds.
However, this creates challenges for teachers who have received certification in a focused field. A teacher with a single certification in either Special Education (SE) or English as a Second Language (ESL) will not be fully prepared for the diverse classrooms they will experience. The Teacher Education program at TWU has found a solution, and it is the first of its kind in Texas, possibly nationally.
Spearheading the program is Rebecca Fredrickson, Ed.D, undergraduate program director, and Diane Myers, Ph.D, Department Chair of Teacher Education. With past programs, students on the EC-6 track would receive hands-on experience in one specialization, SE or ESL, and simply take their certification test in the other.
This program prepares students to certify for both while simultaneously giving them invaluable hands-on experience.
“This way we make students truly prepared to teach every student in their classroom” said Fredrickson.
The program is two years in the making, and it required a great deal of cross-course collaboration to ensure that students on this track were as prepared as possible. Sacrifices were made to condense five courses down to three.
Myers explained that “when we make decisions like this we’re always thinking about what’s best for our students; what’s going to increase the likelihood that they’re going to be successful employees, good ambassadors for TWU, and be out there in the field as leaders.”
Perhaps the best aspect of this new program is its ease of access. Seniors can easily switch to this track without losing any coursework. Students simply complete three courses in both specializations instead of the five required for one. It literally boils down to just one additional course that will pay remarkable dividends as students enter their classrooms.
The program is already generating buzz throughout the state with copies of the program’s press release being passed out at the last legislative session. There is a palpable sense of excitement in Fredrickson and Myers about the program’s potential to affect lives positively.
“It makes perfect sense. Our classrooms are fully inclusive; why are we not teaching our teachers to be fully inclusive?” said Fredrickson.
This new track is available for students online, and can be found here.