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Strengthening Teacher Preparation: Aligning Curriculum

This article, part two of a three-part series, originally appeared on the Education First Blog and is reprinted with permission.

Tackling curriculum in a teacher preparation program is complicated work. At Jackson State, we have three pathways and 18 teaching faculty members across multiple course offerings in the junior and senior course sequence run by the college of education. But we knew that if we wanted to truly transform the experience and eventual effectiveness of our teacher candidates, overhauling the clinical experience—which I described in my previous post—wasn’t enough. And we knew we needed to come together as a team of administrators and faculty to develop a strong vision for the why and how to do it successfully. 

In 2016, we set two goals for ourselves: first, we needed to tightly align each course to the Mississippi Teacher Intern Assessment Instrument (TIAI), the instructional rubric we use to measure our candidates’ proficiency with teaching. (As I described in my previous post, US PREP was a key partner and critical friend in all of our transformation work, including the curriculum work.) This alignment work included revisiting the early field experiences embedded in coursework that precedes candidates’ formal clinical experience. Second, we revisited the sequence of courses to ensure within each pathway, faculty could build teacher candidate skills in a logical progression.  

Fast forward to today: although daunting, we did it. With US PREP’s support and the momentum from our clinical experience work, we channeled the urgency we all felt to achieve our goals. With the exception of a few legacy candidates, our teacher candidates are right now taking revamped courses. And by this time next fall, we will have fully implemented the program-wide curriculum changes.

Strengthening Teacher Preparation: Transforming Clinical Practice

This article, part one of a three-part series, originally appeared on the Education First Blog and is reprinted with permission.

Nadine GilbertBack in 2015, a group of department chairs, administrative leadership, program directors and faculty at Jackson State University formed a task force to write a plan for transforming our teacher preparation program. In that plan, we identified areas of strength and areas we needed to improve. We wanted to build on the deep experience and wisdom of faculty, while taking a fresh look at how we could more strongly ground the experience of our teacher candidates in current K12 practices. At around that same time, we were fortunate to find incredible support by joining the US PREP coalition. With JSU leaders and faculty leading the way, the US PREP peer network and coaches acted as critical friends to strengthen and accelerate our work. We have achieved so much together.

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