NOVEMBER 6, 2020 — UTSA’s College of Education and Human Development has been recognized among the top undergraduate and graduate elementary teacher preparation programs in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a not-for-profit research and policy organization, for strong training in classroom management strategies.

“UTSA’s undergraduate and graduate programs are among only 14% of elementary programs that earn an A, and serve as a model of excellence for others,” according to the NCTQ.

“Our faculty have been working diligently to ensure the transformation and research-based alignment of our teacher education curriculum and field/clinical experiences,” Belinda Bustos Flores, associate dean of professional preparation and partnerships, said. “Our goal is to ensure that our graduates are culturally efficacious teachers who are highly skilled and can impact student success the moment they step into the classroom.”

“UTSA’s undergraduate and graduate programs are among only 14% of elementary programs that earn an A.”

In addition to the top rating for elementary teacher preparation, the NCTQ recognized UTSA with an A+ score in program diversity.

“The diversity accolades reflect UTSA’s commitment to the Hispanic community and its role as a Hispanic Serving Institution,” Michael Vriesenga, director for assessment and program accountability, said. “With 68% students of color, UTSA teacher candidates are 28 points more diverse than the current Texas teacher population, almost tripling the NCTQ standard for diversity, and UTSA is more diverse than the local community.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped normal classroom settings, including classroom management training for aspiring teachers. COEHD faculty made adjustments to not only how they taught their own classes but how they incorporated virtual learning into their curriculum for teacher candidates.

“Our faculty recognize the importance of preparing our teacher candidates with the capacity to create learning environments and authentic learning activities that address the socioemotional, cultural and linguistic needs of learners,” Flores said. “During this challenging time, our teacher candidates have demonstrated that they are quite capable of delivering virtual lessons that are engaging.”

The Teacher Prep Review assigns a team of experts to evaluate teacher preparation programs on their adherence to evidence-based classroom management strategies. Programs that earn an A on this standard require their aspiring elementary teachers to demonstrate their ability on all five strategies.

These top-performing programs are recognized for requiring their aspiring elementary teachers to demonstrate during student teaching, residency or equivalent clinical practice their ability to implement all five classroom strategies, which are:

  • Establishing rules and routines that set expectations for behavior;
  • Maximizing learning time by managing time, class materials and the physical setup of the classroom and by promoting student engagement;
  • Reinforcing positive behavior by using specific, meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement;
  • Redirecting off-task behavior through unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction and that prevent and manage such behavior; and
  • Addressing serious misbehavior with consistent, respectful and appropriate consequences.

“Good classroom management requires rules, routines, redirection, praise and consequences,” Vriesenga said. “NCTQ recognizes that field supervisors and faculty routinely provide teacher candidates feedback on these important elements of classroom management, supporting their development as effective teachers.”