After more than one hundred years of organized professional education for teachers in the United States, we still lack a clear specification of the most essential tasks and activities of classroom teaching.

2011-2012 Seminar Series
Learning to Teach: The Practice Curriculum

The curriculum for learning teaching comprises theoretical knowledge and instructional “methods,” but there is no agreement about either the knowledge that matters for teaching or what constitute effective “methods.” Professional bodies such as the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) stipulate that teachers need to know and use a “variety of instructional strategies,” but what are these strategies? Licensure assessments for those entering teaching reflect this uncertainty; virtually all measure some aspects of candidates’ personal content knowledge but few test their knowledge at a standard adequate for teaching it, and even fewer require evidence of performance ability—in part because there is no professional consensus around what a new teacher should be able to do. With no common language for describing and analyzing teaching, we have a weak basis for a system of training and assessing teaching practice. This is the case across the entire enterprise of teacher training and development, from traditional higher education-based programs to those run by school districts and non-profit organizations.

The inaugural year of the TeachingWorks streaming seminar series featured a close examination of the problem of identifying instructional practices that are particularly high-leverage for beginning teachers and making them central to the initial teacher-training curriculum. The series featured presentations from leaders in the fields of teacher training and development, each of whom is working to define a curriculum of practice for learning teaching. They shared examples of their work and discussed the challenges of identifying instructional practices that seem essential for initial and early-career training. They addressed questions including what criteria they used to identify key practices from across the vast scope of teaching practice; how they manage the interface of general and subject- and grade level-specific aspects of instruction; and how they account for the intersection of equity and diversity issues with the teaching of subject-matter.

Each of the streaming seminars will feature presentations from leaders in the fields of teacher training and development, each of whom is working to define a curriculum of practice for learning teaching.

Series Introduction: Defining A Practice Curriculum

Monday, October 31, 2011
2:00pm - 4:00pm

  • Deborah Loewenberg Ball
    Director, TeachingWorks
    Dean, University of Michigan School of Education
  • Francesca Forzani
    Associate Director, TeachingWorks
    University of Michigan School of Education

Deborah Loewenberg Ball and Francesca Forzani examined the problems of identifying instructional practices that are fundamental for beginning teaching and raised questions for consideration throughout the remainder of the series.

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November Seminar: Relay Graduate School of Education

Monday, November 14, 2011
3:00pm - 5:00pm

  • Doug Lemov
    Managing Director, Uncommon Schools, Taxonomy Project
  • Brent Maddin
    Provost, Relay Graduate School of Education

Brent Maddin, Provost at the Relay Graduate School of Education, will discuss how faculty members at the brand-new Relay Graduate School of Education identified the content of their teacher training program.

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December Seminar: Teach for America

Monday, December 12, 2011
2:10pm - 4:00pm

  • Annie Lewis
    Vice-President, Program Design and Teacher Preparation, Teach For America

Annie Lewis, Vice President, Program Design & Teacher Preparation, will discuss how staff members at Teach for America identified the content of their summer training institute and professional development curricula.

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January Seminar: University of Washington College of Education

Thursday, January 19, 2012
3:10pm - 5:00pm

  • Elham Kazemi
    Associate Professor, Curriculum and Instruction
  • Morva McDonald
    Associate Professor, Curriculum and Instruction

Professors Morva McDonald and Elham Kazemi will discuss the work they are doing at the University of Washington to identify the content of their revised teacher education program and the ways in which the program focuses on the practice of teaching.

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February Seminar: The New Teacher Project

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
3:10pm - 5:00pm

Brandeis Johnson will discuss how staff members at the New Teacher Project identified the content of their teacher training programs.

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March Seminar: Stanford University School of Education

Thursday, March 15, 2012
3:10pm - 5:00pm

  • Pam Grossman
    Nomellini Olivier Professor of Education
    Stanford University School of Education

Pam Grossman will discuss her work to identify instructional practices essential for competent beginning teaching in secondary English language arts.

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April Seminar: MATCH Teacher Residency

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
3:10pm - 5:00pm

  • Michael Goldstein
    Founder, MATCH School
    CEO, MATCH Teacher Residency Program

Michael Goldstein will discuss his work to identify the content of the curriculum for the MATCH Teacher Residency.

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May Seminar: University of Michigan School of Education, Elementary Teacher Education

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
3:10pm - 5:00pm

  • Betsy Davis
    Associate Professor; Chair of Elementary Teacher Education, University of Michigan School of Education
  • Timothy Boerst
    Clinical Associate Professor

Betsy Davis, associate professor and chair of elementary teacher education, and Timothy Boerst, clinical associate professor, will discuss their work to identify the content of the practice curriculum to train elementary teacher candidates at the University of Michigan School of Education.

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