Millikin University - Decatur, IL

Origins of the Block

In 2002, the Education department began conversations in department meetings and with the Committee on Teacher Education Programs (CTEP) to discuss the increasing difficulty of coordinating internship placements in area schools as well as the difficulty of supervising the internships. Teacher candidates were ‘on their own’ to fulfill hours. The education department came to the conclusion that ‘blocking’ coursework together intentionally during certain semesters of a teacher candidate’s preparation would be beneficial to School faculty, professors teaching methods courses, and the teacher candidates themselves. The following are parts of CTEP minutes where the proposal to block courses was proposed, discussed, and officially approved.

The first group of students to complete a block was in the fall of 2003.

Excerpts from Minutes of CTEP on the Genesis of the Block:

This report shows the analysis of the Block Program after its first Pilot year.

Early Childhood Block

ECE Sophomore Block is completed during the fall semester, and Junior Block is completed during the spring term. For six weeks, students in Sophomore Block are placed in programs for infants and toddlers such as BabyTALK. During this time, students also have the opportunity to accompany developmental therapists in home visits in order to acquire additional skills in working with babies and families. In their Junior Block for four to six weeks, students are placed in various preschool programs throughout the Decatur community that are especially focused on children with special needs as well as those who are at risk.

During the block, students are concurrently enrolled in multiple ECE courses:
    Sophomore- ED202ED232, ED236ED239, ED240.
    Junior- ED335, ED332, ED336, ED339.

For ECE Junior Block, students spend full days for four weeks in the birth through three programs.

Elementary Block

Elementary Block is a sophomore and junior year experience. Sophomore and Junior year are both comprised of 3 courses:
    Sophomore- ED203, ED206, ED207.
    Junior Year- ED305, ED306, ED312.

Sophomore Block
Elementary Sophomore Block Handbook
*Handbook with student names not removed
Sophomore Block Student Survey
*Survey blank form for student reflection
Internship Evaluation
*Blank form for intership evaluation as Plus/Delta
Internship Evaluation results, Fall 2007
*Results #1
*Results #2
Junior Block
Elementary Junior Block Handbook
*Handbook with student names removed

Secondary Block

Secondary block is a junior-year-only experience, combining two courses: ED321 General Secondary Methods and ED310 Creating Communities of Learners.

Because of the complexities involved in scheduling a block experience when several different majors are included, the development of a block experience in the curriculum for students seeking secondary education certificates evolved more slowly. School of Education faculty, Dr. Darlene Hoffman and Dr. Ray Boehmer, collaborated to prepare two grants from the Associated Colleges of Illinois. In 2006-2007, they were awarded a grant from ACI's Center for High Need Schools Total Quality Initiative that funded collaboration with faculty from content areas and MacArthur High School to develop a pilot experience for secondary majors who were enrolled in ED310 Creating Communities of Learners and ED321 General Secondary Methods.

In 2007-2008, Drs. Hoffman and Boehmer were awarded an Innovations Project grant that enabled them to extend the pilot field experience to a middle school, while also continuing collaboration with Macarthur High School. The grant enabled SoE faculty to develop training experiences for mentor teachers and to offer celebration dinners at the end of the block experience. The celebration dinners included speakers on working with high need students, as well as time spent debriefing and evaluating the block experiences.

ATE Presentation given on Secondary Block
*Handout made of PowerPoint slides
Ray Boehmer, Judy Parrish, and Darlene Hoffman presented on the secondary block at the ATE (Association of Teacher Educators) 2008 Conference. This PowerPoint handout contains sildes that summarize the responses to questionnaires that were distributed to MU Interns and the mentor middle and high school teachers. Since this information could not be tallied, data was summarized by selecting ideas that were reported more than once.
Secondary Block Handbook
*Cover Page
*Handbook with student names removed
Secondary Block Letter to Mentor Teacher
*From Spring 2009
A letter similar to this one is sent to all Secondary Block Mentor Teachers. The letter includes brief information about the Block, contact information for the Unit Faculty, names and subject areas of Teacher Candidates, plus an explanation of important upcoming events.
Syllabi and selected Course Assignments
*ED 310 Syllabus
The syllabus of ED310 Creating Community of learners includes instructions for the secondary block; the block involves 4 weeks of internships, as well as regular college level instruction in subject matter for the remaining weeks of the semester.
*ED 310 Assignment
The assignment for Analysis of Learning Climate is directly related to the time spent in the block. This assignment description includes both directions and a rubric. This assignment is not a Candidate Assessment; it is part the assignments for ED310.
*ED 321 Teaching Evaluation Form
A part of the ED 321 requirements is that students teach 3 lessons, which they plan with the cooperating teacher. Those lessons are observed by either the ED321 faculty or ED310 faculty, and feedback forms are completed and shared with the teacher candidates. These evaluations are not part of the grade for the course, but they are used to reflect on the lessons; the feedback forms provide a basis for conversation and discussion.

Post-Block Meetings

Agenda & Guest Speaker, Spring 09

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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL