Scattered Light: Fulfilling the Great Commission
By Dr. Gloria Gale
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Recently, I’ve been reading about scattered light, which is defined as the spreading of a stream of particles over a range of directions as a result of collisions with other particles. I like to think of the classroom teacher as a stream of light – a stream that gets scattered over a range of directions, with the classroom children representing the first scattering.
The College of Education, in cooperation with the Graduate School, has developed a Masters of Education, Curriculum & Instruction degree with two concentration options, to begin Fall 2012. The two concentrations from which to choose are: Teacher as Leader, and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
The addition of a Master of Education degree to JBU’s well-established teacher preparation training programs will provide an opportunity for graduates to influence not only their students but also groups of teachers who will, in turn, influence the children in their classrooms.
TEACHER AS LEADER
I often receive blank stares or questions when I say “teacher as leader.” This is a relatively new concept, but it is one that even large-scale universities like Johns Hopkins University and the University of Illinois are embracing. In Arkansas and throughout the United States, there is a need for teachers to take on some of the roles of an administrator without leaving the classroom.
Four years ago, Arkansas was represented in a national forum charged with addressing this need. A group of concerned educators convened and developed the Teacher Leader Standards, a set of model standards for courses of study that would bring the concept of “Teacher as Leader” to graduate and certificate programs across the United States. According to this group, “within every school there is a sleeping giant of teacher leadership,” and at JBU we hope to awaken that giant with this new master’s degree emphasis.
Nationally, almost 40 percent of all K-12 learners speak languages other than English, so there is an overwhelming need for differentiated learning, especially in language development. According to the TESOL Organization, the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages is a professional activity that requires specialized training. The TESOL concentration is a continuation of JBU’s successful graduate studies program that began in 2004. One hundred fifty-seven individuals have completed the TESOL program in the past eight years.
Building on the vision of JBU’s founder, the new Master of Education degree represents an intellectually challenging, contemporary, robust, and relevant curriculum for classroom teachers who want to move into leadership roles without leaving the classroom. Part of the vision for the new master’s program comes from the College Of Education’s vision to:
- Expand. Expand the influence of our graduates on student learning in local, regional, and national/international school systems.
- Encourage, Energize, Equip. Encourage, Energize, and further Equip licensed teachers into leadership roles.
- Enhance. Enhance and increase partnerships with local and regional school districts, working together to provide opportunities for observations, practicums, and internships.
- Extend. Extend the light of God through our graduates as they work in schools throughout this region, nationally, and parts of the world.
We look forward to this new degree program, as we continue to fulfill the Great Commission by adding more light, one student at a time!
Dr. Gloria Gale is associate dean of the College of Education.