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February 13, 2014

Education to make courses more clinically based

By John Cuturic

In the past year, almost every department in Cleveland State University has had to revise its curriculum from the ground up. In a series this semester, the Stater will look at some of the changes.

This week, we’re going to look at the College of Education and Human Services. According to the dean, Sajit Zachariah, the school was looking at changing its curriculum even before Cleveland State decided to switch to a three-credit model.

Zachariah said there have been some changes to the accreditation requirements for training teachers. He said the push in the field is to make classes more clinically based, which means that education students will spend more time in actual classrooms.

“We can put them into classrooms more, so they’ll get a feel for the work,” he said.
The first class that students will take to put them in the field, according to Zachariah, will be called Rotation and Seminar 1. The students will take it along with some co-requisites, to give them things to work on in the classroom. After that, students will move on to Rotation and Seminar 2 in their next semester.

Zachariah said that making the change to fit the new requirements while also changing from four-to-three credits took a lot of heavy lifting from the faculty. But he said that he’s happy with the new curriculum.

“Students may learn about technology or classroom management and then try it directly,” Zachariah said,

Zachariah also said that, with students spending more time in the field early on, they can decide early on if they really want a career in education.

“One of the saddest things for me is when a student completes a lot of the degree work, and then realizes he or she doesn’t want to be a teacher,” he said.

Zachariah said that they haven’t decided on specific schools yet, but he knows that the program will work with MC2STEM and the Campus International School. He said that he’s happy with the way things have turned out.

“Faculty and administration have come together to make sure that students are not negatively impacted,” he said. “My hope is that this will go smoothly. This is not going to be perfect, but the curriculum process is never perfect.”

Zachariah said that departments at Cleveland State will have to keep refining their curriculums.

“We have to learn from what we put in place, and take that feedback, and improve it even further,” he said. “I think we need to keep in mind that this is not the end product.”