WT named one of the nation’s top Teacher Prep programs

Local News

CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – West Texas A&M University announced that its undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program has been named among the top in the country by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

This month, NCTQ released its 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice and Classroom Management, which says it finds encouraging progress in teacher preparation programs’ adoption of evidence-based classroom management strategies that are broadly effective.

NCTQ began publishing ratings in the 2013 Teacher Prep Review. According to the NCTQ, half of the nearly 1,000 traditional elementary teacher preparation programs evaluated earn an A or B grade, up nearly 30% from seven years ago.

WTAMU’s undergraduate program is among the 14% of elementary programs that have earned an A by the NTCQ standard. The programs are being recognized for requiring aspiring elementary teachers to demonstrate during student teaching, residency, or equivalent clinical practice their ability to implement five classroom strategies;

  • Establishing rules and routines that set expectations for behavior;
  • Maximizing learning time by managing time, class materials, and the physical setup of the classroom, and by promoting student engagement;
  • Reinforcing positive behavior by using specific, meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement;
  • Redirecting off-task behavior through unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction and that prevent and manage such behavior; and
  • Addressing serious misbehavior with consistent, respectful, and appropriate consequences.

“Classroom management is a critical skill demonstrated by effective educators,” said Dr. Eddie Henderson, dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences. “The WT Educator Preparation Program is honored that our commitment to preparing education professionals who are equipped to maximize opportunities for every learner has been recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, has reshaped much of what happens in schools, including training aspiring teachers. Several essential classroom management strategies can’t be converted to a remote environment, says WTAMU, and many states and teacher preparation programs have moved their clinical practice experiences online or abbreviated them; limiting opportunities and practice. However, these skills remain critical.

“In previous editions of the Teacher Prep Review, the predominant approach to classroom management instruction by most programs was that establishing classroom rules and planning great lessons will prevent student misbehavior,” observed NCTQ President Kate Walsh. “As any teacher can attest, engaging classes are seldom enough. We are heartened by the growing acknowledgement of the many benefits of building new teachers’ skills in these key strategies.”

Now in its fourth edition, the Teacher Prep Review assigns a team of experts to evaluate teacher preparation programs on their adherence to evidence-based classroom management strategies. Programs that earn an A on this standard require their aspiring elementary teachers to demonstrate their ability on all five strategies.

The full NCTQ summary of findings and methodology can be found here.

WTAMU states that being a high-quality, learner-centered educational environment is a key part of the University’s long term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

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