Pedagogical Content Knowledge
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Last modified: October 02, 2011 12:16:29.

Summary: Teacher candidates, advanced candidates, and other school professionals reflect a thorough understanding of the relationship of content and content-specific pedagogy delineated in professional, state, and institutional standards. Teacher candidates have in-depth understanding of the content that they plan to teach and are able to provide multiple explanations and instructional strategies so that all students learn. They present the content to students in challenging, clear, and compelling ways, using real-world contexts and integrating technology appropriately. Candidates in advanced programs for teachers have expertise in pedagogical content knowledge and share their expertise through leadership and mentoring roles in their schools and communities. They are able to critique research and theories related to pedagogy and learning. They are able to select and develop instructional strategies and technologies, based on research and experience that help all students learn. Other school professionals demonstrate pedagogical content knowledge through informed and capable leadership.


Pedagogical Content Knowledge

All programs within the unit have a strong pedagogical content knowledge base linked to the unit conceptual framework and the Qatar NPS. The programs offer an appropriate breadth of knowledge and understanding of specific area, as well as the essential practical skills. Candidates gain a basic understanding of pedagogical theory, and the focus is on working in regular classroom settings. The skills acquired include skills in assessment, alternative assessment, instructional strategies, addressing special needs, classroom organization and management, and methods for collaborating with educational professionals, families, and the community in the education of children.

Although almost all courses in the unit provide some pedagogical knowledge, Table 1.1 lists the total number of credit hours in each program of courses that specifically focus on pedagogy. As the syllabi demonstrate, a sound knowledge of pedagogy is required to obtain a passing grade in each course.

Table 1.1
Total Number of Credit Hours in Pedagogical Content Knowledge by Program

Program Number of Credit Hours
B.Ed. Early Childhood 42
B.Ed. English 42
B.Ed. Science/Mathematics 31
B.Ed. Arabic Studies 29
Diploma Early Childhood 15
Diploma Special Education 18
Diploma Primary English/Math/Science 18
Diploma Primary Arabic Studies 18
Diploma Secondary 18

The Learning Outcomes Matrices provides an overview of how these content and pedagogical courses correspond to the learning outcomes of the conceptual framework of the unit.

Pedagogical knowledge is continued during the student teaching and internship experiences, which are essential components in our programs. During these experiences, experienced inservice teachers and college supervisors mentor the candidates. Candidates also attend weekly seminars conducted by their college supervisors. The seminar stresses cross-categorical relationships and the integration of theory and practice. Candidates complete a culminating portfolio/exhibition that is representative of their growth and best practice. Data is also provided through the Classroom Performance Assessment (CPA). This instrument is completed at the midpoint and end of the student teaching or internship experience for all classroom candidates (B.Ed. candidates, all diploma candidates, and M.Ed. SPED candidates) by the candidate, the mentor teacher, and the college supervisor. This allows the unit to track growth during clinical practice, as well as providing a summary measure of pedagogical knowledge and skills.

In addition to specifically teaching pedagogy, instructors are encouraged to model best practices, including a range of teaching and learning methods to prepare the candidates as future specialist in the field. In the teaching of the programs there is a commitment to ensure that learning outcomes are made explicit to candidates. Appropriate methods are chosen to match the intended learning outcomes. Depending on the content and context requirements of the courses, our programs staff often use a variety of group and cooperative learning methods such as mini project, group project, portfolio, assignments, field studies, case study, reflective journal, designing a lesson plan, IEPs for students with special needs, and group discussion. Our students are encouraged to participate in class through graded case presentations and open discussion. Independent learning is a feature of all courses. It includes directed reading and carefully designed practical projects. To enhance effective learning, the unit maintains students to teacher ratio of 1:10 and argues for small class size. The average class size is 15- 25.

In addition to formal instruction, there are opportunities for our candidates to participate in workshops and conferences sponsored by the unit, such as the Fifth Special Education Conference, January 2010 and the Sixth Educational Week March – April, 2010.

Candidates in our advanced programs progressively spend more time in the schools, acting in leadership roles. In the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, by the third semester, candidates are developing and implementing professional development plans for teachers and conducting action research. One hundred percent of the cohort graduating in 2008 presented at the First Annual Action Research Conference (see example), and candidates have continued to participant in the second and third conferences. To date, 20% of the graduate candidates have either been accepted to Ph.D. programs or are waiting on acceptance, and 83% of unit graduates are currently serving in leadership roles in Independent or private schools.