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Program Overview

Classroom of visiting middle school children learning about science at UC Merced.


Culturally responsive instruction is a centerpiece of the proposed UC Merced Extension Teacher Preparation Program, which seeks to serve the San Joaquin Valley of Central California, a remarkably diverse TK-12 learning community (Gay, 2010). The program fully integrates content areas, rather than teaching these in isolation, including the California Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The proposed program facilitates collaboration between candidates and veteran educators, as they work alongside students to build a theoretical and practical understanding of teaching and learning.

Candidates will participate in fieldwork experiences that provide an opportunity to work with various grade levels and students that are economically, ethnically, and academically diverse. Coursework and teacher candidate placements will emphasize project-based learning, student-centered pedagogies, culturally responsive curriculum, inclusive classrooms, equitable group work design and collaboration, interdisciplinary curriculum and personalized learning.

Coursework and fieldwork are designed to foster mastery of the Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs), including developmentally appropriate strategies for supporting English language learners and students with disabilities. The proposed program will adhere to the new California Teaching Performance Assessments (CalTPAs) implemented in Fall 2018.

Key elements within the proposed program curriculum include:

  • Typical and atypical child and adolescent growth and development 
  • Human learning theory 
  • Social, cultural, philosophical and historical foundations of education 
  • Subject-specific pedagogy 
  • Designing and implementing curriculum and assessments 
  • Understanding and analyzing student achievement outcomes to improve instruction 
  • Understanding of the range of factors affecting student learning such as the effects of poverty, race, and socioeconomic status 
  • Knowledge of the range of positive behavioral supports for students 

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