Who Are We To Argue with #TeacherEd Magic Eight Ball?

Is the future of teacher education a competency-based model focused on ensuring prospective teachers are able to do and apply everything they have learned? Over at Inside Philanthropy, Tracey DeFrancesco looks at that question, highlighting some of the work currently being done by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and its Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning.

As DeFrancesco writes about the WW Academy:

So can this dual academy/lab track break new ground in training methods to have a lasting impact on American education? Considering the backing from funders, a partnership with MIT, and buy-in from school districts, a shake of the Magic Eightball says, “Signs point to yes.” The main premise, here, is to prepare the STEM teachers that our schools so desperately need by reimagining training models that were developed in a different paradigm. Times have changed, and we’re hoping a fresh take will get results.

The full article, including an interview with yours truly, is worth the read. The future of teacher education may very well be now.



“A New Compact for Teaching and Learning”

There is little question that the edu-world is experiencing a time of transition. Whether one is talking about testing and assessment, socio-economic issues, instructional expectations, teacher preparation, design of the school or the school day, or virtually any other issue that touches today’s students, one thing is clear. The schools, teaching, and learning of the future will likely bear little resemblance to those we experienced when we were young learners.

Earlier this week, NCTAF released What Matters Now: A New Compact for Teaching and Learning. In its call to action, NCTAF issued a call to action focused on six key reccs designed to help shift the field toward “more engaging and relevant teaching and learning for all.” These recommendations include:

  1. Policymakers should establish and broadly communicate a new compact with teachers
  2. Every state should establish a Commission on teaching, learning, and the State’s Future
  3. States and districts should codify and track whether all schools are “organized for success”
  4. Teacher preparation should be more relevant and clinically-based
  5. States should support all new teachers with multi-year induction and high-quality mentoring
  6. Education leaders should evaluate all professional learning for responsiveness and effectiveness

The full report is well worth the read. In a era of relative doom and gloom, NCTAF provides a positive view of both what is possible and what is necessary. All of the areas provided above are of importance to the future of both teaching and learning. But dear ol’ Eduflack wants to throw a spotlight on NCTAF’s specific thinking with regard to buckets four and five — teacher and ed and teacher mentoring.

Specifically, when it comes to teacher prep, the report offers :

To stem chronic shortages and turnover and to improve teachers’ experience and efficacy, it is particularly important that pre-service teachers gain significant experience with real classrooms. Therefore,

  • Teacher preparation should include a year of clinical experience
  • Coursework should include social-emotional as well as academic learning, and experience in culturally knowledgeable and responsive practices
  • Performance assessments, proven to be a reliable way to ensure that beginning teachers are competent to lead a classroom, should be used as a strong indicator of teacher readiness
  • Teacher preparation programs and school districts need to invest in and strengthen their partnerships to improve teacher candidates’ effectiveness and retention

And when it comes to supporting those new to the teaching profession, NCTAF provides the following ideas:

New teacher induction and mentoring leads to improved teacher retention, satisfaction, and efficacy. Yet currently only a few states provide this critical foundation for their teachers. States should:

  • • Require a multi-year induction program as a licensure requirement
    • Provide sustained program funding
    • Require multi-year mentoring, with carefully selected and trained mentors
    • Consider additional release time for new teachers as is done in other countries
    • Consider pilot programs that provide differentiated induction for teachers from different pathways

From a strong clinical experience to multi-year mentoring, these are important pieces that must be factored into the future of teacher preparation and educator development. They are items that many of the organizations I work with, from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation to TeachStrong, are focusing on. And they are issues we need to spend more time not only talking about, but actually doing.

(Full disclosure, Eduflack previously worked for NCTAF, but it was many, many ages ago.)

Vote Now: Teaching CAN Be a Game!

It’s that time of year again, when the good folks at SXSWedu open up the online polling places and let all of us cast our ballots for those sessions we think would make for an interesting, compelling, and valuable SXSWedu.

Yes, the #SXSW2017 Panel Picker is now open. And dear ol’ Eduflack respectfully requests that you cast your ballot (and you can vote for as many sessions as you want, so no need to make choice while denying another) for: Think Preparing Teachers Is a Game? It Can Be.

In this session, my friends from MIT, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the WW Academy of Teaching and Learning will discuss how gaming — including role plays, virtual reality, and other scenarios — can be used to better engage prospective teachers and improve teacher education programs. You’ll even hear how 21st century gaming doesn’t just mean online and digital. Old school gaming with cards and boards and dice can be just as effective.

And if one wants to play edubuzzword bingo, they will also explore how gaming can create a next generation of career teachers prepared to lead classrooms focused on personalized learning and cognitive science.

You have the Eduflack guarantee it will be a worthwhile session. And it should also prove the perfect venue to see, first hand, some of the teacher-focused games MIT and the WW Academy are currently developing.

Vote early, vote often. And please vote for this session. All you need to do is click here and then click on the thumbs up. Easy, peasy.