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Preparing Teacher Candidates across the University for School Safety

During the month of October, AACTE has addressed the importance of school safety in its recent Thought Leadership series. AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie T. Fenwick took time to share in this video how she led a new approach at Howard University to prepare teacher candidates for ensuring safe learning environments in classrooms. In 2010, Howard’s College of Education innovated its undergraduate elementary education program by focusing on ways to better meet the safety needs of local students in its Washington D.C. community.

To evaluate the impact of the new program, “Teacher Talks” were convened with faculty members and novice teachers who were recent graduates of Howard’s College of Education. The graduates shared case studies about their students during the meetings and stories about how many of their children were exposed to violence either in their home or community, oftentimes with a relative being shot. The graduates also reported that their training in human development, with an asset lens, and the knowledge base they received from courses outside of the college of education helped them to reach their students individually as a teacher or connect them to resources in their community.

“I was always struck by the fact that our newly graduated teachers talked about their children coming to school having just witnessed or been part of violence, and how it had become normalized as part of the fabric of their day,” said Fenwick. “Our newly trained teachers were pleased to be able to stand in the gap for their traumatized students and connect them to resources.”

Watch the video and learn how Fenwick engaged colleges in different disciplines across the university to enhance Howard’s teacher preparation program. Stay tuned for more important topics and resources coming soon in AACTE’s Thought Leadership series.

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Jerrica Thurman

Director of Marketing & Communications, AACTE