Posts Tagged ‘induction’
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
I’m a high school teacher in Florida. I entered the profession through an alternative certification route after completing a 20+ year career in telecommunications. Beyond my standard college classes, my classroom-based preparation consisted of only 10 days of observation along with the creation and delivery of two practice lessons. I graduated as “highly qualified” and was hired immediately as a science teacher at the local teacher job fair.
If I were entering the profession now, especially coming from the business world, I would want a more effective teacher preparation experience than the one I had 10 years ago. Many experienced educators concur. Hope Street Group’s On Deck: Preparing the Next Generation of Teachers (a report released this spring) was the first study that compiled data collected by teachers from classroom teachers regarding their professional preparation. Along with 17 other National Teacher Fellows, I conducted this peer research, sourcing educators of all tenures who were certified in 49 states plus the District of Columbia. Amid several interesting findings in On Deck, two particularly resonated with me as I also reflect on “what I wish I’d learned then.”
In April, faculty and teacher candidate “ambassadors” representing institutions in the Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) convened in Chicago to take part in the Project LEAD (Leaders in Education Advocating for Diversity) Spring Summit. The summit, conducted by the ACI Center for Success in High-Need Schools, followed up on the inaugural Project LEAD meeting that took place last fall. (Read more about that meeting here.)
The day began with a welcome and celebration of the ACI Center and the initial successes of Project LEAD by its sponsor, State Farm. This included a brief talk by Community Relations Specialist Lisa LaDonna Cooper as well as an exciting presentation of funds to support participating institutions.
A new study out of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) helps debunk the oft-repeated assumption that half of new teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years. Overall, some 77% of participants in the Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study continued teaching for 5 straight years, and the rate was even higher (80%) for those who had a mentor or participated in an induction program—just two of the many influences on teachers’ career paths studied for the report.
Career Paths of Beginning Public School Teachers first scrutinizes both broad and detailed career paths of 155,600 teachers who began their classroom career in the 2007-08 academic year. Then it looks at a subset of 1,440 teachers’ characteristics in their first and in their final year of teaching, covering personal demographics, student and school factors, and professional preparation and in-school supports.
On September 25, AACTE staff had the privilege of taking part in the inaugural Project LEAD (Leaders in Education Advocating for Diversity) Summit in Chicago, Illinois. The summit was a daylong conference conducted by the Associated Colleges of Illinois Center for Success in High-Need Schools to engage teacher candidates and faculty in interactive discussions focused on increasing diversity in the teacher workforce.
Sometimes the story is as good as the headlines, and sometimes it’s even better. The New York Times op-ed “Teachers Aren’t Dumb” (Sept. 8) by Psychologist Daniel T. Willingham is a case in point. As Willingham notes, contrary to popular belief, new teachers are solid academic performers. And as his article asserts, they can benefit from the research on effective teaching that is being conducted in the schools of education that prepare them. Willingham also points out—with rhetorical hyberbole—that not all preparation programs are using the latest research. While program quality varies, the excellent preparation provided by the universities whose researchers he cites illustrates that teacher education has strong exemplars. Unfortunately, Willingham does not acknowledge the widespread change within the education preparation community.
The direction of today’s preparation programs is truly good news. Willingham accurately identifies two guiding principles for improving teacher preparation and program accountability: evaluate programs based on graduates’ performance on a rigorous, credible culminating assessment, and base that assessment (and programs’ content) on evidence of what works best for student learning.
Research out of Brown University (RI) shows that teachers improve tremendously in their first year of teaching and continue to do so during their career. Researchers John Papay and Matthew Kraft discussed this work in a free AACTE webinar last month, “Toward a Broader Conceptualization of Teacher Quality: How Schools Influence Teacher Effectiveness,” which was recorded and is now available in AACTE’s Resource Library.
Papay, assistant professor of education and economics, and Kraft, assistant professor of education, shared findings from their research, recently published in Productivity Returns to Experience in the Teacher Labor Market: Methodological Challenges and New Evidence on Long-Term Career Improvement and Can Professional Environments in Schools Promote Teacher Development? Explaining Heterogeneity in Returns to Teaching Experience. These studies show that teachers’ learning develops exponentially in their early years in the classroom but also continues to grow throughout their careers at a slower rate, and teachers working in more supportive professional environments improve their effectiveness more over time than teachers working in less supportive contexts.
The following letter to the editor was published in the Washington Post February 23, in response to the February 20 commentary by the University of Virginia’s Robert C. Pianta, “Teacher Prep Programs Need to Be Accountable, Too.”
Robert C. Pianta vastly oversimplified the narrative about accountability among those who prepare educators.
Educator preparation programs should indeed be accountable, and the profession has been busy creating data tools and processes for accountability. States such as Louisiana, California, and Georgia are working to determine the best ways to use data collected through existing assessments and surveys to document program impact. These systems rely on access to K-12 student achievement data as one indicator.
A recent evaluation of the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) found that program graduates are making a significant impact in Boston Public Schools, providing more racially/ethnically diverse teachers and staying in the classroom at higher rates. A webinar hosted by REL Central earlier this month highlighted the findings and challenges of the evaluation, which was conducted by John Papay and colleagues at Brown University (RI).
The study compared BTR graduates to other novice teachers in the urban school system, asking the following questions:
- Does the BTR program prepare more teachers than other pathways in hard-to-staff subjects such as math and science?
- Are BTR recruits more racially and ethnically diverse than teachers from other pathways?
- Do BTR recruits remain in the district longer than other new hires?
- Are BTR teachers more effective in raising student test scores in math and English language arts than teachers with the same level of experience from other pathways?
Teacher quality and professional practice in New Jersey just got an enthusiastic shot in the arm, thanks to a new coalition of the state’s teacher educators, teachers’ unions, and other education groups.
Leaders of this coalition, the Garden State Alliance for Strengthening Education, held a high-profile symposium “Taking Back the Profession” September 27 to release a report chock-full of ideas to improve the continuum of teacher development in the state. The event was attended by several key state education officials and featured nationally known speakers including Stephanie Hirsch of Learning Forward, Marilyn Cochran-Smith of Boston College (MA), and Susan Headden of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In addition, the report was featured at a press conference October 2 and will be the subject of a state hearing later this month.
The Innovations Inventory of AACTE’s Innovation Exchange is an online database highlighting members’ pioneering practices in educator preparation that have shown a positive impact on issues of student learning, preparation program advancement, or educator workforce needs. This blog post is one in a series highlighting entries from the inventory. To request inclusion of your institution’s innovations, contact Zachary VanHouten at email@example.com.
Georgia State University (GSU) is the largest producer of minority educators in the state of Georgia and graduates approximately 500 teachers annually. GSU’s Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NET-Q) program aims to increase teacher quality in urban and rural areas in Georgia. The program includes both pre- and postbaccalaureate initiatives for educators serving high-need school districts in these settings.
NET-Q boasts a partnership with at least 15 rural PK-12 schools, local businesses, two historically Black colleges, and the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.