Why Should You Major in Urban Learning?
The Urban Learning program provides students with the theoretical and practical foundation to meet the needs of
the urban educational system. It prepares future teachers not only to be effective teachers but to be advocates
who will shape the future of education in this country.
-- Matthew Gonzales (‘13)
The urban schools of Los Angeles are experiencing a rapid turn over and a chronic shortage of well-qualified teachers. Teaching in an urban school demands teachers be well-prepared to manage the challenges, and opportunities, that urban schools present. These teachers must also be well-prepared to teach children with a wide range of learning needs that grow from cultural diversity, linguistic diversity, special needs, changing patterns of immigration, and more. Traditional teacher education programs have maintained a focus on pedagogy, with limited attention to developing an understanding context of teaching that urban teachers need, leading to rapid burn-out and a retreat to the suburbs.
The Charter College of Education offers students a new approach to teacher education: one that prepares students not only to be skilled teachers, but teachers who are literate in the needs, demands and advantages of the urban teaching experience. It is the ideal degree and teacher preparation program for students who want to dedicate their careers to teaching in urban schools, or who want the opportunity to return to their own urban communities to teach. Cal State LA is a diverse urban school itself, perfectly situated to expose students to the rigors and rewards of urban teaching and learning.
Students in the Urban Learning program are prepared in culturally responsive pedagogy, an approach to teaching that grounds students' education in the context of their own individual cultural experiences, be they ethnicity, language, disability, gender, sexual orientation or more. Our students are taught by a diverse faculty of professional educators who bring their own experiences as teachers and learners to their instruction. Students study in cohorts, small learning communities that allow our students to develop collaboration, networking and professional skills as well as career-long friendships.
A graduate of the Urban Learning program will earn a baccalaureate degree and either a preliminary Multiple Subject credential or eligibility for an Education Specialist internship credential. The graduate will also meet NCLB criteria as a highly qualified teacher, and be prepared to teach diverse learners in an urban environment.
The Urban Learning Program has seven goals for its graduates:
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the needs and demands of diverse students in urban schools and communities.
- Students will develop and model critical thinking skills for themselves and the students they teach.
- Students will connect subject matter and pedagogy to meet the educational needs of all students.
- Students will build on the diverse languages, cultures, capabilities and experiences of their students to assure them the optimum opportunities to grow and develop academically.
- Students will develop curriculum and instruction that integrate the urban students’ strengths, including their languages, cultures, learning styles and communities.
- Students will demonstrate collaboration skills needed to work as a member of an instructional team in the urban school environment.
- Students in the Education Specialist credential option will design and implement high quality instruction that allows their students with special needs in urban schools the maximum opportunity to access the general curriculum within a individualized program guided by students’ learning strengths, goals and needs.
- Students in the Multiple Subject credential option will design and implement high quality instruction across the elementary grade curriculum that integrates strategies designed to meet the unique cultural, linguistic and learning needs of urban school children.