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A Look at Michigan's Certification Program

The ESP Certification program in Michigan is modeled on a "career continuum" approach, where participants move from instruction in a broad variety of content areas to more concentrated learning in specific topics. The level one certificate program requires 40 hours in four basic areas:

1. Communication
(Minimum of 5 hours)
Designed to help participants understand their colleagues and express themselves, the communication curriculum covers work-related writing, team-building, speaking and listening skills, decision-making, interpersonal communications, telephone skills, and problem solving.

2. Legal/Ethical (Minimum of 5 hours)
This curriculum focuses on the protections, privileges, rights, and responsibilities provided by federal and state law to people in educational institutions. For example, participants might take classes in workplace ethics, confidentiality, child abuse, indoor air quality, Freedom of Information Act, disability laws, and student and employee rights and responsibilities.

3. Behavior Management (Minimum of 5 hours)
Course work here involves effective strategies for managing student behavior and covers subjects such as conflict resolution, peer mediation, discipline strategies, crisis intervention, and students with special needs.

4. Growth and Development (Minimum of 5 hours)
This curriculum emphasizes an understanding of human growth and development -- normal and abnormal -- to help school personnel better understand and respond to various situations in the school setting. Topics include age-appropriate behavior and expectations, learning styles, and human relations.

5. Elective Categories (Minimum of 10 hours, with another 10 in core or elective classes)
Certificate program participants must also spend at least 10 hours in learning activities directly applicable to daily job responsibilities -- for example in classes to learn about technology, nutrition, safety, cultural diversity, hazardous materials, or instructional issues. An additional 10 hours is required to complete the certification process, and can include extra hours from both core and elective areas.


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