LANGLEY, BC, Nov. 20, 2017 /CNW/ - The number of first year education students at Trinity Western University's School of Education jumped from 40 previously to 85 students this year. This doubling of education students will produce more teachers to help address the current teacher shortage in British Columbia.
Since 2001, TWU has graduated over 400 teachers, most of whom now teach in B.C. public or independent schools. It was one of the first teacher education programs in B.C. that required students to take at least one course in special education to meet specialized learning needs of students. The program also includes a mandatory Indigenous Education course focused on truth, reconciliation and heart transformation. Taught by Dr. Matthew Etherington and TWU's University Siya:m and Elder, Patti Victor, from the Stó:lō Nation, the course has all students present to a panel of invited Indigenous Elders and educators in lieu of writing a final exam.
TWU is one of the few universities in the province to offer a concurrent education degree where students begin taking education courses in their first year, allowing them to develop the mindset of a teacher from the beginning of their university studies.
"Our concurrent education program means we get highly committed and motivated students choosing our program who feel a calling to the teaching profession from very early on. Also, they are well prepared for the classroom when they graduate because they have so much more time to really come to see themselves as teachers," says Dr. Allyson Jule, new Dean of the TWU School of Education.
With the November 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling on class size and composition in B.C. classrooms, there is a record high demand for teachers in the province, particularly special education teachers. Trinity Western University's School of Education is well equipped and well prepared to respond to the need for excellent teachers who understand complex classrooms and are ready to meet the demands of the K-12 system.
The university is an innovative leader in developing a Minor in Special Education. Plus, its new Masters of Educational Studies in Special Education uses a mixed delivery cohort model where course work is a mix of online instruction and a series of four-week residencies on campus in the summer, making it fit the schedule of working professional teachers.
"We are particularly well positioned to fill the need for special education teachers in B.C. schools," says Dr. Ken Pudlas, TWU professor of education. "This program prepares teachers to meet a broad range of special educational needs resulting from students' cognitive, social, and sensory differences—including those resulting from learning disabilities, emotional disorders, behavioural disorders, giftedness, and developmental delay."
TWU education students carry out research that contributes to the public school system when they bring their skills to classrooms and communities.
Examples of TWU MA in Special Education student research topics:
Use of iPads to enhance literacy
Best practices in classroom inclusion
Exploring adolescent gender identity today and what it means to be "male"
Identifying and working with English Language Learners who may have special learning needs
Using an in-school café project to enhance social inclusion and academic skills
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University offers liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media and culture.