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Year 1: The Foundations Year

The Foundations Year builds fundamental knowledge for effective teaching in an urban school through seminar-based coursework, diverse urban field experiences, and gradually-increasing, supported clinical training in the University of Chicago Chater School classrooms.

At the center of the Foundations Year is the Foundations of Education Seminar, a day-long seminar course, that comprises three previously named UTEP strands: Academic Coursework, Guided Fieldwork, and Soul Strand. The Foundations Seminar covers key Teacher Education Curricular themes, including:

  • Education Policy (Autumn) with a focus on the Chicago context and a field experience rooted in Chicago Community Based Organizations
  • Human / Child Development (Winter) with a focus on trauma, and a collaboration with UChicago scholars, including Dr. Micere Keels
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy (Spring) beginning with Dewey's Progressivism traced to the contemporary focus on culturally responsive teaching; field experiences include multiple Chicago school visits

During Foundations Year, students also take a number of Content and Methods Courses in literacy, math, science, and social science to fulfill requirements for both the elementary and middle grades endorsement pathways.


Learn more about the course offerings in the Foundations Year below:


Foundations Year—Autumn Quarter


Course Number Course Name Course Description
UTEP 35505 Foundations of Education 1: The Social Aspects and History of Chicago and Chicago Schools In this introductory Foundational Social Science course students study the history, political economy, and public policy that influence the sociology of the urban space in which they will ultimately teach. Using historical, economic, political science, and social science lenses, this course focuses on developing a deeper understanding of the forces that shape communities and schools that impact learning. This course will help candidates better understand their work in Chicago schools and simultaneously illuminate issues that still dominate the national education landscape. The culminating project for this course is a systematic analysis of a Chicago neighborhood that summarizes the impact of historical, geographical, and political influences over time.
UTEP 35510 Mathematics Content for Teaching I This course gives interns a deeper understanding of the foundations of elementary mathematics. Topics include fractions, percentages, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, algebra, problem solving, and foundational geometry. Interns are introduced to the aforementioned topics through a problem-based approach to mathematics instruction, as endorsed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
UTEP 51000 Reading Content for Teaching I Candidates explore ways in which children acquire and develop literacy, including the linguistic and reading theory that supports the teaching of elementary-aged students. Candidates are introduced to a variety of instructional strategies and literacy assessments, including the Urban Education Institute's STEP Literacy Assessment.
UTEP 43200 Mathematics Methods I This course will provide residents with skills, knowledge, and understanding for how to observe and understand how children in grades K-8 approach mathematics and how to use that data to design high-leverage instructional practices using appropriate instructional tools. Particular attention will be paid to constructing a supportive mathematics classroom that fosters the Standards for Mathematical Practice, and meets the needs of diverse learners, as well as developing professional skills necessary to strengthen resident's communication and collaboration with fellow mathematics teachers, administrators, and with parents and families.


Foundations Year—Winter Quarter


Course Number Course Name Course Description
UTEP 35506 Foundations of Education 2: Philosophy of Education In this course, interns survey philosophies of education, including John Dewey, Paulo Friere, and others who have arguably left the deepest mark on the field of education studies. This course also includes a look at Dewey's contemporary counterparts and critics. Interns also engage in an in-depth study of contemporary philosophies around culturally relevant pedagogy and multicultural education, especially as it pertains to the context of Chicago Public Schools. Interns explore the influence of philosophy on teaching and learning, especially as it pertains to curriculum. For the final assignment, candidates conduct a case study of a teaching pedagogy and revise their own education philosophy in light of course readings and discussion.
UTEP 52000 Reading Content for Teaching II Building on the work of Reading Content I, interns continue to explore ways in which children engage literacy-related tasks and work with elements in a balanced literacy approach to instruction. Sessions include an experimental activity for modeling purposes and videos of practice, which are shared and analyzed. Other emphases include children's literature and current best practice in adapting a balanced literacy approach to meet the needs of special-education students.
UTEP 35511 Mathematics Content for Teaching II This course is designed to support the teaching of probability and statistics in elementary and middle schools. Several popular games (such as lotteries, roulette, craps, and poker) will be considered both from a theoretical point of view and by means of very simple computer simulation. We will also use foundational statistical concepts to begin to understand and analyze various student learning data for which teachers are responsible.
UTEP 43400 Mathematics Methods II This course explores mathematics instruction in elementary and middle school. Class sessions include the examination of the intern's own school mathematics experiences, engagement in and analysis of mathematical problem solving, demonstrations of instructional practices, discussions of readings, and other mathematical activities. Interns will have opportunities to apply what they learn in the course to their practical experiences in schools through tutoring and homebase.


Foundations Year—Spring Quarter


Course Number Course Name Course Description
UTEP 35502 Foundations of Education 3: Human Development & Learning This course explores the prominent theories of child development and learning. This course engages students to consider how growing up in an urban community impacts children’s cognitive and psychosocial development and the role that schools and teachers can play in expanding students’ opportunities and well-being. Simultaneously, this class includes focuses on the impact of trauma on child development as well as identity formation, and the multiple systems that impact human development. The culminating project of the course is to develop a community responsive, trauma sensitive school model and to present a self-study that pushes candidates to explore their identity formation based on markers such as race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ability.  
UTEP 55000 Reading & Writing Methods In this course, interns explore ways in which integrated reading and writing instruction fit into a balanced literacy approach to instruction. Candidates are introduced to a variety of instructional and assessment strategies related to literacy, specifically the Lucy Calkins writing workshop approach that is foundational in Chicago Public Schools K-8 classrooms, as well as a continuum of reading practices (interactive read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and literature circles) to support readers across their development. Sessions include experiential activities for modeling purposes and videos of practice, which are shared and analyzed.
UTEP 35513 Science Content for Teaching I Interns will familiarize themselves with key topics in life science instruction. Topics to be addressed include genetics, reproduction, molecular and cellular biology, ecology and ecosystems. In addition to delving into key topics, the course will emphasize contributions of diverse scientists.
UTEP 35512 Mathematics Content for Teaching III The final content course in this Foundations sequence, this course will build on the work in the previous two content courses, and provide middle grades interns with a deeper understanding of the content and pedagogical content of calculus, including, but not limited to, exponential and logarithmic functions, and defining and evaluating derivatives.
UTEP 35520 Internship / Foundations Practicum I

As part of this practicum, UTEP interns must complete quarterly observation hours in the classrooms of the students they observe, with particular attention to literacy instruction (guided reading and interactive read aloud practices). They will also be engaged in required various (whole group/cohort) field experiences that take them within and outside of Chicago and into affluent public and private settings to enhance their educational experiences. Each quarter has a series of different learning foci, drawing from the concurrent courses in which they are enrolled. The practicum is intentionally designed to align with the additional courses interns are required to take in each quarter of the Foundations Year.