New Initiative To Advance Teacher and Principal Preparation Grounded in the Science of Learning
Research shows that teachers are the number one in-school factor affecting student outcomes and principals are the number two factor. One important metric for those outcomes is how well and how equitably our nation’s diverse students are able to navigate our increasingly global and technologically complex world, where skills like critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and being able to apply knowledge in a range of contexts are crucial to success. Today, Learning Policy Institute and Bank Street Graduate School of Education have announced the launch of the Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab), a new initiative to help educator preparation programs ensure that new teachers and leaders are able to provide all k-12 students with the kind of deeper learning that helps them develop those skills.
EdPrepLab brings together 15 of the nation’s leading teacher and principal preparation programs to collaborate on further developing and documenting models for preparation that equip educators to advance deeper learning and equity, and that can inform other programs across the nation. The initiative will also support research to improve preparation programs and work with policymakers at federal, state, and local levels to help leverage policies that encourage the use of research-based practices that ensure new teachers and school leaders are well-equipped to provide deeper learning and to build the next generation of equitable schools and instructional education practices.
“Our world has changed significantly since the U.S. education system was first developed, and students today need an education that supports and prepares them for that more diverse, technology-driven, knowledge-based society,” said Learning Policy Institute President Linda Darling-Hammond. “That means we need to prepare teachers and school leaders to provide this kind of education. Fortunately, we have research to guide the way. There is a wealth of new knowledge about the science of learning and development, how social and emotional skills support academic learning, and how to ensure that students really understand what they have learned.”
EdPrepLab’s founding educator preparation programs are: Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI; Bank Street College, NY; High Tech High, San Diego, CA; Montclair State University, NJ; San Francisco Teacher Residency (San Francisco United School District, Stanford University and University San Francisco); Trinity University, San Antonio, TX; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Chicago Teacher Residency, IL; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Colorado, Denver; University of Illinois, Chicago; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; University of Washington; and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
New science on learning and development shows that deeper learning requires a different approach to educator preparation than commonly available. Working individually and in collaboration, these programs will develop and share curricula, practices, and syllabi aimed at ensuring their graduates can
- Create conditions for learning that reflect an understanding of child and adolescent development and the science of learning;
- Develop and implement curricular designs and instructional strategies that motivate and engage students in higher-order thinking and equip graduates with 21st century skills and competencies;
- Understand their own social and emotional competencies, model them for students, and build practices that integrate social, emotional, and cognitive skill building with academic content;
- Create structures that reach beyond the classroom to provide systems of academic, social, and emotional support, including personalized supports that address students’ needs and the impacts of adversity; and
- Be equity-focused and responsive to the needs of diverse learners.
“Responsive relationships are at the heart of all learning. The EdPrepLab network will integrate the latest research about how our brains develop and respond to learning environments to strengthen teacher preparation policy and practice,” said Bank Street College President Shael Polakow-Suransky, GSE ’00. “We have urgent work to do to ensure every child in this country is supported by educators who know them well and are ready to respond to their developmental needs.”
EdPrepLab research and policy work will support these efforts to improve educator preparation. Participating programs will conduct research into program design and participate in studies that document and analyze promising practices. This research will also involve k-12 schools which partner with programs in preparing educators. EdPrepLab will also work at the local, state, and national levels to provide policymakers with up-to-date research, examples of program models, and guidance for revamping the standards, laws, and regulations that shape educator preparation.
The initiative will be co-led by Learning Policy Institute, a national institute focused on conducting and disseminating research to improve education policy and practice, and Bank Street Graduate School of Education, a recognized leader in teacher and principal preparation and the development of innovative education practices. Over time, EdPrepLab will increase the number of participating educator preparation programs in the network, inviting schools to apply to participate.
EdPrepLab’s work is, in part, informed by a new book, Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning, by Linda DarlingHammond, Jeannie Oakes, Steven Wojcikiewicz, Maria E. Hyler, Roneeta Guha, Anne Podolsky, Tara Kini, Channa Cook-Harvey, Charmaine Jackson Mercer, and Akeelah Harrell. In the book, the authors examine the teacher preparation model of Bank Street Graduate School of Education, as well as the models at six of the other programs now among the founding programs of EdPrepLab. A forthcoming study on school leader preparation for deeper learning, which included two additional EdPrepLab founding programs, will also inform the work of the initiative.
This research and the work of the EdPrepLab is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Sandler Foundation.
At a New York-based convening of EdPrepLab partners, LPI released a set of briefs based on the book.