Seminar Series archives 

Held from 2011 to 2020, our annual streaming seminar series was designed to support collective progress to design, implement, and study practice-based approaches to teacher preparation and development that disrupt injustice. Explore our archived collection of video recordings and slides from each seminar series talk below. 

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Pivot towards the light:
Challenge(s) of making justice integral

The 2019-2020 TeachingWorks Streaming
Seminar Series focused with radical seriousness and urgency, the core problem of educational justice. Taking inspiration from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, we asked:
• What are pressing problems and challenges of making justice integral?
• How can we name and operationalize these problems?
• And, what might be ways we can and should take action on these challenges so that we might make meaningful headway?

We invited a series of humble, highly skilled, powerful speakers to share with us what is it that keeps them up at night in the unending fight against racism and oppression. What do they think we must we do now and in each and every day following, to pivot towards the light? How can we act in urgency, in solidarity, marshaling our greatest creativity and imaginations?

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(How) does knowing content matter for disrupting the persistence of oppression?

The 2018-2019 Streaming Seminar Series  investigated the relationship between the special nature of knowing content in teaching and the work of seeing and hearing children’s ideas with subject matter and supporting their growth.  Each speaker sought  to uncover and articulate the relationship between advancing justice and the teaching of content.

Patterns of racism and oppression can be reproduced or interrupted depending on what content is selected for students’ learning, how it is opened up and related to students’ experiences and perspectives, and the ways in which students’ interactions with it are supported and shaped. Seeing students’ strengths, understanding their ideas, and attending to and intervening on how students are positioned – each of these critical practices depends on a nuanced and flexible knowing of content.

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Outrage to Action: Disrupting Inequity Through Teacher Education

In the 2017-2018 TeachingWorks Streaming Seminar Series, we continued our close focus on teaching practice that advances equity and justice.  We sought to articulate and extend how we as teacher educators work with our candidates to ensure that they are equipped not only to enact equitable practice but also to disrupt patterns of inequity in our classrooms.

To that end, each speaker investigated and illuminated the enactment of a specific  high-leverage teaching practice, exposing the nuanced ways in which issues of equity and inclusion are fundamental to just practice. Using concrete examples and stories, , our speakers illustrated the ways in which beginning teachers can use these practices to disrupt  persistent patterns of inequality that exclude and disenfranchise students, and  enact teaching that is humanizing and equitable.

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Inside Teaching: A Powerful Force for Equity

The 2016-2017 Seminar Series focused on the intersection of teaching practice and equity, seeking to understand how to best prepare teachers to practice skillfully and equitably, even as beginners.  Each talk centered on one high-leverage practice, investigating how it is enacted  and the ways in which issues of equity are fundamental to the practice itself.

Building from a definition of the practice, each speaker examined core dilemmas inherent in the work of enacting the practice with students and content.In doing so, we made visible the ways in which equity issues play out inside of each of the high-leverage practices.

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Taking Charge of Change

The 2015-2016  TeachingWorks streaming seminar series considered critical obstacles to change in teacher education. We asked speakers and ourselves: how can the profession of teacher education stand up to the challenges and take charge of change? We believe that we must form a profession in which standards of practice are shared and collectively upheld. It is imperative that new teachers are prepared to teach responsibly, especially in districts that don’t have resources to provide them with special support.

In this series, our presenters considered what threshold for entry we might set for beginning teachers, and how we can know that teachers are ready to enter classrooms and take responsibility for their students’ learning.

Given that skillful teaching must be sensitive and responsive to contexts and communities, we also considered the fundamental question of what should be common and what should be specific within teacher preparation programs.

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To whom and for what should teacher preparation be accountable?

The 2014-2015 TeachingWorks streaming seminar series focused on a core question in  teacher preparation: To whom and for what should teacher preparation be accountable? Policymakers eager to close weak programs advocate for using data to examine and judge the quality of teacher preparation, and skeptics claim that  professional training has little impact and point to the centrality of on-the-job experience. At the same time, many teacher preparation programs and leaders have been developing methods for evaluating the quality and impact of professional training. 

In each of these seminars, the presenter offers  a perspective on what would be both appropriate and feasible in holding teacher preparation programs accountable, provides  concrete examples of how to carry that out, and shares challenges of the particular perspective.

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Teaching Teachers Roundtable: Preparing Teachers to Use High-Leverage Practices

The 2013-2014 TeachingWorks Seminar Series focused on a central challenge of practice-focused teacher education–the problem of designing training that supports beginning teachers in enacting specific teaching practices.  The series followed the roundtable format introduced in the previous series  and s continued to explore methods of training new teachers in specific high-leverage teaching practices.

This series focused on the following practices: implementing organizational routines, procedures, and strategies to support a learning environment; communicating about a student with a parent or guardian; and making content explicit through modeling. In each seminar, teacher educators from different programs  discussed how they define the practice, what instructional activities and practice opportunities they provide to teacher candidates, and  how mastery is assessed. 

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Teaching Teachers Roundtable

(Part 1)

The 2012-2013 TeachingWorks streaming seminar series, the Teaching Teachers Roundtable, considered a central challenge of practice-focused teacher education–the problem of designing training that supports beginning teachers in enacting specific teaching practices. This series focused on practice-based methods of training new teachers in three specific teaching high-leverage practices: leading a whole class discussion, using data to inform instruction, and implementing organizational routines, procedures, and strategies to support a learning environment.

Speakers discussed how they prepare new teachers to use the high-leverage practice in question, share video examples or other materials from their own work, and analyze the affordances and drawbacks of their methods.

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Learning to Teach: The Practice Curriculum

The curriculum for learning to teach comprises theoretical knowledge and instructional “methods,” but there is no agreement about either the knowledge that matters for teaching or what constitutes effective “methods.” 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.

Presenters 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.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball and Francesca Forzani

October 31, 2011

Series Introduction: Defining A Practice Curriculum


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