COVID-19 challenges all of us in teacher education to reimagine how to prepare our candidates for the complexity of teaching when they cannot be placed in authentic classroom contexts. Our responses to this challenge will likely require us to stretch the “approximations of practice” that Grossman et al. (2009) described. One strategy that might offer us a means for executing this stretch is video analysis. However, for video analysis to be a meaningful approximation of practice, teacher educators need both useful video case resources and the tools to support candidates’ exploration of these cases.
A group of science teacher educators from across the country has been using the ATLAS library as our main video case resource and the Framework for Analyzing Video in Science Teacher Education (FAVSTE) as our tool for maximizing the learning from these cases. ATLAS has videos (generally 15 -20 minutes in duration) submitted by teachers applying for National Board certification, along with the commentary (Instructional Context, Planning, Analysis, Reflection) associated with the videos. This allows teacher candidates to both see the action occurring in actual classrooms and then read about the thinking of the teacher before and after the lesson that produced that action.
This article originally appeared on the Kennesaw State University news site and is reprinted with permission.
The Bagwell College of Education’s mixed-reality avatar lab simulates a multitude of situations that teachers can experience, but Kennesaw State faculty probably didn’t envision that one of those scenarios would be providing field experience for teacher candidates during a real-life pandemic.
After universities and PK-12 school systems throughout Georgia transitioned from classroom courses to remote learning last month, the Bagwell College and the Department of Inclusive Education configured the avatar lab for remote access. Unable to be in their actual classrooms, student teachers and master’s candidates have been utilizing the avatar lab online to simulate teaching to a group of students.
“Our teacher candidates are able to take the lesson that they were supposed to teach in the real classroom and do it in our avatar lab, from the comfort of their home,” said Kate Zimmer, an associate professor of special education and the director of the avatar lab. “By no means are we saying that the lab should replace field experience, but, especially in times like these, it definitely makes a difference and helps prepare the best teacher candidates we can.”
The U.S. Department of Education (Department) released its Notice of Intent to Apply (NIA) for the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Grant Program through the Federal Register. (Please note that the full details of the application are included in the NIA.) For Fiscal Year 2020, the TQP grant program received a $7 million dollar increase from the Congress, raising the program to a $50.1 million funding level. (Thank you to all who advocate with AACTE in support of this program and increasing its funding!)
The TQP program is the only federal initiative dedicated to strengthening and transforming educator preparation at institutions of higher education while meeting the workforce needs of partner high-need schools and school districts. Designed for either undergraduate or graduate programs, teacher candidates will be prepared to teach in high-need fields and serve in high-need schools. For the graduate level TQP programs, grantees develop teacher residency programs. Grantees are required to provide at least 2 years of induction for program graduates and provide professional development to faculty and staff at the schools where the graduates are teaching.
Sixty-six years have passed since Brown v. Board of Education. The Brown decision came down in 1954; however, in the 16 dual system states, white resistance stalled school desegregation until the late1960s and early1970s. Since Brown, state and federal courts have steadily engaged litigation about education access, school funding, education equity, and opportunity to learn. In recent years, litigation has challenged school reform schemes such as vouchers, charters, the definition of highly qualified teachers, and the practice of disproportionately placing uncertified teachers-in-training as teachers-of-record in schools and classrooms serving urban poor students of color. These schemes—which are often viewed as new and innovative—have old roots in resistance to Brown.
Nearly 70 years of litigation about education access, school funding, education equity, and opportunity to learn has yielded two findings: Money matters. And judicial involvement is critical for ensuring that school funding is equitable. In fact, research has shown that court ordered school finance reform tends to increase state spending in lower-income school districts and decrease expenditure gaps between low and high income districts. A National Bureau of Economic Research study (2015) found:
For children from low income families, increasing per-pupil spending yields large improvements in educational attainment, wages, family income, and reductions in the annual incidence of adult poverty. All of these effects are statistically significant … (p.39).
AACTE congratulates 2020 National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproy and AACTE member institution Fort Hays State University for preparing her for a distinguished teaching career. Rosproy, a 10-year veteran Kansas teacher, is the first early childhood educator to be named National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
Rosproy teaches preschool at Winfield Early Learning Center in Winfield, Kansas, which is housed in a local retirement community and nursing home. Her classroom is an inclusive inter-generational program that provides preschoolers and residents with multiple daily interactions and serves special education and typically developing preschoolers in a full-day setting. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of school buildings across the country, Rosproy served as a co-chair of the educator task force that helped compile Kansas’s continuous learning guidance.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
As part of its continued efforts to inform members about the latest developments regarding educator preparation programs (EPPs) in light of COVID-19, AACTE has updated its Policy Tracker Map to reflect recent changes in EPP-specific state guidance and recommendations. These changes include guidance analysis of 12 new states, specifically Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming. We have also updated data for New Jersey, which recently issued new guidance waiving edTPA.
In the coming weeks and months, as agency guidance is supplemented by the supporting instructions and recommendations of other state entities, such as the legislature and regulatory bodies, the information and features of this interactive map will grow to accommodate those developments.
Would teachers find professional development via simulated classrooms useful? This was one of three questions that Toni M. Smith, principal researcher, and Rachel Garrett, senior researcher, from the American Institutes for Research (AIR), explored in the Simulated Instruction in Mathematics Professional Development (SIM PD) Study. The following are excerpts from a summary of their research findings and from what they shared at a May 14, 2020 online event hosted by Mursion, whose virtual reality learning platform was used in the study.
Funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, SIM PD is a pilot of an exciting, new PD program being conducted by AIR. SIM PD offers opportunities for teachers in grades 4–7 to (a) learn about questioning strategies and facilitation of student discourse to promote engagement and understanding of math concepts and (b) practice implementing those approaches using a mixed-reality classroom.
They randomly assigned 16 partnering schools to either participate in SIM PD or continue with business-as-usual professional learning during the 2018-19 school year. They collected documentation of SIM PD activities during implementation and video-based observations of math lessons from both groups of teachers.
This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
How Will the Senate Respond to the House Passed $3 Trillion HEROES Act?
Last week the House passed its follow up to the $2 trillion CARES Act by adopting the HEROES Act— the next COVID-19 relief bill. The Senate does not appear to be in a hurry to act and has clearly articulated different priorities from those in the HEROES Act.
Educators and their congressional allies are weighing in for a strong infusion of cash for education in the next bill. In the House, Reps. Tlaib (D-MI), Hayes (D-CT) and Pressley (D-MA) are circulating a letter to their colleagues that requests $305 billion be targeted to K-12 education in the next COVID-19 bill. In comparison, the HEROES Act targets $58 billion to K-12 education. Many education organizations are supporting their request, including the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and AASA: The School Superintendents Association.
On the higher education side, almost 80 education organizations have requested that the maximum for the Pell Grant be doubled, anticipating that students will be facing unprecedented struggles when starting the new academic year and beyond.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
This past March, face-to-face instruction was canceled as universities began to implement emergency procedures for remote teaching due to COVID-19. In response, AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology (ITC) presented a webinar with guidelines for emergency remote teaching. Constituents can view that webinar and access additional resources.
The purpose of this blog post is to revisit the webinar guidelines with suggestions that can be incorporated into planning for 2020-21 blended or online instructional implementation plans:
Survey faculty and students to identify digital inequities and access needs. Develop easy to use support system for devices, reliable Internet access, and technical support.
Use Your Current Tools
If face-to-face instruction is not an option, now is not the time to revamp the current learning systems. Universities should encourage faculty to use the same tools (e.g., your Learning Management System) prior to and during COVID-19. Encourage instructors not to overwhelm students with too many new tools. Select a few versatile tools (e.g., Google Suite) and encourage innovative integration throughout a course or program.
AACTE conducted a survey in April to better understand and assist members as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The survey yielded valuable insights about how the pandemic is affecting educator preparation now and the concerns that leaders anticipate as they look ahead to the 2020-21 academic year.
On May 27 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. ET, AACTE is hosting a webinar on the survey results. During this session, you will be able to
- review the survey results
- benchmark your experience against that of your colleagues
- discuss the challenges you are facing—and how you are overcoming them—with your colleagues