Aspiring teachers need more examples of what effective teachers do. And a K-12-higher education partnership plans to provide these examples through a $3 million federal Investing in Innovation grant.
Led by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the partnership brings seven K-12 local education agencies, six university preparation programs and six education organizations together to train teachers.
They include the following:
- the Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium;
- the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education;
- the Council of Chief State School Officers;
- TeachingWorks at the University of Michigan;
- the American Institutes for Research (the evaluation partner);
- Niagara Falls City School District, N.Y.;
- Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Tenn.;
- Jackson Madison County Schools, Tenn.;
- Tipton County, Tenn.;
- Yakima Schools, Wash.;
- Seattle Public Schools, Wash.;
- West Valley School District, Wash.;
- University Educational Service District 105, Wash.;
- Vanderbilt University;
- Tennessee State University;
- University of Memphis;
- Niagara University;
- University of Washington; and
- Central Washington University.
Many education preparation programs that train future teachers — called pre-service teachers — have had a hard time providing a variety of examples of accomplished teachers to their students. When these students work alongside a teacher at a local school, that's often the only examlpe they see. But there are multiple ways and styles to effectively help students learn.
This partnership hopes to provide multiple examples of teaching for pre-service teachers.
"We hypothesize that exposure to the kinds of practices demonstrated by proven accomplished teachers will have an impact on the development of pre-service and early career teachers," said Lisa Stooksberry, senior vice president for standards and assessment at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
This exposure will come from a digital library of board-certified teachers in action on camera, as well as the teachers' analysis of their instructional strategies and decisions. The national board already has these videos because they're the same ones that educators send in to become certified.
Now the Building a Pipeline of Teaching Excellence project will allow the board to house these videos in a library and tag them based on what standard they are teaching the class, such as a specific Common Core State Standard. The tags allow the board's six higher education partners to find and incorporate these videos into their lessons.
For example, an instructor teaching a methods course may want to point out a particular practice. The instructor would find a set of videos in the library that show that practice and use them to help students understand what they're learning.
"It becomes a much more accessible tool, and it also sort of tightens the connection between what a teacher is introduced to in their pre-service, to what they deal with in their induction as they're really forming their practice, to what they do in their ongoing professional learning," said Stephen Helgeson, vice president for new business development at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Work on this library has already started with funds from the board so that universities can start planning how to use the videos in them. The partnership needs to provide a 15 percent funding match before it can access the $3 million in grant money that it earned. In early January the project will really get going.
The grant funding will prepare educators to teach grades 3-6 of math and science, which the partnership identified as high-needs areas. But eventually, the board hopes to address 16 content areas and four student development levels.