multiple courses and settings to enable a “deepened understanding” that comes with repetition of concepts (Diez, 1999:233). The program is characterized by extensive opportunities for field experiences that require candidates to apply what they have learned. Coursework and field experiences are sequenced to build developmentally across the years of the program. For example, candidates begin with coursework and field experiences that require them to apply the frameworks they are learning with individual students or small groups in tutorial settings. They progress to more complex tasks with larger groups and whole-class instruction. The assignments gradually increase in complexity, requiring candidates to attend to multiple factors in their planning, their analysis of the classroom, and their implementation of learning experiences (Diez, 1999:233).
Self-reflection and self-assessment skills are emphasized at Alverno. Faculty have developed a set of reflective logs that guide students in each of four semester-long field experiences prior to student teaching. These logs are intended to help students develop their skills in the five education abilities. According to Diez (1999), the logs direct students to make links between theoretical knowledge and practical application (which develops skill in conceptualization and diagnosis), to observe processes and environments of learning (coordination skills), to translate content knowledge into suitable short presentations or learning experiences (communication skills), and to begin to translate their philosophy of education into decisions regarding all aspects of teaching environments and processes (integrative interaction).
The first stage of the education program is the preprofessional level. To apply to the preprofessional level, students must have completed one year of coursework, a required one-credit human relations workshop, and a portion of the math content requirements (Zeichner, 2000). The preprofessional stage lasts two semesters. During this time, education students begin to integrate the knowledge bases of the liberal arts disciplines with the process for applying the material from these disciplines (Alverno College Institute, 1996). The subject area methods courses are taught during this stage. These courses connect teaching methods with material learned in liberal arts general education courses. Performance assessments during this stage may consist of such activities as requiring teacher candidates to create a lesson for a given grade that incorporates knowledge about developmental psychology. Other performance assessments involve simulations in which prospective teachers take on the various roles that teachers play, such as conducting a parent-teacher conference, being part of a multidisciplinary evaluation team, or working with district planning activities. This period includes two pre-student teaching experiences.
After two semesters in the preprofessional stage and completion of two of the pre-student teaching experiences, teacher candidates can apply for admission to the professional level. To be admitted, they must successfully complete the first two field experiences (and provide letters of recommendation), demonstrate a specific ability, meet the statewide minimum cutoff scores on the required