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Posts Tagged ‘teacher quality’

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.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Teacher Residency Pilot at the College of Staten Island

This article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

Teacher Residency Pilot Participants at the College of Staten Island

The College of Staten Island (CSI) enrolls many diverse first-generation college students. A number of these students support their families and themselves, working multiple jobs and limiting expenses while studying—making it impossible to pursue a traditional student teaching pathway that includes a semester of unpaid, full-time student teaching. Seeing that many students were effectively being excluded from teacher preparation, the College and its partner schools set out to create a teacher residency that paid students for their time spent in classrooms, providing an accessible path to a teaching career.

2020 Teacher Quality Partnership Grantees Announced

Teacher Quality PartnershipThe Department of Education has awarded 23 grants administered as a of part of a pool of funding created to benefit programs including the Teaching Quality Partnership Program (TQP).  Of the 10 grants awarded under Teacher Quality Partnerships program—totaling $7.3 million—six of the grantees are AACTE members.

The 23 grants, totaling nearly $100 million, will promote educator development and training in alignment with a signature economic initiative of the Administration. The grants are designed to contribute to the enhancement of the professional development and effectiveness of teachers and principals.  Each of the awards went to schools or nonprofits that connect in some way with economic Opportunity Zones to serve economically distressed or underserved communities around the country. 

The Teacher Quality Partnership grant program, authorized in Title II of the Higher Education Act, is the only federal initiative designed to strengthen and reform educator preparation at institutions of higher education. Strongly supported by AACTE, TQP grants support the preparation of profession-ready teachers for high-need schools and high-need subject areas. Under this program, partnerships between institutions of higher education and high-need schools and districts compete for funding to develop master’s-level residency programs or to reform undergraduate preservice preparation programs.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Urban Teacher Residency at the American Museum of Natural History

Children visiting science museum

Photo Credit: Denis Finnin, AMNH

This article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) may be most well-known for its long history of scientific research, and for its expansive galleries featuring casts of dinosaurs, or dioramas from around the world, and the 94-foot long Blue Whale suspended in the Hall of Ocean Life. However, for just as long as the museum has been engaged in educating the public about scientific phenomena through visits, the museum has been supporting teachers and teaching. Since just after the museum opened in 1880, the museum offered lecture courses for teachers, broadening offerings by the 1920s. In the late 1930s, the museum offered a preparation program for teachers interested in using out-of-school learning experiences in their classrooms. Today, the museum offers a wide range of professional development opportunities for teachers in science, as well as works in partnership with cultural institutions around the city to support science teacher development.   

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Early Childhood Urban Education Initiative at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education

This article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

Teacher working with young childrenBank Street Graduate School of Education is a small, progressive institution in New York City, founded in 1916. Bank Street has a long history of pioneering innovative, inclusive education programs, dating back to the founding of Head Start.

One of Bank Street’s newest programs—the Early Childhood Urban Education Initiative—helps uncredentialed early childhood educators in under-resourced New York City neighborhoods complete their certification and earn master’s degrees while remaining employed in their existing early childhood classrooms.

The educators who enroll in the program often come from the communities in which they teach and, as they progress through the rigorous program, they are able to bring their knowledge and skills to bear on the students in their classrooms, the organizations in which they are housed, and the community overall.  By completing a master’s degree and obtaining their certification, participants in this initiative gain access to a wider set of professional opportunities.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Syracuse City School District/SUNY Oswego Teacher Residency Partnership

Teacher working with young studentsThis article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

Syracuse, New York is home to a longstanding residency partnership between SUNY Oswego and Syracuse City School District (SCSD). The district and university first developed the residency with resources obtained through New York State’s Clinically Rich Teacher Preparation Pilot in 2012.

When planning for the residency, partners recognized a particularly promising model inside the master’s level Childhood Education program. By placing residents inside schools as cohorts, committing substantive faculty time to those same schools, and providing time inside the school day for planning, collaboration, and reflection between residents and mentor teachers teams, and between those teams and program faculty, the residency model has become more than a high-quality preparation pathway for teacher candidates—it’s a part of each school’s culture and approach to strengthened teaching and learning inside its classrooms. “We’ve seen the residency model evolve over time as we plan, collaborate, and adjust our approaches, which allows us to be responsive to new goals and identified needs at the university or district level,” says Associate Dean Kristen Munger.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Western New York Teacher Residency at Canisius College Rich

Prepared to TeachThis article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

In the fall of 2018, Canisius College developed the Western New York Teacher Residency Program (WNYTR).  The two-year, graduate level program is designed to prepare skilled teachers who are committed to teaching in Buffalo schools, especially schools with high poverty rates and few resources.

In the planning phase of WNYTR, representatives from five partner schools, seeking a pipeline of well-prepared, diverse teachers, met regularly with College administrators and faculty to discuss the design of the program and align the curriculum to eight Canisius Resident Practices, including, for example, eliciting and interpreting student thinking; supporting students across their social, emotional, and academic needs; and designing/adapting appropriate student lessons and assessments.

After spending a year planning for this program’s launch, there was deep and mutual commitment to the goals and objectives of the program moving into the resident selection process.

Participatory Action Research in a Pandemic

Revolutionizing Education

Christine Gentry
The culminating course of the NYU Teacher Residency focuses on a year-long participatory action research (PAR) journey residents take with a small group of students. PAR is a collaborative, iterative process of inquiry and action in response to an organizational or community problem. Residents and their students work as a team to identify a problem of practice, research that problem of practice, craft action and data collection plans, implement those plans, and then evaluate their impact through analysis of gathered data. In presentations at the end of the course, residents reflect on the entire process and how it helped develop student agency, advocacy, and voice as well as their own leadership. It is the faculty’s hope that during the PAR journey, residents practice radical listening and how to be mindful learners and leaders.

In March 2020, COVID-19 entered the residents’ PAR experience like a wrecking ball. I gathered with the other PAR instructors to decide how we were going to adjust the project for our residents, considering the radical change in access both to physical spaces and to the students in the PAR teams. We ultimately decided to offer the residents two choices: a reflective path, in which they could craft a presentation on their team’s original plan and the progress they were able to make pre-COVID, and a virtual pilot path, in which they could adjust their projects to the virtual space we all suddenly found ourselves in. Understandably, most residents chose to pursue the reflective path, but one resident, Lorraine Zhong, and her team of students chose to continue their project virtually. Her project is a model for how the PAR instructors in the NYU Teacher Residency will be approaching the project this year, with COVID-19’s grip still firmly on our schools. Her journey is a beautiful example of the transformative power of PAR—its ability to strengthen relationships, build student investment, and spark meaningful change—even in the face of this new and terribly difficult time for our schools.

I’ll let her take it from here.

Louisiana Department of Education, Board of Regents, BESE Launch Teacher Preparation Program Website

The Louisiana Department of Education, Louisiana Board of Regents and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) debuted a new website that will help soon-to-be educators choose the teacher preparation program that fits them best. Prospective educators can now visit LouisianaTeacherPrep.com to explore teacher preparation programs and pathways to become a teacher.

“If we want to provide our children with the education they deserve, we need a highly effective teacher in front of every child,” said State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley. “Not only does this new tool help prospective teachers find the best pathway for them, but it will recruit educators to our state by showcasing Louisiana’s many quality preparation programs.”

The new website will serve as a one-stop-shop for information on the state’s 29 teacher preparation providers. LouisianaTeacherPrep.com was produced to provide prospective educators with data on Louisiana teacher preparation providers that may be helpful as they select a program suitable to their needs. 

Completion of a teacher preparation program signifies that an enrolled teacher candidate has met all state educational and training requirements to be recommended for initial certification. The LDOE is collaborating with BESE and the Board of Regents in this work. BESE has regulatory authority over any training program that results in initial educator certification in Louisiana. The Board of Regents has regulatory authority over public universities.

ISTE Hosts Summer Learning Academy for Educators and Teacher Candidates

ISTE Summer Learning AcademyAs we look toward fall 2020, it is clear that PK-12 schools will continue to use some blend of online and face-to-face learning as they deal with social distancing requirements and a possible resurge of COVID-19 cases. Teaching effectively with technology is now an essential competency for all educators.

This summer provides a window of opportunity to deepen teacher candidates’ ability to effectively use technology to support learning. But that shift will not happen through checklists or tool training alone. Educators need explicit strategies and peer support. They also need professional learning experiences that will count towards their ongoing career development and continuing education credits. 

To address these issues, AACTE is proud to team up with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to launch a Summer Learning Academy designed to prepare K-12 educators and teacher candidates for teaching in online and blended learning settings this fall.

This fun 3-week summer learning experience will provide the online teaching support educators have been asking for in a flexible format that meets their needs. Educators who successfully complete the program earn continuing education units (CEUs) and graduate-level credit.

What Zoom Reminded Me about Effective Teaching

Video call group business people meeting on virtual workplace or remote office

Like many educators, I experienced a crash course in teaching via Zoom during 2020. More than another technological tool, videoconferencing has helped me rethink and refine my pedagogical practice—for both online and face-to-face settings. 

Classroom Norms

In my typical class sessions, we jump into instruction and activities to model “on-task” productivity. However, Zoom has reminded me that giving attention to procedures and expectations is time well spent.

In a videoconference setting, these “norms” often relate to technical set up—microphones, chatroom, camera, etc. Such issues relate to all sorts of teaching environments. How can students use phones or other devices? What should they write down or record? When and how do they talk with one another and the instructor? These are all important questions, and answering them at the start establishes expectations for successful learning (Finley, 2013).

Call for Book Chapters on Teacher Leadership

IGI GlobalI am currently seeking contributing authors for a book with IGI Global, for release in 2021, titled Empowering Formal and Informal Leadership While Maintaining Teacher Identity. This publication will add to the body of scholarship on teacher leadership and further help to define the opportunities and challenges for school districts to consider to promote teacher leadership in their settings. The edited book will provide a wide and broad perspective of the topic which can be used in university settings and practitioner settings related to teacher education and teacher development.

Education researchers and practitioners are invited to submit a 1,000 to 2,000 word chapter proposal by July 9, 2020.

During COVID-19 and Beyond: Utilizing Video to Support Teacher Candidates

Bryan CarterIn the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, teacher preparation programs are faced with the difficulty of how to support and evaluate candidates in the field. Here in Washington state, we already face a shortage of willing mentors to host our candidates. A recent study by Western Washington University and my colleagues at the University of Washington estimated that only 3-4% of teachers serve as mentors any given year.[1] According to the findings of a state workgroup in which I participated, this trend is even more pronounced among rural and remote school districts.[2] As a result, programs throughout our state are looking for effective ways to further support our candidates in the field, particularly in rural and remote areas.

One solution that is effective and can support efforts to maintain teacher certifications, including during the pandemic, is the use of online observations. We began using Edthena in 2015, and over the last 5 years, we have witnessed tremendous success and accessibility, especially for candidates in rural and remote school districts. We utilize Edthena’s platform as part of multiple measures to assess candidates in field placements. Field supervisors can use the online video tool in conjunction with traditional in-person observations, providing a nice mixture of evidence for our program to assess our candidates’ readiness towards licensure. Here are some of the highlights of our experience using online video observations.

Moving Educator Preparation Forward During the Pandemic

Girl studying homework online lesson at home, Social distance on

COVID-19 has forced educators to say goodbye to their classrooms and embrace adapting their pedagogy to online formats overnight. They have learned new technology, found creative ways to engage students remotely, and most importantly, kept education moving forward. The current public health crisis has placed a well-deserved spotlight on teachers. As parents struggle to balance work, supervise virtual classrooms, and co-educate their children, a new awareness and appreciation for the influence, power, and value of great teachers has emerged.

We have all read headlines about COVID-19’s drastic impact on the education system. We have seen firsthand the pandemic’s sweeping effect on our education institutions and students. And we have all been challenged to find remote learning opportunities that ensure teacher candidates are well-prepared to enter their own classrooms—whether in-person, hybrid, or virtual. While the hurdles we face are multidimensional, overcoming them is essential. To quote Linda Darling-Hammond, “If you don’t have a strong supply of well-prepared teachers, nothing else in education can work.”

Finding the Best Approximations of Practice in the Era of COVID-19: Video Analysis and FAVSTE

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.

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