In this year’s TeachingWorks streaming seminar series we consider critical obstacles to change in teacher education. We ask speakers and ourselves: how can the profession of teacher education stand up to the challenges and take charge of change?

We seek to advance the proposition that we should stand up to form a profession in which standards of practice are shared and collectively upheld.  This means delving into questions about what should vary, and why, and what needs to be common. We hold strong beliefs about context, and we differ in our ideas about good teaching, and what is good for whom.  Knowing that skillful teaching must be sensitive and responsive to contexts and communities, we are unsure about what defines professional practice, whether with respect to specific approaches and techniques, to knowledge, or to ethics.  These questions present us collectively with dilemmas that matter for the status of teaching, its infrastructure, and our ability to support its development.

We seek to sponsor collective work on this dilemma by considering the question of entry of novices to the profession.  We invite speakers to nominate and elaborate a threshold for beginners that teacher education itself can actually accomplish.  Speakers will focus on what initial preparation programs can reasonably strive to accomplish that can contribute to the quality of entry-level teaching. It is imperative that we prepare teachers to begin teaching responsibly with children who attend school in districts where there is no special support for new teachers. They deserve to have high quality instruction as much as those enrolled in better-resourced districts. Presenters will consider how we might know that our graduates are ready to enter classrooms and take responsibility for their students’ learning.

Speakers will do two key things:

  • Describe and argue for a set of practices and content knowledge that constitute a threshold for beginning practice. Speakers will answer the question “what must novices know and know how to do?”
  • Propose what it would take to generate agreement about this threshold across programs and contexts.

We consider the fundamental question of what should be common and what should be specific, to name and warrant what it is that novices must be able to do to practice responsibly. 

We invite you to join us this year as we ask: what would you argue should be common in TE, and what professional infrastructure are necessary to integrate this agreement coherently across the profession of teacher education?  What would you argue must vary, and why?  Will such variation improve equity or could it exacerbate inequality? Each of this year’s sessions will highlight presenters’ perspectives about building this important professional coherence.  

 

November Seminar: Confronting the problem of coherence

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
4:10pm - 6:00pm

  • Etta Hollins
    Ewing Marion Kauffman/Missouri Endowed Chair, Urban Teacher Education

The November 4, 2015 seminar featured Etta Hollins, Ewing Marion Kauffman/Missouri Endowed Chair for Urban Teacher Education at the University of Missouri—Kansas City.  Hollins addressed the following key questions: What would you argue should be common in TE, and what professional infrastructure is necessary to integrate this agreement coherently and consistently across the profession of teacher education?  What would you argue must vary, and why?  Will such variation improve equity or could it exacerbate inequality? Hollins also provided an overview of this year’s seminar series, and will help participants begin collective work on the fundamental question of what should be common and what should be specific.  Hollins has helped us understand how we can work together to form a professional “we” that respects and embraces diversity of perspective and purpose, as well as the key importance of context, and yet also agrees – as a profession – on some essential common ground.

View Archived Seminar

December Seminar: Determining a threshold for beginning practice – an example from science education

Thursday, December 3, 2015
4:10pm - 6:10pm

  • Carla Zembal-Saul
    Kahn Endowed Professor in STEM Education, Pennsylvania State University

The December 3, 2015 seminar featured Carla Zembal-Saul, Kahn Endowed Professor in STEM Education at the Pennsylvania State University.  Zembal-Saul will spoke on the topic of subject matter knowledge for science teachers. In this talk she considers what knowledge science teachers need in order to teach–what disciplinary knowledge science teachers should know, and how we would decide whether novice teachers know this threshold level of content knowledge for teaching.  She also proposed what it would take to generate agreement about this threshold across programs and contexts.

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February Seminar: Relating to young people across difference

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
4:10pm - 6:10pm

  • Django Paris
    Associate Professor, Department of Teacher Education
  • Maisha Winn
    Susan J. Cellmer Endowed Chair in English Education and Professor of Language and Literacy, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

The February 9, 2016 seminar featured Django Paris, associate professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, and Maisha Winn, Susan J. Cellmer Endowed Chair in English Education and Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Paris and Winn addressed the topic of relating to young people across difference, and will consider: What practices must novice teachers know – what might constitute a threshold for beginning practice – given diversity both within and across classrooms?  Building on this, the speakers proposed what it would take to generate agreement about this threshold across programs and contexts.

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Moving towards coherence: The danger of dichotomies and nurturing nuance

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
4:10pm - 6:00pm

  • Chandra Alston
    Assistant Professor, Educational Studies and Lead Faculty in English Language Arts (ELA) for Secondary Teacher Education

The March 29, 2016 seminar series will feature Chandra Alston, assistant professor in Educational Studies and Lead Faculty in English Language Arts (ELA) for Secondary Teacher Education at the University of Michigan School of Education.  In the final talk of the 2015-2016 seminar series, Alston will help us to “see” across the sessions, and to move forward, in substantive ways, in constructing some shared agreement.  Alston will help us to consider how to generate cross-professional agreement, and what supports and infrastructure might be needed.

View Archived Seminar