The Latest

Making visible the hidden complexity of teaching

By: Terri Gierke

Years ago, as a relatively new mentor teacher, I planned and implemented a Think-Pair-Share activity as part of a second-grade science lesson. Because two teacher-candidates were observing me, I was extra intentional about how I implemented this strategy. I carefully paired students; I chose an open-ended question to push thinking; and I gave students time to think and try out their ideas in a low-stakes way before participating in a whole-class discussion. The activity went well, and I felt pretty good about my demonstration of effective teaching.


Seeing the bigger picture

By: Valerie Sakimura

Ask any teacher-educator about the class she’s teaching tomorrow, and you’re likely to get a detailed rundown of her lesson — but not necessarily how that class fits into the broader picture of a candidate’s learning trajectory. This makes total sense, because teacher-educators are asked to focus on their own piece of the puzzle. Yet learning science tells us that we learn new ideas by reference to ideas we already know. Teacher-educators need to understand a candidate’s macro learning trajectory in order to maximize teacher-candidate learning within their portion of that trajectory. In other words, it’s important to help stakeholders see the bigger picture.


5 strategies to increase buy-in

By: Valerie Sakimura

How do we get stakeholders energized around improvement work?

This is a question we spend a lot of time thinking about. It’s a question that’s relevant to Impact Academy fellows who are building leadership skills to support individual and organizational learning, and to participants in the Common Indicators System who are working to collect data on candidate knowledge and skills and program performance using common instruments in order to support cross-institutional learning.


A degree of courage unknown

By: Benjamin Riley

Why do you have so many guns?

My heart broke the moment I was asked this question. It happened four years ago while I was on a fellowship in New Zealand, on a day where I’d driven to one of the more remote areas of an already very remote island in the South Pacific. The elementary school I was visiting, Te Kura o Hiruharama (Hiruharama School), serves Maori children living in poverty, and they weren’t used to visitors from faraway places such as America. So to kick things off, I asked them what they most wanted to know about my homeland.


Standing shoulder to shoulder in 2018

By: Benjamin Riley

The events of this past year have magnified differences in our culture, and produced conflict – but active efforts, including protest, can lead to reform. In many ways, this idea animates all of the activities we undertake at Deans for Impact. We believe in the power of helping existing and future educators practice better pedagogy with all students, so that over time, our work – and the work of so many others – will join together such that the stark racial segregation we witnessed during one school visit will seem an unconscionable aberration, rather than an accepted norm.


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