Elementary Ed Initiative Reaches Milestone

The first wave of Arkansas Tech University elementary education students trained under a new initiative in teacher preparation is making landfall in classrooms around Arkansas.

Seniors from the K-6 elementary education program in the ATU Department of Curriculum and Instruction are engaged in student internship experiences during the spring 2018 semester. They will be among the first ATU elementary education students to complete their degrees under curriculum developed over the past five years in accordance with evolving teacher requirements in elementary education implemented by the State of Arkansas.

Dr. Tim Carter, head of the ATU Department of Curriculum and Instruction, said that the new curriculum includes a new blended class (part online and part face-to-face) that enhances the student internship experience.

“This course is called Disciplinary Reading and Writing, which is one of five courses in the program that is designed based on research in the science of reading,” said Carter. “As part of this combined course and student internship experience, students return to campus for four to five days to receive just-in-time-training concerning their experiences and to learn more about the expectations of the teaching profession. Dr. Latasha Holt worked with Dr. Shellie Hanna and other faculty members in the development of the reading course and aspects of the internship just-in-time-training. Dr. Holt recently welcomed 31 students in their return to campus to engage in activities concerning problem-solving in the area of classroom management, explanations of the Arkansas teacher licensure processes and discussions involving the Arkansas Teacher Excellence Support System.”

ATU elementary education student Amber Ursin of Batesville said that she is honored to be among the first students prepared under the new initiative.

“My goal as a new teacher is to empower students,” said Ursin. “I want students to believe in their ability to do anything, including learning, so that they become successful, lifelong learners. I want students to feel safe and loved at school.”

Jackie Gray of Clarksville explained that the new curriculum has left her feeling accomplished and employable as she prepares to become a teacher.

“I learned a lot about building authentic, integrated units, which makes me feel confident in my future planning for instruction,” said Gray. “I also learned a lot about the importance of educating the whole child. My goal as a teacher is to nurture, educate, empower and inspire all learners to be all they can be.”

Visit www.atu.edu/education to learn more about the ATU College of Education.