More time in the classroom

The Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education recently awarded Northland College a Model of Excellence Award for its clinical residency program.

Director of Teacher Education Annette Nelson accepted the award last month at the national conference held in Atlanta, Georgia. She presented it to her students who implemented and participated in the pilot program. Vice President of Academic Affairs Les Alldritt attended the presentation, extending his congratulations to the faculty and students.

Nelson and faculty initiated the residency program two years ago. “Students from around the state said they wanted more time in the classroom,” Nelson said. “We responded with a two-semester clinical residency program integrated with classwork.”

Northland College created a concentrated block system where education students spend Monday and Tuesdays in regional classrooms and Wednesdays and Thursdays on campus.

Students stated appreciation for the mix of practical and theoretical instruction. “On paper, the Common Core standards are hard to understand but when you get in the classroom, you can see how it plays out,” said Kaitlyn Witthun, a Northland College senior and elementary and middle education major.

Students complete over 200 hours before they begin student teaching. “We are the only educator preparation program in the state to offer this much undergraduate time in the classroom—double what the state requires.”

This intensive, focused clinical program, Nelson says, places Northland graduates at the top of the resume pile when applying for teaching positions.

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