The mission of the Middle Grades Education Program at Appalachian State University is the collaborative preparation of knowledgeable, ethical, and effective middle grades teachers. The Middle Grades Education Program was developed and implemented collaboratively by program faculty, public school teachers and administrators, program graduates, and other critical stakeholders. The Program emphasizes strong academic preparation grounded in a liberal arts tradition, discipline studies, and pedagogical studies. Diverse middle level field experiences are provided in a variety of school settings. The program fosters development of specialized knowledge, skills, and dispositions required of successful middle grades teachers who design and implement integrated instructional programs for middle grades learners that are developmentally and culturally responsive.
The Middle Grades Education Program is performance-based and standards driven. It is guided by the Appalachian State University Middle Grades Teacher Preparation Program Standards. These standards were developed collaborative with a variety of stakeholders and are grounded in successful practice and research. Middle level teacher candidates engage in extensive study of young adolescent development and learn to meet the learning needs of young adolescents using multiple methodologies. Nurturing learning environments, varied instructional strategies, sound assessment techniques, and instructional technology are key elements of the program. The program also acknowledges the powerful role community plays and works with middle level teacher candidates as they learn to work successfully with diverse family and community members.
The program has four primary goals:
- To prepare young adolescent advocates, teachers who are knowledgeable about the developmental stage of early adolescence, aware of the educational implications of that knowledge, and committed to knowing, supporting, nurturing, and challenging all students;
- To prepare subject matter experts, teachers strongly grounded in their content and equipped with multiple methodologies for teaching young adolescents in two subject matter areas;
- To prepare facilitators of learning, teachers who can facilitate the learning of all students, who understand the philosophical, historical, social, psychological, and pedagogical principles that guide instructional decisions, and who successfully construct, implement and evaluate instruction; and
- To prepare collaborative professionals, teachers who are skilled in team work, who participate in professional growth opportunities, and are models of professional behavior.