Attracting minorities into teacher education: a model program that works

In 1993, it became apparent to the African American professors at a small midwestern university that several minority students needed special attention and encouragement to succeed in teacher education curricula as well as adjust to living and working in a campus setting.

 

 Many of the students were the first generation of their family to attend a university and in many instances they were unfamiliar with written guidelines and policies. They needed a support system that would help them to find university resources, such as graduate study funding, research support, tutoring social systems and networks for placements in future teaching positions.

 

 To determine the scope of the problem, fifty state universities were surveyed, and 60 percent of the respondents revealed a need for additional academic, social and economic support systems. In another survey, administered nationally to 100 selected universities, an overwhelming majority showed that there were no services specifically available to minorities in the college of education.

 Based on these findings, it was concluded that a Minority Teacher Education Association (MTEA) was needed. Established in 1994, MTEA became the impetus for the Minority Teacher Identification and Enrichment Program (MTIEP) grant which was funded in the fall of 1995 and 1996 under the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Higher Education Cooperative Act (HECA). Recruitment Model The Minority Teacher identification and Enrichment Program (MTIEP) has successfully served as a catalyst in the development of a state-wide program to increase the pool of minority teachers in the State of Illinois. This program created a network of Minority Teacher Education Associations which identified potential teachers at the community college, high school and junior high school levels and provided them with pertinent information, educational activities and academic support.

 

 The program was organized in two phases. Phase one was designed to be a mentor intensive program and included the expertise of professionals such as superintendents, principals, and teachers to recruit minority students into the local MTEA chapters.

 

 The mentors assisted in providing educational programs and activities designed to sharpen reading comprehension, mathematical, and computing skills. They also shared their knowledge of the teaching profession, its requirements and its opportunities.

 

 Each chapter of the MTEA, which consisted of a local coalition of students, educators, and community leaders–functioned as an educational support group. Educational training occurred during regularly scheduled MTEA meetings with the local cooperating feeder school districts. Faculty advisors, sponsors and other educational experts offered diagnostic assessment of student members’ basic skills, and supplemental instruction aimed at helping minority students overcome their difficulties in historically-identified “threshold courses”.

 

 Additionally they shared information on financial resources available to stud, etc. MTEA members served as tutors, student teachers, mentors and role models in primary, middle and secondary schools.

 

 Phase two occurred at the university campus through a summer school program. Students participated in on-campus summer programs designed to capitalize on the ability of the mentoring process to enhance the retention, recruitment and preparation of minority teachers. During the summer program, students attended classes to enhance their basic academic achievement, study skills, and social and cultural awareness. In the pursuit of the teaching degree, mentor students participated in pertinent panel discussions, assisted university instructors in the classroom and counseled teen campers. They interacted with teacher education majors. University MTEA members and sponsors, including practicing teachers advisors and counselors utilized their expertise and skills to assist in the implementation of the summer program.

 

 Additional seminars and workshops on motivation and attitudes included “How to Survive in a Racist Society,” “Empowerment,” Developing Leadership Skills and Abilities,” “How to Manage Angers “Communication Skills,” and “How and Why to Teach.” Each evening, students met with counselors in a group session for activities and self-esteem enhancement.

 

 Since the inception of the MTIEP, ten students have graduated from the teacher education program and are currently teaching in the public schools or pursuing higher education degrees. Overall, the program has worked to increase the pool of minority teachers.

 

 COPYRIGHT 1997 Cox, Matthews & Associates
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group



© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com