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SUNY Plattsburgh Teacher Education Accreditation Goals & Themes

Photo of a student teacher working with teenagers in a classroomPlattsburgh’s Teacher Education programs are designed to prepare competent, qualified, and caring teachers for tomorrow’s schools. The programs are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) for a period of 7 years, from October 2014 to October 2021.

As part of TEAC accreditation, the professional education faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh have developed a shared vision. The portion of our philosophy that provides the most clarity, coherence, and continuity among our program areas can be found in the Teacher Education Unit’s claims, which are as follows: Knowledge of Content, Knowledge of Pedagogy, and Professional Skills.

While we use the three claims to drive our quality control system and assessment of our program, we also use a body of agreed-upon common goals, or themes, to serve as a framework for the design of our various degree offerings. Due to their overlapping connection across the claims, the themes are not assessed as program outcomes, but they focus our attention on what we feel effective teachers do. The nine themes are listed and described below:

Theme 1: Content in Context

Effective teachers know their content area and its disciplinary learning standards and adapt teaching strategies to match the needs of diverse learners.

Effective teachers are proficient scholars in the content area they teach and strive to master evolving knowledge. They use appropriate disciplinary learning standards to organize and teach content. Effective teachers use the key ideas and performance indicators of the New York State learning standards to guide development of learning experiences. They match teaching strategies to differences in learning styles using interdisciplinary approaches to connect content. Effective teachers clarify the process by which a body of knowledge is advanced in the context of a specific discipline.

Theme 2: Learning Environments

Effective teachers understand human behaviors and interactions and how those influence the learning environment.

Effective teachers understand how student behaviors are influenced by the classroom and broader school environment. They adjust their teaching strategies to accommodate the interrelationships between students, their peers and home environment. Effective teachers understand the dynamic interrelationships between schools and communities and how these influence the teaching of their discipline. Effective teachers make nonjudgmental observations of their students’ behaviors to guide their teaching. They value the opinions of their students, respect their students as individuals and do not abuse their authority in the classroom.

Theme 3: Technology

Effective teachers use technology appropriately to improve instruction and communication.

Effective teachers stay abreast of evolving technologies and how they are used to enhance teaching and learning outcomes. They adopt different technologies, where appropriate, to enhance their individual teaching styles. Effective teachers exhibit competency in planning and designing learning environments and experiences using technology. They use technology to improve productivity and to enhance communication with peers, students, home and community.

Theme 4: Assessment

Effective teachers use assessment to guide their teaching.

Effective teachers use diagnostic, pre-assessment, formative and summative assessments to make data-based curricular and instructional decisions. They use a variety of formal and informal assessment tools in order to improve curricular and instructional practices. They effectively use technology, where appropriate, to improve their assessment and evaluation. Effective teachers regularly use fair and consistent rubrics and assessments, enabling teachers to reflect upon their practices and learners to both reflect upon their work and grow through self-correction.

Theme 5: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Effective teachers develop their pupils’ capabilities in critical thinking, problem solving and decision making.

Effective teachers do not merely impart knowledge. They use relevant case-studies and problem-based learning, allowing students to develop skills in researching, evaluating data, constructing theories and implementing decisions. Critical thinkers are taught to construct or select from alternative concepts and theories by relating them to observations and data, and to use these concepts to solve problems and make decisions.

Theme 6: Recursive Learning

Effective teachers use developmentally appropriate and sequenced curriculum models supporting a coherent knowledge base which progressively builds upon itself.

Effective teachers plan curricula which challenge students to develop their own knowledge base. They use a variety of curriculum structures to engage different learning styles and reinforce learning using an interdisciplinary approach. Excellent teachers transition effectively from the theoretical to the practical application of content knowledge. Effective teachers organize and simplify complex content to bring coherence to their discipline and enhance student understanding.

Theme 7: Collaboration

Effective teachers collaborate with all of those responsible for student development.

Effective teachers collaborate with students, families, teachers, parents, administrators, support staff, allied professionals and the community. Good teachers implement team decision making and share responsibility for problem solving, curricular planning, instruction and assessment. They collaborate to resolve differences and conflicts. Good teachers implement collaborative learning strategies that are mutually supportive across curricular boundaries.

Theme 8: Modeling

Effective teachers exhibit professional commitment which is evident to their students.

Effective teachers exhibit multiple dispositions and are positive role-models for their students. They continually strive to enrich their professional development by joining professional associations and attending professional conferences to remain current in their field and improve their teaching skills. They demonstrate caring as evidenced by professional behaviors and commitment to their students and community. They continually strive for instructional excellence with adaptive teaching strategies that reach out to all student learning styles. Their teaching is transparent, collaborative and cooperative, involving students as partners in research and scholarship. Effective teachers are life-long learners who try to spark a desire for knowledge among all of their students.

Theme 9: Multiculturalism and Diversity

Effective teachers value the dignity, talents and experiences of diverse students from many cultures and backgrounds.

Effective teachers demonstrate multicultural competencies through an awareness of personal attitudes, values and biases and a knowledge of the world views of the students they instruct. They adapt their planning and instruction to reach the diverse needs of each student, regardless of background and ability. Effective teachers show compassion and integrity when interacting with their students and peers.

Accreditation Reports

Note: the PDF files require the latest version of Acrobat Reader, which is available as a free download.

TEAC Annual Report

CAEP Inquiry Brief

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

If you would like to learn more about our programs in special education at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Heidi Schnackenberg, Ph.D.
Program Area Coordinator, Master of Science in Education Programs

Office: Sibley Hall 309
Phone: (518) 564-5143
Fax: (518) 564-2149
Email: [email protected]

Cynthia McCarty, MSED, SDA
Lecturer, Teacher Education Unit
Program Leader, BSMSED/Masters in Special Education

Office: Sibley Hall 200B
Phone: (518) 564-5131
Email: [email protected]